Last night was the first time I sat down and watched the new MTV phenomenon that is “Catfish.” This docudrama explores the tangled webs woven online by people deceiving others with photos of good looking strangers to entice their fellow online daters into a relationship. The one doing the deceiving gets the poor, unsuspecting dater to fall in love online. Most of the people carry out these online romances without seeing one another in-person or even hearing their voice for more than two years. There’s even a couple that did the online thing for nine years!
One thing I love about watching TV these days is that I can watch it with Twitter. This takes the level of consumption to a 10 because while I am watching, I am receiving the open and honest opinions of the various people I follow–from ratchet to sophisticated and even the combination of the two (word to Terrell Starr’s Sophisti-Ratchet piece). These tweets lead to in-depth discussions offline and one of the perks of my job is that I get to write it all out.
Must Read: What Does Catfish Mean?
As last night’s “victim,” Jarrod agonized over his adorable love interest, “Abby,” Twitter predicted the woman behind the photos of “Abby” would be fat. Some even mentioned that the “Catfish” always ends up being “morbidly obese.” It was tweets like these that burned:
I was already uncomfortable watching this because I know what it’s like to pretend to be someone else online. After watching blonde-haired, blue-eyed “Abby” be exposed as brunette and overweight “Melissa,” I was faced with my own former insecurities.
I used to be a part of this online community called Paxed.com before Facebook and Twitter took over the internet. It was actually at a time when Myspace was at its peak. It was a place where folks gathered to meet new people, flirt, build long-lasting bonds and vent via forums.
When I started my profile, I was overwhelmed by the number of pretty girls on the site. Ethnically ambiguous women with long flowing tresses or wild and carefree curls graced my screen more often than not. I wasn’t intimidated by their gorgeous glares at all. I didn’t think twice about plastering myself up on the site, until I stumbled into a forum labeled, “The Top 10 Ugliest Girls On Paxed.”
I clicked the forum for the same reason many of you click the ratchet titles on Bossip or MediaTakeout; I just needed to know what was beyond the link. As I expected, it was the one ignorant opinion of a dude’s beauty standards who claimed to be an authority on the topic.
I scrolled down the list, the first two were legitimately challenged in the pretty department (like Flava Flav and Craig Mack in a wig) and the next couple of girls were fat; and then I saw something that changed the course of my online life, forever. I saw myself as the 6th ugliest girl on the site. While I knew I wasn’t ugly, the ranking tore me apart.
Heat rushed into my face and I felt the tears welling up. They used a photo that I was most proud of; I’d captured myself at the right angle and my face looked flawless as I smoldered into the camera. The caption said something like, “She thinks because she doesn’t post a full body photo that we don’t know she’s fat as hell. Maybe if she lost some of those chins, she could actually be cute.”
From that moment forward, I was no longer comfortable with being myself online. I was already struggling with my self-esteem because of my weight, but this list solidified my discomfort with myself. I’ve always struggled with not feeling pretty enough because my thighs jiggled more than most and I had stretch marks in places a girl without children shouldn’t have. I could go on for days about society’s thin standards, but I can’t blame everyone else for my self-esteem. Whether positive or negative, it’s difficult not to be affected by people’s harsh words against a fuller figure.
Instead of seeking therapy, I sought pictures of a pretty young thing from Myspace that I could use for my own. I found the perfect specimen. She was fair-skinned with long, luxurious hair and a size six frame that I felt more comfortable with than my own. She updated her photos on a weekly basis, so there was always a gallery-full to choose from.
A chill goes down my spine right now, remembering the delight of putting the faux profile together. As soon as the profile went public, I was overwhelmed by the amount “hits” I received on my page. My inbox could have popped it was so full. I was in college at the time, so between classes and late into the midnight hours (when other students were studying) I was checking my messages, developing relationships with beautiful men and floating on cloud nine from all the positive attention. I practically ignored my real profile (which received minimal hits).
