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LET’S BE ABOMINABLE FEMINISTS: Yeti: Campus Stories and Countering Sexism in the Digital College Party Scene

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 By Jeremiah Favara and Caitlyn Kawamura

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Abstract: Social media apps are increasingly a part of college culture and are being mobilized in the college party scene. This paper focuses on representations of the college party scene on one particular app, Yeti: Campus Stories, to explore the role of social media apps in perpetuating and countering sexist spaces on college campuses.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 1 It seems like every fall there’s something like Yeti: Campus Stories. Last year, it was the Yik Yak van parked on campus for the first few weeks of fall term. The year before it was a Facebook Confessions Page. The latest social media app for showcasing college life is as much a part of the start of the school year as buying books or being frustrated by the suddenly long line at Starbucks each morning. Social media apps like Yik Yak, which claim to help users discover and connect with their community, or like Yeti, which asks students to share photos and videos of what’s popular on their campus, act as informal advertisements for college life. In depicting an unfiltered view of college life, social media apps support the college party scene – a scene that has problems with gender, sexism, and consent.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 1 In focusing on Yeti: Campus Stories we are not arguing that social media apps and mobile technologies are inherently dangerous; however, we also don’t want to minimize or erase the ways that digitals tools have been used to perpetuate racism, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. [1] While a number of women’s and civil-rights groups campaigned for the shutdown of anonymous social media apps like Yik Yak and Yeti, we argue that, as feminists, we need to engage with such spaces to explore the role of digital tools in a college party culture that fosters sexism and sexual harassment. [2] After spending a month on Yeti, we feel that rather than calling for the shutdown of social media apps we, along with other feminists, need to intervene in digital spaces to challenge the norms of sexist communities.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 2 In this paper, we present key themes from a month spent on Yeti; themes that display problems college party culture has with gender, sexism, and consent. Beginning with a discussion of Yeti, we highlight the ways that cultures and practices of programming need to be considered and held accountable when researching social media apps. We then turn to images detailing the prevalence of partying in digital expressions of campus life. Exploring gendered dynamics of the college party scene we discuss two related themes found on Yeti. The first theme focuses on young women’s uses of Yeti including the pleasure of posting and the regulation of women’s sexuality. The second theme focuses on digital sex talk that revolves around mediated displays of what sociologist CJ Pascoe calls sex talk. [3]

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 2 As a site of digital sex talk, Yeti features representations foregrounding sex and proof of sexual activity as an indication of masculinity, practices that most glaringly have consequences for women in the genre of ‘Smash’ posts. Focusing on the ‘Smash’ genre, we detail how posts on Yeti reflect a culture where status for men is linked to heterosexualized discourses of dominance conveying troubling ideas about privacy and consent in the digital college party scene. While providing opportunities for young women to participate in the college party scene, representations on Yeti contribute to cultural narratives of toxic masculinity in which the consequences disproportionately affect women.

Snapchat + Yik Yak + Sexist Tech Culture = Yeti: Campus Stories

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Yeti is the latest in a long line of digital tools offering users visions of campus life. Yeti has been called an ‘X-rated Snapchat clone’ and an app for ‘pics of sex, drugs, and partying.’ [4] At the time of our research, there were Yeti networks affiliated with twenty-eight different campuses, including Arizona State University, Penn State, and our own University of Oregon. Yeti can be downloaded for free on both iPhones and Android phones. Once you download Yeti, you can select which campus network or ‘Yeti’ you want to be a part of—there’s also an option to request a new Yeti if you can’t find one on your campus. Once on Yeti, users can view and reply to photos and videos—called Yeets—submitted by other users. When you join a Yeti, you are joining a community created by geo-tagging technology. Although you can sign up for and view other Yetis as well as globally trending posts, your Yeets are categorized into your own campus community. When on Yeti, a Yeet shows up on your screen for about 10 seconds then the app automatically moves on to the next Yeet. Users have the option to like a Yeet, upvoting it in a ‘Liked Yeets’ tab, or to dislike it, which downvotes it. Highly liked Yeets start ‘trending’ and if liked enough show up in a ‘Global Trending’ feed. If a Yeet is disliked enough, it disappears from the feed.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Figure 1 - Yeti Screen Shot

