Calgary woman horrified to find her pics on a 'hot or not' page
'Something that is supposed to be such a huge empowering move, is suddenly making me more sexualized'
A Calgary woman is outraged after finding photos of herself on a man's social media account, asking people to rate her appearance.
Kevann Carter recently shaved her head.
She says it involved really stepping outside of her comfort zone.
"I have always had long hair," Carter tells CBC News.
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"I have always felt that I needed long hair to feel beautiful, to feel feminine. I was always concerned with, 'What will men think if I don't have long hair?'"
But she decided her look should be about her, not a stranger who may find her attractive.
"Mostly it was just about taking control of my look and the way I am perceived," she said.
Recently she found pictures of herself on a social media account that fetishizes bald-headed women.
A person who claims to live in Pittsburgh has posted pictures of thousands of women and he asks his followers to rate them.
"What makes me angry is that I'm being sexualized and I'm being discussed like I'm not a human being," Carter explained.
"Something that is supposed to be such a huge empowering move, is suddenly making me more sexualized than I've ever been."
There are similarities between Carter's situation and how Facebook got its start, a University of Calgary media studies professor says.
"Mark Zuckerberg putting up pictures of women at Harvard, so you could rate who's hotter. There's a kind of masculinist culture that underpins the whole idea of social media," Tamara Shepherd said.
"At the surface level, it seems like something somewhat flattering is the argument people might make on the opposite side, but by the same token, this whole issue of consent is clearly a big problem. The other problem is the gendered nature, the way that women's photographs in particular circulate in masculine online spaces."
Shepherd said for some people, it's best to take an approach that doesn't rely too heavily on privacy settings.
"As soon as something goes online, even if you think you have privacy settings on it, there are all kinds of ways you can screenshot or circumvent those settings. Anything you ever post Facebook, even if you delete it, it still exists somewhere," she said.
While internet laws evolve, she says it's up to users to think critically about what they view and post.
And that is exactly what Carter wants to see as well.
"I'm looking for him and people like him to see why this is not OK, that's what I want out of this," she said.
With files from Kate Adach