I was so happy with the attention the pretty girl was getting me, I didn’t even think about stealing photos from the woman who I pretended to be or the people I was lying to/dating. If a tiny piece of conscience would peek through, I quickly shut it up with memories of being the 6th ugliest girl on the site. I was now one of the prettiest and I was fine with that false sense of peace. And so were many of the men on the site.
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One in particular, Che fell in love with “me.” We’d chat way into the wee hours of the morning, whispering “I love you’s,” planning our lives together and the whole time, I never thought that I was wrong because what I felt was right. I was flying high in the fog of love and because I felt like I deserved it, I never wanted it to end.
I did everything I could to keep the lie going. When he wanted to talk on the phone, that was easy. I would make a voice a bit higher than normal because I thought he would be able to tell my weight in my voice. Web cams weren’t really that common back then, so it was never really a requirement to provide that type of proof.
The longer my relationship lasted with Che, the happier I was that I was developing something with someone who cared about me and the more I had to do to make sure he never wanted to meet. When he’d mention it, I’d lie about my job being so demanding that I couldn’t get away. He’d suggest coming to see me and I’d find ways to change the subject and lead him away from his original request. I kept thinking that it was only so much more time that I could have these foolish excuses before he started asking questions about who I really am.
One day I logged on, excited to chat with Che and I saw that my page was littered with people calling me out on my fake profile. My heart raced as I went to my inbox to see more than five messages from Che telling me that I am the scum of the earth and various other heartbreaking insults that made me put my tail between my legs. The jig was up and my self-esteem boost gravy train was derailed.
My self-esteem took a definite beating and I wasn’t sure how to move forward. When Che asked me why, I remember feeling so uncomfortable; and it was the same level of discomfort watching Melissa aka “Abby” explain her reasoning for lying to Jarrod through their entire online relationship.
While I watched and tweeted, @JasFly asked me about one of my tweets that detailed “Catfish” being a show about “fat shaming.” What she said…stuck.
Yes, the revealing of the common thread that “Catfish” is exposing is uncomfortable for me. Not all fat people have a tough time finding love and have to result to looking for it online. Most of us could actually boast multiple love interests, but there’s no denying what’s obvious on “Catfish.” Many overweight people create profiles online to receive the type of love they think they deserve, but could never get in real life.
What do you think about “Catfish?” Answer our poll below:
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100 Reasons Why I Can't Stop Looking At Blue Ivy
1. Mommy & Me
2. Blue. #May10 #NYC
3. Blue Ivy & Jay Z Sip Tea
Blue is surely the apple of Daddy's eye.
4. Blue Ivy & Beyonce Smell The Roses
Beyonce seems like the coolest mom.
5. Blue Ivy & Beyonce Soar The Big Skies
6. Blue Ivy & Mommy
7. Daddy & Me
Blue Ivy walks across mommy's at-home photoshoot, but it's the most adorable photobomb ever!
9. One Big Happy Family
The royal family, Bey, Jay & Blue are all out shopping and we're sure they spent our entire life's savings in 30 minutes or less.
10. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
Beyonce in these heels though?!
11. Beyoncé & Blue in NYC — Nov. 4
Look at Blue in her adorable little bow!
12. Beyoncé & Blue spotted in NYC — Nov. 4
Blue holding on to mommy for dear life.
13. Beyoncé & Blue spotted in NYC — Nov. 4
Momma Bey looking fierce with her mini me in tow.
14. Blue dressed as Michael Jackson.
15. Blue & Ivy
Just look at that face. Seriously, Jay could never deny this child! She knows how to make all his mean mugs!
16. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
Look at that cutie!
17. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
OMG Blue in a top knot? Yasss!
Blue has grown up to be an adorable toddler! We're swooning over this photo of her playing on the beach.
Looks like Blue is taking a walk in mom's shoes...literally.
20. Beyoncé & Blue
There's nothing like being cuddled up in mom's arms.
Blue is looking all kinds of adorable! Look at that left hand go! LOL.
