Mia Matsumiya, a Los Angeles-based violinist, has been receiving disgusting, aggressive, sexual social media messages for more than ten years. Now that she’s saved well over a thousand of them, Matsumiya has decided to create an alter ego–the “Perv Magnet”–to share the treatment she’s received, and help shine a light on the pervasiveness of online harassment.
The account is only four weeks old, but Matsumiya is quick to note that she’s been getting unwanted sexual advances over the internet for over a decade–she remembers her first, from “2001 or 2002.” And it stuck with her, as she told Dazed:
It’s from a guy who had a sexual fantasy of being roasted alive on a spit and cannibalised by women on a deserted island. I saved that one because I thought it was completely insane and it made my brain do some baffled somersaults. I couldn’t fathom how or why someone could find that sexual, so I saved it in order to study it. I’m an extremely curious person, especially when it comes to human behaviour, and maybe this is weird, but I compulsively save anything that affects me.
Matsumiya says her initial goal was “to make a coffee table book” full of the messages she’s saved, meticulously, since then. “The messages never stopped,” though, and she actually had to create a “creepiness folder” on her computer to keep everything organized. Matsumiya’s anger has since become a motivating force, and Perv Magnet Instagram account–which already has over 30,000 followers–was born.
Matsumiya is 4’9″, Asian-American, and a violinist–a combination that she says “has sort of been a nightmare…when it comes to harassment. It seems to attract an insane amount of unacceptable, predatory behavior….[And] it’s absolutely unacceptable to treat anyone this way.”
Since creating the Perv Magnet account, Matsumiya has gotten some messages from people who think she’s “bragging” about the number of compliments she’s gotten. To that, her reply is “I’m guessing these people are the same people delivering these messages, but make no mistake, I don’t take these messages as compliments and never have. In fact, they make me feel objectified, dehumanized, and degraded. I think the more time you spend reading them, you really begin understanding my position.”
Unusual fetish? Fine. Enforcing it onto other people without consent? Not so okay. ? Submitted by Tina. A photo posted by Mia Matsumiya (@perv_magnet) on
Matsumiya’s overall goal, as she told Dazed, is to make better known to the sort of unwanted attention women often receive, whether in real life, or over the internet:
I want to start a dialogue by sharing, commiserating, and discussing these messages. I hope to make aware that this is the way some people–a lot of people–act behind their computers. (And often in real life too.) Personally, I don’t know any woman who hasn’t been the recipient of creepy behaviour. It’s unacceptable and so depressingly rampant. I want my account to be a place where women can commiserate and men to just learn what women can experience online. I don’t know yet what can be done about it but I feel like the first step is definitely to shed light on the issue.
Here are a few more selections from the Perv Magnet gallery. These are actually some of the tamer selections; to see the full buffet, including some truly disturbing messages, check out Mia’s Instagram account.
My pushshe dried up and fell off after reading this. #pervmagnet A photo posted by Mia Matsumiya (@perv_magnet) on
Should I believe him? He says he doesn’t stalk! #pervmagnet A photo posted by Mia Matsumiya (@perv_magnet) on
I really hope “f” stands for “fish” because I LOVE FISHING!!! ?❤️ #pervmagnet A photo posted by Mia Matsumiya (@perv_magnet) on