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 2 In this simple interface, Yeti combines the best, or worst, of Snapchat and Yik Yak. Snapchat is a mobile phone app that allows users to send other users photos and videos that after a selected duration of time disappear. Snapchat, whose CEO, Evan Spiegel, was publicly criticized for emails documenting his participation in a sexist party culture while an undergrad and fraternity member at Stanford, has been used to create college accounts showcasing images of the college party scene. [5] Yik Yak is an app that allows users to communicate anonymously with anyone in a ten-mile radius and has been used to promote sexism and racism on college campuses. Yeti combines the anonymity and community of Yik Yak with the visual and fleeting nature of Snapchat. In doing so, Yeti is a showcase for anonymous documentation of drugs, booze, and sex in the college party scene. Yeti and its developers are similarly cloaked in anonymity. The website for the app, theyetiapp.com, is registered to Temo Chalasani, the CEO and co-founder of an app called Cinegram, and features three pages: a cover page, terms of use page, and a link for press inquiries. The terms of use clearly provide guidelines including prohibiting ‘nude, partially nude, or sexually suggestive photos’ and telling users they ‘must not abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate’ other users. [6] The terms also indicate that Yeti users agree not to post content violating the ‘privacy rights’ of any person and that Yeti Campus Stories may store content to comply with legal obligations. [7]

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 1 While Yeti cooperated with the Tallahassee Police Department when a video of an alleged rape was posted on the Florida A&M University Yeti, these terms of use contain important cues as to how developers and users of Yeti envision what content is considered acceptable. [8] Certain photos on Yeti, particularly photos of nude women often appearing to be taken without their consent, clearly violate the terms of use. Such photos were highly prevalent during our time spent observing Yeti. Photos of young women and their bodies are widespread in the world of Yeti, a world that doesn’t stop at the app itself. Articles have appeared on Playboy.com featuring images from Yeti. One article, from April 1, 2015, titled ‘All The College Drugs and Nudity Are Happening On Yeti’, focused on things you might see on Yeti, referencing ‘mighty fine booties’, ‘hot girls drinking from massive booze containers’, ‘incredible mirror selfies’, ‘boobs’, and other frequent images. [9] There are also a few Tumblr blogs dedicated to photos of girls on Yeti. [10] In pointing to these stories and sites, we are drawing attention to the ways images on Yeti circulate in a wider mediascape made possible by the ability to screenshot photos and save videos to any phone’s camera roll.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 2 The popular vision of Yeti focuses on images of young women, their bodies, and exploits in the college party scene. Such a vision of Yeti coincides with a programming logic embedded in tech culture, which is known to be harmful to, and dismissive of, women. Several recent news stories have focused on sexism in startup culture, a culture dominated by men where women are vastly underrepresented and when present often face marginalization and harassment. [11] Scholars have argued that both material aspects of computing and social identities created through programming are made by and for men. [12] As we move through key themes of content found on Yeti we don’t want to let the programmers off the hook nor do we want to discount the ways that a tech culture rife with sexism is not independent of digital expressions of college party culture. For this paper, we both downloaded Yeti onto our phones and looked at the University of Oregon Yeti during the fall of 2015. After conducting preliminary research and several discussions of how best to document the world of Yeti, we began taking detailed field notes describing different Yeets over the course of one month, from November 5 to December 5, 2015. [13] This period marks the last month of fall term and coincides with the heart of the college football season, both of which corresponded with images focused on partying.

Drugs, Booze, and Documenting the Shit Show

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 3 On Yeti, images and videos documenting and celebrating the college party scene, such as individuals passed out from drinking too much and videos of young people playing drinking games, were a consistent presence. In a study of collegiate drinking subculture, Thomas Vander Ven refers to binge drinking as a powerful social process labeled ‘the shit show’. [14] On any given day, Yeets showed young people drinking, asking about and advertising potential parties, and celebrating the college shit show. Alcohol wasn’t the only indication of the college party scene on Yeti. Marijuana was highly present in Yeets as were other drugs, most often Adderall and cocaine. A number of Yeets included users selling and soliciting drugs from other users. The idea that college students are using drugs, drinking, and partying is nothing new and is deeply embedded in popular culture narratives in films like Animal House, which was filmed on University of Oregon’s campus. [15] However, the important role social and digital media play in celebrating the pleasure of the college party scene is a relatively recent phenomenon.

