I’ve been on the Internet since I was like, maybe seven or so…? Basically 10+ years (I’m 19), I’ve been on the Internet for a while is what I’m really getting at. But it’s only somewhat recently where I’ve been really in depth in the Internet culture, knowing about 4chan (specifically the /b/ board), reddit, imgur etc. I mean sure when I was like 13 I knew about Myspace, and Stickam (which isn’t a think anymore rip) and that sort of group. Internet culture is defined as “Cyberculture is the culture that has emerged, or is emerging, from the use of computer networks for communication, entertainment, and business.” via it’s Wikipedia page.
So Internet culture, and specifically YouTube, Tumblr and Twitter and the thing I’m going to talk about is Sam Pepper. If you know me personally and you’ve been reading about my rantings and annoyance of Sam Pepper you can leave. Sam Pepper for the tl;dr members, he’s a British YouTuber living in America who make “prank“ videos (and when I mean “prank“ I’m using the biggest freaking air quotes ever – because they’re not pranks, well some of them are but some of them are harassing people) and he was on the UK version of Big Brother. He has recently come under fire for a “prank” (again air quotes) he did where he groped women’s bums, then a week later he made a second video which had the same title for the first one except it said 2/3, and the video was gendered reversed with a female friend grabbing the bums of other male members of the public. THEN, his last and final video in this whole thing was the REVEAL, where Sam admitted it’s a social experiment and he’s doing this to raise awareness for male victims of abuse and yeah.
The thing I don’t get, and I’ll try not to talk too much about him, but the thing I don’t get is why now say it’s a social experiment where he has previously made videos lassoed women, handcuffed women, and have forced women into somewhat sexual situations where they are obviously uncomfortable and wish to get away. ONTO MY MAIN POINT OF INTERNET CULTURE, these “prank” videos (and the definition of a prank is: a practical joke or mischievous act. Sexual harassment is not a joke no matter what the gender is) where they sexually harass people are shown on YouTube with the pranksters laughing along to it, this feels like it’s normalizing the idea of sexual harrasment, that it’s okay to touch people where they OBVIOUSLY do not want to be touched.
By uploading videos like these it makes viewers imitate these sort of “pranks”, it’s like when someone commits a murder (yes I realise I’m relating murder to sexual harassment, hear me out for a second) there are multiple copycats. I mean for example, the Monash University shootings that happened in late of 2002 here in Melbourne, Australia; the shooter was influenced of sorts by the Beltway sniper attacks which happened AT THE SAME TIME as the Monash shootings (the suspects were caught three days after the Monash incident happened). There are many, recently for the matter, YouTubers out there who are exposing themselves to women, and just generally harassing people for a reaction.
The Internet is just, weird. And I’ve been on the Internet as I said for years, and I’ve seen some weird freaking stuff (a lot of it was from creepypasta, also if you believe anything off of creepypasta please, just, leave. The amount of people who have been killing in the name of Slenderman need to get off of the Internet). It’s so sad, that along with normalizing sexual harassment, that people are commenting on YouTube videos by calling people ‘feminazi’s’ and saying how they ‘thought it was funny, so why should anyone be upset?’. First off, they’re using the term feminazi incorrectly because feminazi was popularised by a conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh who basically defined it as “a woman to whom the most important thing in life is seeing to it that as many abortions as possible are performed.” Secondly, the amount of popular male YouTubers who are standing up to this is amazing.
All in all, sometimes I hate the Internet and its culture, though the Internet can do freaking AMAZING things. 4chan (which is known as the worst place on the Internet… but it’s mostly /b/ forum where you shouldn’t venture) has done some awesome things, like when this image was advertised of an older male needing people for a birthday party and /b/ sent them cards and wishes for his birthday, a man named as Kenny abused a cat and /b/ got onto that found his details authorities were involved and now he’s charged with animal abuse charges and lastly there was a WWII veteran who was making YouTube videos and he was only getting one or two views until /b/ found him and he got a ton of views and even birthday cards. It was asked on reddit a year ago on what is the best thing the Internet has done for you, and there are some amazing stories here.
I don’t know how to… think or feel of Internet culture. The Internet is a battle ground to put it bluntly, it’s one of the greatest places because I’ve made some really close friendships and I’ve witnessed amazing things that if I weren’t on the Internet, or if it didn’t exist I wouldn’t be as cultured as I am. Though it’s also a horrible place, where people decide to use their power for bad instead of good. We’re all kind of… weird I suppose in our own respective places. And everyone can be okay, if they realise their mistakes and what not.
Except for Sam Pepper, fuck Sam Pepper.
(Also P.S. Hi /b/, you guys are great. I’m just a girl in Australia who cries over fictional characters don’t murder me thanks)