To test this theory - and it should be noted that Reed started the project optimistically, sure that she'd be proved wrong - she set up a profile of a woman so awful, you'd stage an intervention if she went out with one of your mates.
The profile Alli Reed set up
In the column, Reed writes: "The optimist in me wanted to believe that there was a limit. Maybe there was a woman so awful, so toxic, so irredeemably unlikeable that no one would message her, or if they did, at least they would realize they never, ever wanted to meet her.
"In making this profile, I made sure my creation touched on every major facet of being truly horrible: mean, spoiled, lazy, racist, manipulative, and willfully ignorant, and I threw in a little gold digging just for funzies."
Here's the profile she posted, along with a picture of her friend Rae, who works as a model:
Pretty ghastly, right?
Reed expected little to no messages; instead she got 150 messages in 24 hours.
She then decided to ramp up the experiment by trying three tactics: being really awful, telling them she'd ruin their lives and talking utter nonsense.
That didn't deter the men either. After replying to one guy saying "People will give you whatever you want if they think you are pregnant", he still wanted to meet up.
Even after writing drivel about beanie babies, men asked her if she was a virgin and how many times she'd like to have sex.
Reed concluded: "...I could extrapolate from my data that men have been so deeply socialized to value women solely on their appearance that many of them seem unable to take any other aspect of who she is, such as intelligence or capacity for self-reflection or suffocating douchiness, into account.
But rather than follow these results into the darkness, I'll stay optimistic and instead offer an impassioned plea. Men of the world: You are better than this. I know many of you would never message AaronCarterFan, but many of you would, and a whole bunch of you did. You don't want someone who will pull out your teeth and then sue you for child support; you deserve someone who will make you want to be better than you are, and will want to be better because of you."
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