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 1 Scholars have found social media to be important tools used by college students to document the drinking scene as well as to communicate popularity and to organize social life. [16] Vander Ven found that students often documented the college drinking scene on social media, most notably on Facebook. Students saw documenting the shit show as a fun way to revisit parties they may or may not clearly remember. [17] However, documentations of partying do not always have positive ramifications. Drunk dials and texts were found to elicit regret from students as they evidence behavior they were not particularly proud of and that they otherwise might not partake in. [18] Documenting the party scene is not limited to personal feelings of fond reflection or regretful reminders of behavior. Participation in the party scene is guided by a set of gendered, sexualized, raced, and classed expectations; one must typically be heterosexual, middle-class, white, and adhere to gendered expectations of attractiveness. [19] The large-scale fun documented and celebrated on Yeti indicates how gender and sexuality are regulated in a sexist college party culture. Turning now to themes on Yeti, we argue that the college party scene and its documentation facilitated by digital technologies furthers the “uneven playing field” of the college party scene.

Women, Selfies, and the Lady Lair

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 1 Yeti is a space visually dominated by images of young women. Throughout our time on Yeti, we saw a variety of images of young women including selfies with young women modeling outfits, posing with friends, and participating in the college party scene. Many of the most-liked Yeets were images of young women taking selfies. A selfie is a photo one took of oneself, often with a smartphone and shared via social media. [20] A Yeet featuring an image of two blonde, white women wearing tank tops, smiling facing the camera received over 800 likes. Another Yeet featuring a selfie of two women taken in a mirror received over 950 likes. A selfie of a blonde, white women in gym clothes, captioned with the words, ‘Gym time Emoji 1- Flexing Arm’ was liked more than 750 times. The above three Yeets images where women’s faces are visible; they are facing the camera, smiling, aware their picture is being taken. A number of other Yeets display women without showing their faces or displaying their full bodies. A selfie, taken in a mirror of a young woman in ripped jeans, white shoes, and a tight striped shirt exposing her midriff was liked over 1100 times. The image is captioned ‘ootd’, which refers to outfit-of-the-day, and is cropped to not show the woman’s face. Another Yeet was liked over 700 times and features a mirror selfie of two white women in lingerie, their faces not fully visible as their backs are to the camera with the caption ‘booty’. A Yeet liked more than 1000 times focused on a white, blonde woman’s chest, with visible cleavage and her face partially obscured by her hand. Even though their faces are obscured or hidden, these images of young women resemble those discussed earlier in appearing to be selfies.

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 2 All the photos appear to be taken by the women themselves and appear to be taken with the recognition that the photo is being taken. Such photos represent what Kath Albury calls public selfies, photos understood as expressions of self and meant to communicate a sexualized form of self-expression. [21] We read these images as digital expressions of participation in the erotic market of the college party scene. The erotic market of the college party scene is linked to understandings of status and erotic attention at work in college culture. In the erotic market, both women and men considered to be more attractive, desirable, and popular by opposite-sex peers are more likely to have a powerful status position. [22] Yeets of young women’s selfies, some of which are explicitly sexualized, reflect and reinforce the link between erotic attention and women’s status in the college party scene. Yeti facilitates participation in the erotic market in ways representing a double-edged participation for young women. In some ways, Yeti provides a space for women to anonymously participate in the erotic market. In the context of self-taken and self-distributed images on Yeti, young women can participate in digital expressions of college party culture and the erotic market of college life. Selfies on Yeti represent one way young women utilize social media to participate in the erotic market of the college party scene on their terms. However, as Armstrong and Hamilton note, the college party scene is an uneven playing field wherein women are expected to trade in on their erotic appeal to gain access to a male-controlled party scene. [23] Selfies on Yeti represent one way young women utilize social media and digital tools to even the playing field, to participate in the erotic market of the college party scene on their own terms.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 2 While images of young women participating in a digital version of the erotic market may allow young women to secure status in the college party scene, such participation comes at a cost. The costs of participating in the digital erotic market are exemplified by a series of Yeets made by, and referring to, a group of young, blonde women known on Yeti as the LadyLair. [24] The women of the LadyLair were known on Yeti and were often featured in various Yeets posted by themselves and referred to by other users. A Yeet discussed above, a selfie of two young women, was captioned with the words ‘Much love from ladylair Emoji 2 - Heart,’ received more than 800 likes and was typical of Yeets featuring the women of the LadyLair. While the young women of the LadyLair were featured in highly liked Yeets, they were often subject to criticism and insults. A Yeet featuring a selfie of a black haired woman, lying in bed wearing a black shirt was captioned with the phrase, ‘Just spotted miss piggy in the ladylair Emoji 3 - Wink FaceEmoji 4 - Lip Print #toosavage?’. The Yeet was liked 794 times and refers to a photo of one of the women of the LadyLair. Another Yeet captioned ‘Ladylair girls r strippers LOL’ received over 600 likes. These Yeets demonstrate the ways the women of LadyLair, as highly present and popular women in the digital party scene were regulated by other users. Along with their increased popularity and visibility on Yeti, the women of LadyLair were often subject to Yeets making fun of them or marking them with negative sexual labels. Armstrong and Hamilton noted that women seen as being strivers, seen as actively trying to communicate their popularity, were more likely to receive negative feedback, particularly in the form of sexual labels. [25] The Yeet calling the women of the LadyLair ‘strippers’ is indicative of a digital space where women receive both positive attention and negative labels for participating in the erotic market of the college party scene.

