According to a study made by researchers Olivia Foster-Gimbel and Renee Engeln, from the American Psychology Association, one-third of the gay men they surveyed reported experiencing “anti-fat bias”—even among those who weren’t classified as overweight by the Body Mass Index. In the ’90s sitcom Will and Grace, there’s an old joke that men could be considered skinny by straight standards but labelled fat among their gay peers. It’s an idea so prevalent in the gay community that the hook-up app Grindr made it a commandment: No Fats.
Gay men face enormous pressure to fit into a very narrow view of beauty—often defined on hook- up apps like Grindr and Scruff by the groups they leave out: “No Fats, No Femmes.”
These politics of exclusion leave many feeling left out of a community that, after coming out, they hoped would embrace them. This project is a demographic experiment through Grind where the artist, Daniel Franco, started a journey through the profiles they found near-by their home and their workspace in Mexico City, focusing on the ones that in the brief description – where the app suggests adding useful information about yourself – the individuals behind the profiles decided to add specific characteristics of what they’re (physically) looking for in a partner by using, mainly, a violent language. This experiment, carried out for several days and times, quickly became a symptom of what the before mentioned researchers have put into words. From misogynistic comments to body shamming and transphobia, these virtual interactions have created a bubble of intolerance inside a community that was created to build a safe space. Toxic masculinity within the gay community is nothing new, but it’s certainly something we should be approaching in order to reclaim these virtual spaces as safe spaces. This project aims to give visibility to a current situation while breaking the filter bubble of language and geolocation by bringing to isthisit? a look into Mexico City’s Grindr interactions. In an attempt to empower the community to tell their stories and create a virtual resistance, Daniel asks the audience to send their toxic masculinity interactions inside Grindr in order to build a global database that will help develop the future stages of this project.