On the internet everyone knows you’re woman
Yesterday, I read a post written by a friend of mine — “How it is hard to be a woman in Brazil” and it inspired me to write how it is actually hard to be a woman everywhere, especially with our advanced technology.
I work in the tech industry as Community Manager and Head of Content at Party With a Local and I am also very active on Instagram and as a result I see many peoples’ online profiles every day. The vast majority of profiles are real, but some aren’t.
Lately, since living in Amsterdam, having moved here from São Paulo, I found myself thinking: “Oh nice, men stopped harassing me on the street, finally!” But the next thing that came to my mind was… “but it actually continues on the internet!”. Only in the past week I have blocked & reported 4 men on my Social Media accounts — 2 on Facebook & 2 on Instagram. I am a type of person, who hardly ever puts pictures of myself online, but it doesn’t seem to matter — harassment goes on.
I am not writing this not to scare you off Social Networks, I work for Social Travel app after all, on the contrary, I simply want to warn you to be careful. Because bad guys aren’t only those hiding behind trees in dark parks. Some guys on your Instagram feed can be bad too. Especially those ones that are chatting to you, inviting to meet at their places, saying inappropriate things about your appearance and being generally “creepy”.
Building the Party With a Local community, I am always encouraging people to meet strangers (sorry, mum!) because as an expat & digital nomad I know that this is a great way to make new friends. But a word of warning, please don’t meet strangers “tete-a-tete” blindly, especially the “creepy” sounding ones that I have mentioned above. Trust your gut and check the safety measures that every app should have (and Party With a Local definitely does — reviews, photos, bio, option to report users, number of friends) and always, yes, always, no matter how secure the person might sound — meet people you don’t know in public places, if possible with friends by your side. On Party With a Local, do meet our Super Locals & City Captains (hand picked users that we know or that our friends suggested).
And if you do receive harassment online or on an app — don’t keep silent, don’t ignore — report them! (The new version of Party With a Local has a very visible Report button!) and that’s how you people behind the Social Networks to grow stronger, healthier and more respectful community — where people can connect & make friends without a fear of being harassed.