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 1 Such regulation is not something that happened only to the women of the LadyLair, but rather demonstrates a regulation of women on Yeti coinciding with, and contributing to, a sexist college party culture. Other Yeets featuring selfies of young women were met with responding Yeets saying things like ‘Nice fake eyelashes’ or ‘You have a baby bump yet?’. Such Yeets demonstrate how women’s images are celebrated and regulated through expectations of attractiveness and labeled as displays of promiscuity. Other Yeets explicitly labeled young women with captions such as ‘Post booty send nudes expose these hoes!!’, ‘Yea stop bein a Yeti Hoe an thirsty ass dudes wouldn’t Holla! Plain as that’, ‘You know what’s actually sexy? Self respect’, ‘Put your tits away, you got a baby comin soon whore Emoji 5 - Crying with Laugther’, and ‘S/o to the girls on that grind, not flashing ass n’ titties Emoji 6 - Money Bag’. Yeets calling women who post photos of themselves ‘Yeti Hoes’ or implying women who do so have no self-respect are consistent with what scholars call the slut discourse. The slut discourse operates through labeling women with terms such as slut and ho when they violate sexual standards used to enforce boundaries of status among women. [26] Yeets regulating women’s sexuality show how the slut discourse extends into digital spaces, spaces that may afford women a safe platform for participating in the erotic market of the college party scene but also subject women seen as violating gendered norms to regulation and harassment.

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 1 For women users of Yeti, posting selfies could be interpreted as a pleasurable experience. The anonymity of Yeti allows young women to display themselves as active sexual agents participating in the college party scene. However, the ways women were regulated and labeled on Yeti reveals troubling gendered dynamics at work in the college party scene. The prevalence of images of young women’s bodies, often shown with a focus on buttocks and breasts without visible faces, contributes to a vision of the college party scene in which images of young women’s bodies are a part of the narrative. Turning now to the role of men and masculinity in the digital college party scene, we discuss how young women’s bodies are displayed without their consent as part of what we call digital sex talk.

Digital Sex Talk, Yeti, and Smash Photos

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 1 Images of young women and their bodies dominate the visual culture of Yeti. However, the prevalence of sexualized images of young women needs to be understood in relation to practices of masculinity and men. In a study of adolescent masculinity, CJ Pascoe defined masculinity as a form of dominance expressed through sexualized discourses called sex talk. [27] Such discourses entail establishing dominance through public displays of compulsive heterosexuality and asserting one’s heterosexuality. On Yeti, a number of Yeets revolved around the caption, ‘See a Virgin, Post a Virgin’. These Yeets show men whose photos are often taken without their awareness. Just as the slut discourse functions to regulate women’s expressions of gender and sexuality, the virgin discourse does the same with men; shaming men who aren’t players. ‘See a Virgin, Post a Virgin’ photos shame men who are labeled as virgins and as such are not adhering to expectations of masculinity. On occasion, men featured in such Yeets would respond with Yeets captioned ‘Not a Virgin.’ These Yeets publicly label men as virgins and demonstrate how Yeti is mobilized as a digital platform for sex talk in which masculinity is articulated through expressions of sexualized discourses. ‘See a Virgin, Post a Virgin’ Yeets are a form of digital sex talk focusing on men and assertions of heterosexuality as a form of dominance from which women are notably absent. However, as Pascoe notes, sex talk also often entails talk of girls’ bodies, a practice extended into digital and visual spaces of Yeti through ‘Pre Smash’ and ‘Post Smash’ Yeets.

