Bye Felipe: A Place to Publicly Shame Rude Men

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Photo: Illustration. Photo: Everetty Collection

A Felicia is a “random bitch that nobody is sad to see go,” according to Urban Dictionary. The name belongs to Ice Cube’s neighbor in Friday, who tries to borrow his car or some weed. “Bye, Felicia,” he says, without making eye contact.

Bye-ing Felicias became the meme of choice for dismissing someone in an online conversation, and today it is a pejorative so popular that one Chick-fil-A manager tried to ban his employees from using it. (“There is nobody here named Felicia,” the memo said.)

But persistence in spite of undesirability is not a uniquely female trait, and nowhere is that more apparent than in online dating. In October, a secret Facebook group of women in L.A. decided they needed a male equivalent of Felicia to describe the men who expressed interest in them, only to turn hostile when they politely declined or ignored them. They settled on Felipe, and started an Instagram account where they could collect screen caps of Felipes in action and laugh at them. Now, it has 278,000 followers. The Cut talked to founder Alexandra Tweten, 27.

Does one dating site stand out as particularly lousy with Felipes?
They’re pretty evenly spread out across the board. Plenty of Fish, Tinder and OKCupid, plus a lot of crazy Facebook messages — even messages from people they’re not friends with, in their “other” inbox. Guys are sending them to girls who are already married or have boyfriends. I get text-message submissions, basically anything online. That’s not even counting the unsolicited dick pics. I’ve been posting them in Bye Felipe too. I consider unsolicited dick pics to be sexual harassment and definitely hostile. It’s basically like flashing people in public. It’s the same thing but on your phone.

Have you gotten any submissions that are women lashing out at men?
I think I’ve maybe gotten one. And I have gotten some submissions from gay men. I’m thinking about posting those. But it’s not like comparing apples to apples, when you look at the dynamics of power in society. Straight men don’t walk around in public being afraid that women are going to beat them up or catcall them. They don’t fear for their safety every day, just being in public. It’s sort of an immortalized version of catcalling, a documented version of what we see every day.

Are guys lashing out at you for calling them out for lashing out at women?
I’ve gotten a few angry messages in my inbox or on Facebook, but they’ve mostly been asking, Why are you making us feel bad? There are crazy girls, too. I’ve been accused of hating men. There are some guys who troll the comments on the Instagram account; I just don’t have time to police it. It blew up so fast.

Have any of the Felipes themselves contacted you?
I’ve gotten some messages from guys whose pictures were up that were really angry. I don’t technically know the legality of it, so I took their pictures down. But I told them, “I will take your picture down but only because I think you’ve learned a very important lesson and I hope you don’t message anybody else in this manner.”

Do the submissions ever stop being funny and become scary?
A few. The women that send them are like, Oh it’s okay now because I have a restraining order against him. With a normal hostile guy, you can block him and report his account. You usually don’t have to deal with him again. But I have heard of men starting other accounts. One submission said she blocked a guy and he messaged her again twice from two other accounts. Then I heard from at least three other women after I posted it, recognizing the guy, saying he’s messaged them too. That really creeps me out.

Do you have an explanation for the Felipe phenomenon?
I wanted to start a conversation about the entitlement that a lot of men feel they have. It’s definitely not all men. But the ones who send these insane messages need to be called out and publicly shamed. I don’t think normal guys have any idea it’s going on. They never have to deal with it and unless we post them they never see it. Not all men send these messages, but every woman online has received something like this. Plus, people in relationships don’t realize what it’s like being single online.

I have Tinder and an OKCupid account. I get that online dating is really annoying for both genders, and that guys usually have to message hundreds of girls in order to get a response from people. But I think if they targeted the people they’re messaging … I don’t think it’d be that hard. Instead, it’s just: Hey ... hey there … wanna hook up? ... hey bitch, when i talk to you answer. Like, You need to acknowledge me, and I deserve to be spoken to and it doesn’t matter who you are, if you don't have time, if you’re not interested. I ... can’t. I don’t even know.

It’s not like these guys put much work into the overtures they’re so upset about.
I think a lot of these guys just need to look at themselves and ask, Why is it that people aren’t responding to me? Maybe I need to work on myself. I’m hoping that message gets across.