22. Blue On The Big Screen
Bey & Jay look at Blue during a video played at an "On The Run" tour stop. How precious!
23. Pardon Blue's Back
She's growing up so fast! We're loving the top knot. Take that Blue Ivy hair critics!
24. Jump Around
Bey & Blue share an adorable moment on the trampoline. Hello summer!
25. Rocking Some Cute Ponytails
Blue Ivy was spotted with a new 'do! Bey & Jay's mini-me was holding on to her father during a little day stroll.
26. Strolling With Mom & Dad
Blue, Jay and Bey all spotted in East Hampton.
27. Blue Has A Manicure Day With Mama Bey
"Me and my Blue, and my Blue Blue, riding🐝"
28. Hanging Out With Mom
Baby Blue is walking to the door, and it looks like Bey is trying to keep up!
29. Trying On Some Heels
Will Blue be slaying a performance in the near future?
30. Holding On To Mom
Blue looks like she has something to say to Bey.
31. Playing A Game Of Tennis
Blue walks on the tennis court.
32. Cuddling With Mom
Blue & Beyonce have some much-needed cuddle time.
33. Blue Ivy
"The blueprint 🐝"
34. Bey & Blue Take A Stroll
Doesn't Blue look adorable with her colorful dress and cute hair ribbon?
35. The Carter Lounge Together
The family was seen out and about.
36. Jay Z Carries Blue While Bey Looks On
Jay carries Blue in his arms.
37. Leading The Way
Blue Ivy looks too cute with her bowler hat and Mama Bey watching from behind. She's really growing up!
38. Out On The Town
Blue Ivy & Momma Bey enjoy some much deserved time off in Spain.
39. Traveling With Mom and Dad
Blue is used to traveling with Mama Bey and Poppa Jay, but she also looked a little flustered at some moments. It's ok, baby Blue!
40. A Day At The Park
Poppa Jay Z lets Blue Ivy have her way with the bouncy horse.
41. It's A Family Affair
Beyonce, Jay and Blue jetsetting in Dublin.
Blue dressed up like a hipster and plays a quick game of peekaboo! How adorable!
43. OMG It's Blue's Beautiful Face!
FINALLY! We get to see how beautiful Blue is! Look at the adorable headband! "Blue 💙"
44. Blue Ivy
Life's a beach!
45. Brooklyn Stand Up!
"Beyonce & Blue"
46. Blue Ivy's Got Her Own iPhone
"Momma, what's your password?"
47. Beyonce's Lazy Day With Blue
"Momma, I asked you for your password!"
48. When Blue Ivy Takes Your Phone, Beyonce Be Like...
"Fine, I'll go ask Daddy!"
49. Blue Ivy On Tour
"Bey & Blue"
50. It's Playtime
Beyonce & Blue take some time out to play.
51. A Chilly Day In NYC
"Beyoncé, Jay Z and Blue Ivy in NYC - Jan. 19"
52. All Bundled Up
The royal family makes their way to their fancy car.
53. Kisses From Dad
Blue's all bundled up, getting love from Daddy.
54. Blue At The White House
Blue Ivy's taking after mommy and writing a letter.
55. Blue Loves Bo
The White House pup, Bo is showing Blue Ivy some love.
56. The Carters At The White House
Check out the royal family checking out the scene at the White House.
57. It's Christmas Time Again
Blue and Bey checking out the White House Christmas tree.
58. Blue Lovin' Bo
Blue Ivy, dressed like a Princess, showing Bo some love.
59. Like Father, Like Daughter
Blue playing dress up with Daddy's hat.
60. Fun Times With Mommy
Blue Ivy spends some QT with mommy.
61. Mommy & Me
Blue and Bey take a break for some snacks.
62. Silvery Blue
Beyonce carries Blue, while the adorable toddler rocks a metallic jacket that we want and need.
63. The Holy Grail
Blue, Bey & Jay
64. One Big Happy Family
"#miami #newyear #2014"
"Beyoncé & Blue 💙"
66. Blue & Daddy In A Blue Jacket
"Jay and Blue 💙 #NewYear #2014 #Miami"
67. Hold On To Me
"Happy New Year Mommy!"