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 3 Smash, a slang term for having sex defined as ‘the action/process of fucking someone good’ is central to captions for Yeets composed of two related types of photos. [28] A number of Yeets featured images of women and were tagged with captions functioning to label women ‘pre smash’. A Yeet captioned with the phrase ‘Bout to smash FTY’ featured a photo of a white, blonde woman standing in black pants and a striped tank top, taken from behind. Another Yeet captioned ‘Time to smash!! FTY!!’ shows a blonde woman in black underwear and bra as she is crouched in front of a mirror. A Yeet with the caption ‘Pre smash’ shows a white woman wearing leopard print pants and a dark shirt as she is bent over at the waist. The photos in each of these Yeets are taken from behind the women and none of the women’s faces are visible. The ways women are framed in these photos indicates these images may have been taken without their consent. These Yeets are used to express men’s claims to women’s bodies and as expressions of men’s knowledge of sex. These photos are taken as proof that these men are about to have sex and then distributed ‘FTY’ (‘for the Yeti’). In these photos, women’s bodies are represented and circulated as signifiers of men’s sex talk. Images of women in these photos are on display as indicators of men’s heterosexuality. Images of women’s bodies are claimed as about to be smashed, placing women’s bodies at the center of men’s expressions of heterosexuality. Rather than having only talk of women’s bodies in digital sex talk, we see photos of women’s bodies, photos often violating women’s privacy and consent.

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 Throughout our time spent on Yeti, ‘Post Smash’ photos were a consistent and popular theme. A Yeet with the caption ‘Post 3x smash sesh’ features a photo of a white woman’s back and upper buttocks, as she lays in bed on her side. The photo is taken from behind, and the woman’s face is not visible. Another Yeet, captioned ‘Post smash’ shows a white woman’s buttocks and back, partially covered by a sheet, as she lies in a bed. Her face is not visible and the photo is taken from behind. The majority of ‘Post Smash’ photos follow a similar template, in which photos of women as they are naked, or mostly naked, are taken from behind them, as they appear to be asleep. Another Yeet, captioned ‘Post smash’ shows a blonde, white woman laying on a bed, her back, buttocks and legs visible. Her is face is not shown, and the photo is taken from above as she is lying on her stomach wearing underwear. Over the course of the month we spent on Yeti, the majority of ‘Post Smash’ Yeets we saw were taken from behind women as they appeared to be unaware their photos were being taken.

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 1 While we have no way of knowing the gender of who posted such photos, references to ‘where my penis goes’ and ‘when the dick so good last night’ indicate these photos are being taken by and distributed by men. [29] In the context of digital sex talk, such photos act as evidence of the heterosexuality of the men posting the Yeets. Images of women’s bodies, many of which seem to be taken without their consent, serve as visual evidence of men’s sex talk in the digital college party scene. The prevalence of such images reinforces the notion that sex talk is integral to expressions of masculinity, a practice that reinforces gender inequality. ‘Post Smash’ photos are evidence of the consequences for women when men express their sexual status and assert their masculinity through sexualized discourses of dominance. On Yeti, we see photos of women and their bodies taken and distributed without their consent as evidence of men striving to adhere to expectations of masculinity in the college party scene.

The Digital Party Scene, Consent, and Challenging Sexist Spaces

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 1 While ‘Smash’ Yeets often closely resemble images women post of themselves on Yeti, issues of consent and privacy differentiate them. Women’s selfies and images of women taken by men without their consent both contribute to the digital erotic market of the college party scene. Images created by women themselves allow women to participate in the erotic market with a measure of control. However, the ways images of women’s participation in the digital erotic market circulate on Yeti is beyond their control and reveals how images of women and women themselves are talked about in the digital college party scene.

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 1 A ‘Post Smash’ photo of a woman sleeping on a couch was met with a response captioned ‘Lmfao #SQUAD’ (Lmfao means “laughing my fucking ass off”). A photo of a woman’s buttocks, taken from behind as she lies on a bed was met with a response captioned ‘This is what a nice B Emoji 8 - PeachEmoji 7 - Peachty looks Emoji 9 - Savouring Smilelike.’ A photo of a woman’s chest was met with the caption ‘Damn show us those tits’. It is crucial that rather than seeing such responses as a reason to focus on why young women would choose to post such photos, we read these responses with a focus on consent and sexism in the college party scene. Similar to Amy Hasinoff’s study on sexting, the real problems with Yeti aren’t images women create of themselves but rather are sexism, systemic inequality, and rape culture. [30] On Yeti women are faced with navigating a thin line: being asked to show their ‘tits’ and ‘booty’ while simultaneously being told to stop being ‘strippers’ and ‘thirsty hoes.’

