Artist and musician Mia Matsumiya has become well-loved by her fans throughout her career and as she traversed through various social media outlets (from MySpace to Instagram). However, beyond any fan mail she may have received, she has been the recipient of violent, demeaning, patriarchal, sexually explicit, and abusive messages for all 10 of those years. In fact, as Mia told Buzzfeed, she found it cathartic to create a folder on her computer desktop, which she labelled “creepiness,” in order to store that information for later. It turns out after 1,000 disturbing messages, later is now. Enter the medium and the canvas: Instagram. Having just passed 400 million monthly active users, this social media outlet sees 80 million photos shared per day (and notably is preferred by teens today to Twitter and Snapchat).
What was the push behind Mia’s empowering and inspiring passion? “I didn’t deserve to be treated this way and neither did other women. I decided I needed to do something about it, so I created the Instagram account.” This Instagram account is aptly named: @perv_magnet – and is startlingly illuminating, although if you’re a woman reading this article you are most likely not surprised in the least. Mia’s poignant curation of this space brings an important aspect of today’s rape culture into perspective – the virtual realm is no more safe than our everyday streets. In fact, it seems to elucidate even more vile and violent responses from one hiding within this amorphous cyberspace, ready to pounce like the sexual predator they are.
Below we have compiled just 10 of the current 76 posts to Mia’s @perv-magnet museum (serious Trigger Warning), which currently has 55.5 thousand followers – and counting. We believe the great interest and buzz around this topic, speaks volumes about the importance of giving women a safe space to express themselves – which truly resonates with our own greater mission at Wear Your Voice as well as our current campaign to empower and affirm women’s experiences, #KillTheSilence.
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In 2008, I played a show in Germany with my band. A creepy guy with crazy eyes kept following me around asking me for my "autograph" and a kiss. I tried to hide, but security wasn't good and he ended up cornering me, demanding I sign his forearm. I did it out of fear, and then the next day, he sent me this picture of him pretending to cut up my signature on his arm with a pair of scissors. 😱 #scary #pervmagnet #weirdo #stalker #crazy
As you can see from the examples above, a number of the messages are racially-charged, referring to the fact that Matsumiya is Asian. Her height has also been a factor. “Being 4’9″, Asian American and a musical performer has sort of been a nightmare combination when it comes to harassment,” Matsumiya said in an interview with the Huffington Post. She also cited with them that the responses to her account have been mostly positive, with women using it as a platform to discuss their own experiences, and men expressing disbelief that other men have treated her like this.
Mia does, however, note the flip side of this reality: “On the other side of the coin, there are people who think I started this account in order to brag about how many ‘compliments’ I get. 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.”