Illustrations Expose Creepy Messages Women Receive From Strangers on Dating Sites

September 27th 2016

Laura Donovan

Online dating can lead to rewarding and happy relationships, but it can also be a hub for harassment. A Canada-based artist knows this all too well and has channeled some of the inappropriate messages she's received into detailed illustrations on Instagram.

Emmie Tsumura Twitter

Toronto artist Emmie Tsumura told Huffington Post that she began making her online dating illustrations after someone sent her an outrageous message on a dating platform.

Tsumura put the illustrations on her Instagram page @ok_cucumber, which has a hefty following of nearly 5,000 users, showing the messages she has received, along with rough sketches of the men who sent them to her.

One image shows the racially insensitive message from a man who pressed her on her Japanese roots:

Others have also felt compelled to refer to her ethnicity.

She has also received a lot of messages that are sexually aggressive.


A photo posted by Emmie Tsumura (@ok_cucumber) on

She has also been critiqued for her smile — or perceived lack thereof — like a number of women.

“Some messages are generic, but others give a glimpse into how the world frames each person in a certain way, based on different things,” Tsumura told HuffPost. “As the project evolved, talking about the intersections of identity, technology, and communication became a clearer goal for me.”

Online dating has been particularly stressful for Tsumura because people have fetishized her Asian background, Tsumura wrote in xoJane. She wanted to document the absurd messages by drawing the men who sent them.

Tsumura's intention wasn't to embarrass anyone, but rather to humanize the men by illustrating their distinct features:

"Using illustration was also way of creating distance between the work and the real men who sent them. I didn't want to out anyone or humiliate anyone; I wanted to re-create them as characters on a search for human connection online — ones that we could relate to, or that we couldn't relate to, but had encountered along the way. In kind of a flip, my hope was that by translating profile photos into illustrations, we might spend more time with them, and they would actually become more real, more human, and less like products that we are browsing or shopping for."

[H/T Huffington Post]