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 Situated at the intersection of unequal gendered expectations of the erotic market in the college party scene and digital spaces of Yeti where non-consensual images of women are circulated as part of men’s sex talk, the world of Yeti is a space where women can’t win. Although issues of consent have recently come to the fore as colleges and universities are grappling with an ongoing epidemic of sexual assault and rape, Yeti shows us there is still much work to do. Women whose bodies are put on display in ‘Post Smash’ Yeets may have consented to sex, but that doesn’t mean they consented to their photos being taken and distributed on social media. The consistency with which women’s bodies were present on Yeti and framed as about to be, of just having been, ‘smashed’ reveals the prevalence of rape culture, in which women and their bodies are seen as available for assertions of masculinity and heterosexuality without discussions of consent. These non-consensual photos reveal a sexist logic in the user community of Yeti, and in culture more broadly.

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 1 While the working of Yeti as an app and an organization are opaque, their terms of use indicate that Yeti has the ability to store content. As users post images and videos to Yeti, those files presumably go to a server, at which point administrators or programmers could intervene. Photos of nude and partially nude women, often seemingly taken without their awareness and consent, were routine on Yeti, despite the fact that terms of use clearly state: ‘You may not post nude, partially nude, or sexually suggestive photos.’ [31] During our time on Yeti we saw nude photos only of women. While we can’t know for certain, it is hard to believe that not one single user tried to post a Yeet of a dick pic, a practice that has proliferated on other social media apps. Whether content on Yeti is regulated by programming that filters photos or by administrators that approve content, Yeti is a space where women’s bodies are constantly on display and questions of consent are not asked. Many users of Yeti do not ask such questions, as Yeets in the “Smash” genre were routinely among the most liked Yeets. Photos of women from Yeti were also circulated in paratextual representations, including tumblr blogs and Playboy.com articles. While the blogs and articles don’t focus on ‘Smash’ photos, they reveal an assumption of women’s images on Yeti as fair game for distribution, viewership, and in the case of Playboy, profit.

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 Yeti: Campus Stories is advertised as a social networking app meant to allow users to ‘share your photos and videos with your campus’ and see ‘what’s popular around you.’ [32] The view of our campus was dominated by women’s bodies, where images of women’s bodies are a large part of the story of the college experience, a story told without taking privacy and consent into account. This is not to say this story is unchallenged on Yeti. A Yeet featuring a selfie of white man was captioned ‘…respect women you pieces of shit’. Another Yeet, posted in response to a photo of a vase of flowers captioned ‘Best boyfriend ever’, was captioned ‘Finally a yeet that isn’t some tool showing his girl “post smash.”’ At times of frustration, each of us attempted to post Yeets countering sexist narratives on Yeti. Our first few attempts didn’t make it onto Yeti, whether because administrators didn’t approve them or because users immediately downvoted them. However, one of our Yeets was successfully posted on Yeti. The Yeet featured the caption, ‘Just cause a girl agreed to sleep with you, doesn’t mean she agreed to having a post smash photo on yeti’ and was liked just over 600 times.

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 1 While Yeets such as our own, and others, countered the narrative of ‘Post Smash,’ they were few and far between. Still, they indicate that there are users on Yeti willing to challenge the existing sexist climate on Yeti. The likes our Yeet received was similar in number to popular ‘Smash’ Yeets and shows us that there are Yeti users and members of our campus community supportive of a different story of college life; a story that challenges sexism, gender inequality, and rape culture. As digital tools continue to be mobilized in perpetuating and shaping harmful narratives of gender and consent at work in the college party scene, we need to be attuned to the ways digital tools can also be used for intervention. Problems with sexism, masculinity, and sex talk don’t begin or end with an app, but can be countered and contested in digital spaces. In combatting the ongoing epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses, we need to pay attention to, and challenge, digital spaces that perpetuate rape culture. So, we ask all of you to join us on Yeti in disrupting sexist narratives and painting a different picture of campus life. Let’s all be Abominable Feminists.

Endnotes

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 [1] In 2015, Yik Yak was used to make threats against Black students and faculty at the University of Missouri and has been implicated in fostering racism and sexism at a number of college campuses, including the University of Oklahoma, Colgate University, and the University of Texas.

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 [2] Peter Schmidt, “Women’s Groups Urge Colleges and Government to Rein In Yik Yak,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, (October 21, 2015), http://chronicle.com/article/Women-s-Groups-Urge-Colleges/233864.

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 [3] C. J. Pascoe, Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School (University of California Press, 2007).

