Tube Crush - the site where people post pictures of 'cute' men on the London Underground - has been around for a while, but has come under scrutiny following the backlash against Women Who Eat On Tubes.
For those of you unaware as to what the latter is, it's a Facebook group set up by Tony Burke where users would post pictures of random women eating. It came under fire for objectifying women and shaming them.
Here are some of the tweets that could be seen as objectifying for Tube Crush:
— HarryG (@harrygeorge90) May 1, 2014
— Dharmoncé (@DharmenParekh) May 1, 2014
— FitLadsYou'vePapped (@FLYPapped) May 1, 2014
The Telegraph's Radhika Sanghani wrote a feature about the growing furore around Tube Crush - the site encourages people to take pictures of strangers and send them in - and came to the conclusion that men didn't actually care being perved on.
However she writes: "The blog hosts photos of these attractive men, who often have no idea they’re on there, and asks users to give the picture a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ and rate how hot they are. If we were doing the same for women, I’m sure hordes would be up in arms about the blatant objectification."
We asked our HuffPost UK male bloggers for their thoughts.
Blogger, model and presenter John Mason, who writes about male body image, said: "Tube Crush walks a fine line between what could be perceived as either objectification or celebration of the male form. For me, its more a celebration. Its nice to see men, in all their early morning, un-photoshopped glory being appreciated for the way they look."
One of the key points of difference between Tube Crush and Women Who Eat On Tubes is that the latter received spiteful, derogatory comments about the women featured. Tube Crush doesn't have the same problem.
"The site only allows positive comments," adds John, "and the subjects themselves tend to wear it like a badge of honour. This suggests its more about embracing male beauty in all its forms and celebrating our differences and what makes each man attractive in their own right. I personally, would be chuffed if I discovered myself on the site."
However dating blogger The Guyliner disagrees. "I have never been comfortable with the idea of taking pictures of strangers on public transport – even for Tube Crush, which claims to celebrate good-looking men. Maybe they don't want to be leered over by a bunch of people who have a skewed sense of appropriateness.
"A year or so ago, I saw a man very obviously taking a picture of me while I was on the Tube. I didn't challenge him, so have no idea what his game was. Did he want to fantasise about me? Or maybe shame me? Did he think I was hot, ugly, stupid, dressed badly (I had shorts on, and there was a bit of a breeze outside), too fat, too thin – I'd never know. And even though it was something as innocuous as someone pointing their phone at me and pressing a button, I still think about it now and it makes me queasy."
Nick Clements, author and blogger points out a more worrying aspect of Tube Crush. Namely, the utter lack of diversity.
"My main concern was not for any of those men featured, they all seem quite capable of handling a bit of ogling by strange men and women, but for those who didn't appear. No representatives of ethnic minorities, no Asians, no Afro-Caribbeans, maybe this was just who was travelling today, but it was a bit disconcerting.
"Objectifies men? Don't think so, I can imagine some people could be offended by the intrusion into their space. But quite welcoming images of 'ordinary' men being featured and celebrated, not impossibly altered models."
Below was a tweet to echo this sentiment:
Aside from anything else, this misses/avoids the barely-concealed racism found on Tubecrush http://t.co/RIzbe3sFy2
— How Upsetting (@How_Upsetting) May 8, 2014
Sanghani finishes by asking what may happen if someone decides to set up a women's Tube Crush. "Sadly, I think that could be the point when objectification starts really becoming a problem, not just for observers like me, but for the women who have been Tube Crushed."
We're not sure we agree. Tube Crush, Women Who Eat On Tubes, heck, even Donkeys Who Bray On Tubes - this hints at a wider issue. Whether or not it is objectifying men or women, the key issue here seems to be that taking pictures of random strangers and posting them online is just not okay.
As The Guyliner says: "It isn't for me to say whether Tubecrush objectifies men, because it depends on how the men featured feel. All I know is that encouraging us all to be gonzo-style photographers snapping perfect strangers makes me feel gross. I may overshare on the internet and post endless pictures of my day-to-day life, but that sharing is on my terms. By taking a pic of me online and sharing it, you're taking that away from me – and I am not yours to take.
Earlier on HuffPost:
Suggested For You
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more