68. Dora Dora Dora The Explorer
"Beyoncé, Blue and Dora the Explorer"
69. Daddy & Bey
"Look over there Blue, you own that too."
70. Blue's Big B-Day
"Mommy make sure they can only see the back of my head."
71. Painted Faces For Blue's Bday
"Let me get down Mommy, I wanna play!"
72. Kisses From Mommy
Beyonce and Blue prepping for Momma Tina's Masquerade Ball
73. Talk To The Hand!
Beyonce, Jay Z and Blue Ivy were spotted leaving Joey's restaurant in Miami, on January 8th, and Blue had a message for the paps! Talk to the hand!
74. Me & My Daddy
While Beyonce's arm rested, Jay carried Blue from Joey's restaurant, in Miami on January 8th.
75. Blue's First Words
"I'm ready to slay right along with you, Ma!"
76. Imagine The Sound Of This Lullaby
A newborn Blue Ivy gets serenaded by her superstar mother.
77. Don't Mess With Blue!
Every now and again, Blue Ivy reminds you...she is her father's child!
78. All Gold Everything
Blue Ivy takes after her dad's swag. The inseparable duo were spotted in South Beach, Miami illuminating the streets outside their hotel with their yellow luster!
79. All Of The Lights!
"Mommy! All the pretty colors are so blinding! I'm...just..so..overwhelmed! When's my shot coming?! When's my shot coming?!" Blue plays on set with Bey at her 'Blow' video shoot.
80. Hey Blue!
"I can be happy sometimes, see?"
81. Blue Ivy With Daddy
"Why are we clapping, again? I'm not in the shot."
82. Jay Z Tries To Get Blue To Listen To "Magna Carta Holy Grail"
"Daddy, I'm more of a Nas fan."
83. Stepping With Mom
"Wait, Ma. I want the camera to see all angles of this sick dress!"
84. Splashin' & Playin'
"Mom, this water is clean, right? Because I'm not trying to splash in water I can't trust."
85. Beyonce Discusses Important Matters
"Mommy, I completely get it. Yes, I promise to watch the throne."
86. Mommy's Hugs
"Ok, Ma. I love you to pieces, but I like oxygen too." Bey may be the Queen, but this scene from her video "Blue" makes it look as if she can't get enough of being Mom.
87. Blue Ivy Twirls
"Aaaahh, I'm having so much fun not thinking about anything...wiippeee...oh, wait...getting a little sick."
88. Just So You Know...
"I run things. Don't get it twisted."
89. Mommy & Me Loungin'
"Oh, Mommy, I'm so tired of seeing the wigs you snatched last night all on our floor. It's so exhausting. Like, when're they getting picked up? Not now? Oh. Ok."
90. A Kiss For Blue
"Mommy, let me sleep, dang!"
91. Slurpin' On That Milk...Slurpin' Slurpin' On That Milk
"Mommy, gimme that bottle!"
We could watch this adorable GIF of Blue Ivy nonstop forever!
93. Jay Sneaks In Kisses
"Dadddd! Get..Away!..I don't want...No, ugh..No kisses!"
94. Blue Stares Back...
"Hey! Who's that?!"
95. Blue Still Doesn't Get Why Anyone's Here
"No, really, who are you? You're getting to close."
96. Blue and Bey Out For Lunch
"I'm over this now. People just won't let us be. Mom, why can't we just be?!"
97. Blue Is One Tough Cookie
"Ma, please let me just kick them in the face. Like, please, I can't see through all these lights."
98. Blue Jetsets With Jay
"Dad, do we own this boat? I just figured we owned everything, so..."
99. Beyonce Keeps Blue Covered
"Mommy, I think you forgot my feet. I'm cold right now. Are we inside?"
100. Beyonce LOVES Her Blue
Look at that face, how could you not kiss it?!