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 [4] “College Kids Are Posting Their Drunk, Naked Spring Breaks on This Snapchat Clone,” The Daily Dot, accessed January 10, 2016, http://www.dailydot.com/lifestyle/yeti-snapchat-clone-college-party-photos/; Brandon Wenerd, “Move Over, Snapchat: College Kids Are Using An App Called ‘Yeti: Campus Stories’ For Pics Of Sex, Drugs, And Partying,” BroBible, March 26, 2015, http://brobible.com/college/article/yeti-campus-stories-new-snapchat-college/.

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 [5] Jena McGregor, “Snapchat, Sexism and the Reason Women Don’t Stay in Tech,” The Washington Post, May 30, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2014/05/30/snapchat-sexism-and-the-reason-women-dont-stay-in-tech/.

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 [6] “YETI – Campus Stories”, accessed January 10, 2016, http://theyetiapp.com/.

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 [7] Ibid.

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 [8] Jessica Bakemen, “Police ID Man Who Posted Alleged Rape Video to FAMU Social Media Forum,” December 8, 2015, http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/florida/2015/12/8584981/police-id-man-who-posted-alleged-rape-video-famu-social-media-forum.

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 [9] “All the College Drugs and Nudity Are Happening on YETI,” Playboy, accessed November 18, 2015, http://www.playboy.com/articles/yeti-sex-drugs.

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 [10] http://yetigirls.tumblr.com; http://yetibabes.tumblr.com/

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 [11] Claire Cain Miller, “Technology’s Man Problem,” The New York Times, April 5, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/technology/technologys-man-problem.html; “We Know Tech Companies Are Sexist, But This Is Horrifying,” The Huffington Post, accessed December 8, 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/05/silicon-valley-sexist_n_4731151.html; “Sexism In Startups: The Frank Conversation We Need To Be Having,” Forbes, accessed December 8, 2015, http://www.forbes.com/sites/josephsteinberg/2014/09/18/heres-the-conversation-men-need-to-have-about-sexism-as-told-by-a-man/.

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 [12] Dawn Nafus, “‘Patches Don’t Have Gender’: What Is Not Open in Open Source Software,” New Media & Society 14, no. 4 (June 1, 2012): 669–83, doi:10.1177/1461444811422887.

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 [13] As feminists invested in combatting the sexist party culture on our campus, observing Yeti was a difficult task. We had numerous conversations about the ethics of viewing Yeets that violated the privacy and consent of young women featured in photos. Taking field notes allowed us to engage in research to better understand and challenge sexist spaces on Yeti while not promoting the circulation of images of young women taken without their consent.

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 [14] Thomas Vander Ven, Getting Wasted: Why College Students Drink Too Much and Party So Hard, 7.2.2011 edition (New York ; London: NYU Press, 2011).

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 [15] Ibid.

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 [16] Ibid.; Elizabeth A. Armstrong and Laura T. Hamilton, Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2013).

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 [17] Ven, Getting Wasted.

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 [18] Ibid.

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 [19] Armstrong and Hamilton, Paying for the Party; Elizabeth A. Armstrong, Laura Hamilton, and Brian Sweeney, “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Multilevel, Integrative Approach to Party Rape,” Social Problems 53, no. 4 (November 1, 2006): 483–99, doi:10.1525/sp.2006.53.4.483.

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 [20] “Selfie.” Oxford Dictionary. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/selfie.

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 [21] Kath Albury, “Selfies, Sexts, and Sneaky Hats: Young People’s Understandings of Gendered Practices of Self-Representation,” International Journal of Communication 9 (2015): 12.

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 [22] Armstrong and Hamilton, Paying for the Party.

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 [23] Ibid.

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 [24] The name “LadyLair” is a pseudonym. Any references to particular individuals that include specific references have been changed to protect the privacy of Yeti users.

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 [25] Ibid.

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 [26] Elizabeth A. Armstrong et al., “‘Good Girls’ Gender, Social Class, and Slut Discourse on Campus,” Social Psychology Quarterly 77, no. 2 (June 1, 2014): 100–122, doi:10.1177/0190272514521220.

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 [27] Pascoe, Dude, You’re a Fag.

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 [28] “Smash.” Urban Dictionary, accessed January 23, 2016, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=smash.

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 [29] While we similarly have no way of knowing the racial identity of users, a few “Post Smash” Yeets were captioned in racialized ways. One Yeet was captioned “What black dick do to these white girls fty” while another stated, “Results of fucking a black guy. Put that ass to sleep lol”. Our month on Yeti revealed a space dominated by whiteness, and while it is beyond the scope of this paper, further exploration of the construction of race in the digital college party scene is needed.

