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'Rinsing': Is The New Social Media Trend Exploiting Vulnerable Men?

DailyMail
Three sisters have hit headlines for acquiring over £75,000 in gifts from men they have met online, all seemingly for nothing untoward in exchange. This so-called 'art' of getting gifts from men and promising nothing sexual in return has earned the nickname 'rinsing' - where men lavish gifts upon their online idols without ever being able to meet them in person.

Lucy, 28, Sophie, 26, and Stacie Brooks, 25, from St Albans, have revealed the secrets of their luxurious lifestyles. They claim that they have received laptops, iPads, clothes, jewellery and even furniture from their admirers as a result of their online 'wishlists' - Amazon pages filled with items the girls desire that their fans can choose to purchase for them. Each sister highlights a link to their wishlist in their Twitter bio, and prompt these purchases more than 'likes' or re-tweets.

Lucy received her first gift in 2010 when she started sharing pouty selfies on her Twitter account @lucy_anne. She said: 'It all started quite innocently. Someone sent a bottle of Marc Jacobs perfume.
'Then more men asked if they could treat me. Some asked if I had a wishlist on Amazon. I thought, ‘why not?’ I won’t lie, I want a nice life.' She has now racked up a hefty 95,000 followers on Twitter.

The online trend is not a new one; first receiving its début back in 2012 on the Channel 4 documentary 'Sex, Lies and Rinsing Guys', which reported on three women who deploy their womanly charms to coerce men into buying them gifts. The women were brazenly derogatory about the men and how easy it is to effectively exploit them. Even back then social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook were said to play a big part in the idea: one of the girls featured - Danica Thrall - suggested that her constant posts on Twitter were engaging her fans and inciting them further to make expensive purchases.

HelloU
As shown on the show, these girls often acquire a fan base through digital or television live chat with viewers. This is the case with at least 2 of the 3 sisters who have been mentioned in the news of late. Even so, this still begs the question as to what kind of men are really desperate to buy gifts for these so-called 'muses'. Some have claimed that these men are obviously vulnerable, and that for women to extract money and presents from them is, in no uncertain terms, exploitative. However, others say that these men are more than willing to spend their cash on them in order to simply grab their online crush's attention or, more innocently, make them happy.

There's likely two different types of men who choose to gift these glamorous women. Those who genuinely do want to make them happy, and those who want something in return. However, the girls involved remain insistent that the latter is never going to happen. One of the sisters said: "Some want to chat. I flirt, but there is a line they can’t cross. I never give the impression we’ll do anything but talk. I spoke to one man after his wife had died. He said I helped him through a tough time. He insisted on buying Vivienne ­Westwood bags and shoes. It made him feel good."

The trio believe that their success on social media with these generous men is the respect they show, unlike those seen in the Channel 4 documentary. However, the girls have revealed that its not all sunshine and roses, as living your life out online can pose a security risk. One overly zealous fan who attempted to approach the girls in person at their salon caused them to call the police and impose a retraining order against him.

The concept of 'rinsing' cannot really be defined as exploitative if these girls are upfront and honest that these gifts will not award any other recompense than gratitude. However, they definitely play a role in manufacturing an illusion that they are in some way obtainable, and that these gifts are an attention-grabber on the road to that - potentially a dangerous game if the men involved cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality. As one rinser put it: 'I'm not doing anything wrong, I'm not breaking any laws. If people are going to fall for it it's their problem... They're stupid.' I have to admit, they're right. If the men who gift these online figures choose to do so under the premise of mutual benefit and a potential for more, then they have got the wrong end of the stick - they might be used to doing so, but so-called 'rinsers' aren't about to give up the goods. 



SMF rookie, fresh out of academia, looking forward to more creative ventures. With a love of current affairs, green tea and an ever insatiable wanderlust, Katie is ready to have her voice heard. Follow her @KatieAtSMF


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'Rinsing': Is The New Social Media Trend Exploiting Vulnerable Men? Reviewed by Katie Gascoyne on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 Rating: 5

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