It was the most revolutionary social movement, since the chip hit the fan, in the wake of a chip company’s noisy but environmentally friendly bag.
The other day, a small group of users on a social media site, created a social mediament, as it were, and managed to put an end to female exploitation.
Clearly, there are so many injustices and travesties in this world that it is hard to decide what fight to fight.
But, when a user on Twitter, who goes by the name of @motherpucker, started a “Hockey Hottie Contest,” this seemed to anger the tweet out of some people.
Certainly, the sheer respectability quotient behind a handle like motherpucker can be intimidating. A name like that ranks right up there with some of the most influential thinkers of our time: Jean-Paul Sartre… Albert Einstein… Homer… Simpson, and now, motherpucker.
It is easy to understand how crusaders would want to identify and expel a problem before it becomes even more harmful and unmanageable. History does show that is the method of choice, right?
Well, perhaps history is a poor example.
Still, today, we learn from our mistakes, right?
Well, perhaps the present is also a poor example.
Even so, a problem was thwarted, before it got out of control. And in order for us to learn by example, here’s what happened:
Someone, assumed to be a guy (you never know online), motherpucker, created a contest for Twitter’s 2011 Hockey Hottie. Any female on Twitter who had some sort of interest in hockey was eligible to be nominated by anyone. After nominations, it appeared as though contestants would be whittled down by public vote. Last year, the winner won – wait for it – a hockey jersey of her choice.
Pretty serious, I know.
But, before getting past the first round, motherpucker announced he pulled the contest, then unpublished his Web site, and deleted his Twitter account and thus its hefty followership.
All this, presumably because of the social mediament and its backlash. More specifically, a very small group of people, and their cause.
Now, I am not for beauty contests, and most definitely not for exploitation. Hopefully, this has been made clear in my writing and by my body image awareness program “Bye-Bye, Barbie™.”
But, in the name of disclosure, this year I was nominated, along with approximately 200 other hockeyettes. In the name of full disclosure, I asked my boyfriend to nominate me.
Now, I don’t know what’s more surprising: The fact that I asked my boyfriend to nominate me, or that I actually admitted this. But here’s the thing, I thought it was just a fun, meaningless contest that would give me the smallest chance to win a (way overpriced) hockey jersey for my guy.
(Hey, we all buy lottery tickets knowing, most likely, we will not win.)
Besides, basing a “hottie” competition on pictures the size of a thumbnail is like basing a supermodel true beauty contest on a bunch of photoshopped magazines. It can’t really be done.
Twitter, on a whole, is largely fueled by popularity [as you can read about here], which is essentially what motherpucker’s hottie thing was – a popularity contest.
To that end, there were those who felt that motherpucker (how many times can I legitimately get away with typing his name?) merely found an opportunity to exploit women.
Motherpucker (okay, no more times, he is officially MP now) tried to reason that he already held a contest to determine the NHL’s hottest hockey player and that it was only fair to run a similar counterpart exercise.
Weak argument? Yes.
An argument worth arguing? Probably not.
What’s more, apparently the social mediament was upset over MP’s use of the women’s profile pictures and the potential illegality of it. Though it probably is illegal, in regards to the use of online pictures, the subject of copyright and fair use fall into a legalese grey-zone.
Further, the ability to upload photographs to sites such as Flickr or Facebook or to upload video footage to YouTube and tag someone’s identity without approval has become universal.
But, interesting to note is how many social media sites republish these avatars without permission. More interesting, is how few people make a fuss about that.
Another point of contention was the nomination process. MP never asked any of us if we accepted the nomination. (Though we all know I actually encouraged mine).
Should he have asked? Sure. But, it was not hard to find out you were nominated, because he would immediately “list” nominees on Twitter.
(Once listed, it is clear to Twitter users for what they have been listed, and by whom they have been listed.)
If anyone wanted out of the contest, all she had to do was say so. MP immediately honoured such requests.
Look, some guy ran a silly contest dubbed for hotties, but rooted in popularity. All in all, it was more politically incorrect than wrong. And though its intent may be questionable to some, its execution was innocent. Nonetheless, it was executed. And many want it back.
In the end, it just comes down to perception. Too bad so many fail to perceive prevalent issues to be as alarming and malevolent as the one concerning Mr. motherpucker.
An indirect thanks to @MariKurisato @HilzFuld @Bubbasattva and @TweetSmarter for the "legal" advice.