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 [30] Amy Adele Hasinoff, Sexting Panic: Rethinking Criminalization, Privacy, and Consent, 1st Edition (University of Illinois Press, 2015).

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 [31] “YETI – Campus Stories,” accessed January 10, 2016, http://theyetiapp.com/terms.

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 [32] “Yeti – Campus Stories on the App Store” iTunes. accessed January 10, 2016. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/yeti-campus-stories/id953297702mt=8.

Bibliography

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 Albury, Kath. “Selfies, Sexts, and Sneaky Hats: Young People’s Understandings of Gendered Practices of Self-Representation.” International Journal of Communication 9 (2015): 12.

62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 “All the College Drugs and Nudity Are Happening on YETI.” Playboy. Accessed November 18, 2015. http://www.playboy.com/articles/yeti-sex-drugs.
Armstrong, Elizabeth A., Laura Hamilton, and Brian Sweeney. “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Multilevel, Integrative Approach to Party Rape.” Social Problems 53, no. 4 (November 1, 2006): 483–99. doi:10.1525/sp.2006.53.4.483.

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 Armstrong, Elizabeth A., and Laura T. Hamilton. Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2013.

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 Armstrong, Elizabeth A., Laura T. Hamilton, Elizabeth M. Armstrong, and J. Lotus Seeley. “‘Good Girls’ Gender, Social Class, and Slut Discourse on Campus.” Social Psychology Quarterly 77, no. 2 (June 1, 2014): 100–122. doi:10.1177/0190272514521220.

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 Bakemen, Jessica. “Police ID Man Who Posted Alleged Rape Video to FAMU Social Media Forum,” December 8, 2015. http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/florida/2015/12/8584981/police-id-man-who-posted-alleged-rape-video-famu-social-media-forum.

66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 “College Kids Are Posting Their Drunk, Naked Spring Breaks on This Snapchat Clone.” The Daily Dot. Accessed January 10, 2016. http://www.dailydot.com/lifestyle/yeti-snapchat-clone-college-party-photos/.

67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 Hasinoff, Amy Adele. Sexting Panic: Rethinking Criminalization, Privacy, and Consent. 1st Edition edition. University of Illinois Press, 2015.

68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 McGregor, Jena. “Snapchat, Sexism and the Reason Women Don’t Stay in Tech.” The Washington Post, May 30, 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2014/05/30/snapchat-sexism-and-the-reason-women-dont-stay-in-tech/.

69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 Miller, Claire Cain. “Technology’s Man Problem.” The New York Times, April 5, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/technology/technologys-man-problem.html.

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 Nafus, Dawn. “‘Patches Don’t Have Gender’: What Is Not Open in Open Source Software.” New Media & Society 14, no. 4 (June 1, 2012): 669–83. doi:10.1177/1461444811422887.

71 Leave a comment on paragraph 71 0 Pascoe, C. J. Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School. University of California Press, 2007.

72 Leave a comment on paragraph 72 0 Peter Schmidt. “Women’s Groups Urge Colleges and Government to Rein In Yik Yak.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 21, 2015. http://chronicle.com/article/Women-s-Groups-Urge-Colleges/233864.

73 Leave a comment on paragraph 73 0 “Sexism In Startups: The Frank Conversation We Need To Be Having.” Forbes. Accessed December 8, 2015. http://www.forbes.com/sites/josephsteinberg/2014/09/18/heres-the-conversation-men-need-to-have-about-sexism-as-told-by-a-man/.

74 Leave a comment on paragraph 74 0 Ven, Thomas Vander. Getting Wasted: Why College Students Drink Too Much and Party So Hard. 7.2.2011 edition. New York ; London: NYU Press, 2011.

75 Leave a comment on paragraph 75 0 “We Know Tech Companies Are Sexist, But This Is Horrifying.” The Huffington Post. Accessed December 8, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/05/silicon-valley-sexist_n_4731151.html.

76 Leave a comment on paragraph 76 0 Wenerd, Brandon. “Move Over, Snapchat: College Kids Are Using An App Called ‘Yeti: Campus Stories’ For Pics Of Sex, Drugs, And Partying.” BroBible, March 26, 2015. http://brobible.com/college/article/yeti-campus-stories-new-snapchat-college/.

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Source: http://adareview.fembotcollective.org/ada-issue-10-open-issue/lets-be-abominable-feminists-yeti-campus-stories-and-countering-sexism-in-the-digital-college-party-scene/