One of the fastest growing iOS apps today, Vine allows users to become self-made cinematographers through vignette-style videos, six seconds at a time. Videos include everything from cartoon animations to shots of lovable animals. Though Vine is undoubtedly a creative outlet for budding artists, there have been a disturbing amount of videos depicting women as vapid, vain and slutty.
Many Vines star men dressed up as women, presumably for comedic purposes. But these videos only further negative stereotypes of female habits.
“This party is so lame,” quips a male Vine user in a falsetto voice. After a few moments, his friends squeal in unison, “Mirror pic!” and squeeze together in front of a small bathroom mirror with chests and buttocks sticking out, arms at waists and pouty lips frozen in duckface.
Though meant to be silly, these Vines unnecessarily satirize women’s daily activities.
Several of these Vines also portray women as clingy. One video presents a woman holding her boyfriend at gunpoint while he “Likes” all of her Instagram photos in succession; a similar one features a girl asking her boyfriend which other girls he finds attractive, but his sentence is cut short by her pointing a gun at his head.
One video entitled “You hang up first” features a girl on her phone in her car, lovingly telling her boyfriend that he should hang up first. But when he actually does, she goes into a fit of rage and speeds down the road.
The clingy female stereotype seems to be a current craze, but characterizing women as though they are of unsound mind is no new idea. Historically, men have portrayed women as highly prone to insanity. Hysteria in women was a diagnosable disease until the early 20th century. These were all tactics to dumb females down. In retrospect, these beliefs are shockingly obsolete. But in this age of technology, why are we reverting to old ideologies?
In addition, there were also videos that trivialized sexual harassment of women. One Vine depicts a girl being approached and grabbed by two boys, and upon her escape, the spurned boys dance to Young Dro’s “F-ck Dat B-tch.” Albeit staged, the video echoes one of the main aspects of rape culture: that a woman should be grateful for lewd remarks and flirtation attempts, otherwise she is a “b-tch.”
Another video, entitled “How to pick up girls,” shows a boy running down a sidewalk towards a girl. He then grabs her from behind and lifts her up, carrying her away as she screams. Staged or not, the video pokes fun at the harsh reality of street harassment that so many women endure.
With each “Like” and “Revine” of these insensitive videos, women are further and further objectified. When young people are finally taught to recognize misogyny in even the little things, such as Vine videos, the Internet will become a much more hospitable place for women, and Vine can once again be used as a creative outlet rather than a sexist one.
Sareen Palassian is a sophomore majoring in French and international relations.