It is not entirely clear when the phenomenon known as ‘Hottie or Nottie’ first emerged from the shadows. Confined mainly to the realm of Twitter, such posts involve a user posting a photograph of an unsuspecting member of the public to gauge their followers’ opinion on their level of attractiveness. Although not unique to LGBT tweeters, we asked you to tell us whether you think this is acceptable or not. We also asked Lucas and Samuel, two So So Gay contributors to add their voices to the debate.
Even the replies which could, in theory, be categorised as in favour of ‘Hottie or Nottie’ are relatively lukewarm;
— Jamie Zubairi (@jamiezoob) July 30, 2012
— Adam Heasman (@TooaPenny) July 31, 2012
This response was a little more enthusiastic;
— Will (@squawkbox) August 2, 2012
So So Gay‘s Lucas Owen gave us his view;[box_light]Let’s get one thing straight; I’m not going to defend people who take pictures of total strangers walking down the street and post these online just for the hell of it. That is downright weird. What I can get behind, if you’ll pardon the pun, is the idea of sharing photos of hotties with my Twitter followers.
I think I can say without question that if I were to stumble across a photo of myself on TubeCrush I’d feel a gushing sense of pride; someone has found me attractive enough to go to the effort of covertly snapping a photo, sharing it with the world and saying ‘this person is hot – do you agree?’. Yes, a photo of me ends up on the Internet as a result. Big deal – we boys don’t spend hours in the gym working on our bodies because we don’t like the idea of people lusting after us, and if you’re that concerned about your privacy then you shouldn’t even be on the Internet in the first place.
In my experience of the ‘Hottie or Nottie’ craze, the person taking the photo almost always considers the subject a hottie and they are seeking confirmation from others that their assessment is accurate. We measure our own self-worth against others’ looks, body shape or personal style, but we also want to know that we are attracted to the ‘right’ people. Yes, there’s the occasional mickey-take, but the way that some people leave the house they deserve everything they get. ‘Hottie or Nottie’ isn’t sport, it’s validation. If you want to talk sport, we have the Grindr Munter Competition.
There’s something terribly satisfying about judging other people, isn’t there? Whenever someone shares a photo of some tragic soul on a train, we all look and think to ourselves: ‘well, at least I’m not that guy’. This is essentially what the Grindr Munter Competition is about – people sharing screengrabs of the most unattractive person they find on everyone’s favourite location-based ‘dating’ app. Wrong? Almost certainly. Funny? Often. Shocking? Hardly.
Once the hubbub of London 2012 has dissipated and TV networks have to come up with actual programming again, it’ll soon be time for the annual soap opera we know as The X Factor. Twitter will be alight with social commentary about hot boys in tight tops and fat girls in maxi dresses, and the whole experience will be punctuated with deluded entrants specially selected for your enjoyment and ridicule by the show’s producers.
You’ll laugh. Louis Walsh will probably put one of them through to the finals. Millions of us will sit there week upon week, drinking it in, giggling at these fools who have opened themselves up to criticism; isn’t it the case that when we sign up to Grindr, we are waiting – hoping – to be judged too? And then you have to ask yourself; isn’t it the same every time we leave the house? Like, say, when we’re on the Tube…[/box_light]
We received far more responses ‘against’ the trend of ‘Hottie or Nottie’. Here are some examples;
— Dean Ashton (@Dean_Tonberry) July 30, 2012
Creepy. Objectification that seems to be excused just because its anonymous/secret. The harm is to the idea/concept of privacy. #ssgneedsyou
— Alexander Lyons (@AlexanderLyons) July 30, 2012
— Ben (@cityboyben) August 2, 2012
— Ben (@cityboyben) August 2, 2012
So So Gay‘s Samuel Sims had this to say;[box_light]It’s human nature to judge others by the way they look isn’t it? We, as members of society have a preconceived idea of what ‘beautiful’ or ‘attractive’ is, and – even if we don’t want to admit to it – are all guilty of walking down the street and criticising people by the way they look. It is then ten times more likely to occur when scouting for ‘talent’ on a night out. This is all fine because we simply can’t help it. With the amount of magazines and other media out there putting huge emphasis on aesthetics, it’s no wonder that it has become ingrained into our minds.
The worrying escalation in people picking on innocent members of the public and posting pictures of them on social media websites solely because of the way they look is, in my opinion, taking things too far. I’d even go so far as to call it disgusting. How would the perpetrators feel if they happened to come across an image of them with a not-so-positive caption? The ‘Hottie or Nottie’ posts on Twitter are a great example of just how far removed we are from each other, of how respect is being thrown out of the window. Sure, many would argue that it is just a bit of fun, but aren’t there other ways to entertain oneself? If you insist on playing the ‘Hottie or Nottie’ game then why not just keep it between friends in a private setting?
I certainly don’t think this has come solely from members of the gay community but it doesn’t help our reputation in the eyes of those with a stereotypical view of us as being bitchy and image obsessed. Why should we live up to this prejudiced view, instead of attempting to alter the outlook of others? More than anything, the ‘Hottie or Nottie’ posts are showing that a disturbing new generation of people, even more beauty obsessed, are coming to light. So I urge you, if you do see someone with a hairstyle or shape of nose you disagree with, keep your opinion either to yourself or share it with your bezzy mate but not on Twitter.[/box_light]
The verdict is in
Well, it seems to be a fairly even field. The responses we received on this topic show clearly that, as with everything, there are many shades of grey on the issue of ‘Hottie or Nottie’. That said, it is fair to conclude that the majority of the the ‘firm’ opinions we read were against this phenomenon. There appears to be more of a ‘live and let live’ attitude to those who don’t perceive the practice of posting pictures of strangers on Twitter as an invasion of privacy.
You can keep the debate going by commenting below. Do you agree with any of the views expressed here? Have you ever been the ‘subject’ of a ‘Hottie or Nottie’ post yourself? How did you feel about it? Or has someone you have posted about contacted you to object? So So Gay would love to hear all your stories.
Featured image courtesy of Oakland Local.