Is There A Double Standard that Lets Women Love @hotdudesreading?

Another week, another ‘thing’ to take up space on the Internet. An Instagram account, @hotdudesreading, is all anyone seems to want to talk about.

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The account does pretty much what it says on the tin: it’s photos of attractive men on the subway reading books. Some of the men are impeccably dressed. Others are trendily hirsute or faux-shambolic. They all seem oblivious to the camera as they are all deeply focused on their books, unaware of the lustful glances being hurled at them.

Some of the comments are hilarious. “This brawny bookworm is too preoccupied with Poe to notice the rumbling of a passing train, or the beating of my tell-tale heart,” reads one. Another is “Ahoy handsome! Just caught a glimpse of this elusive beauty reading Moby Dick in the crowded waters of the L train. There may be other fish in the sea, but this white whale has me hooked.”


At present there are only 14 photos but the account has an incredible 150,000 followers. Okay, so it’s funny, and probably harmless, but I’m going to go ahead and ask the question anyway? Isn’t it sort of creepy? If there was an Instagram feed called Hot Chicks Reading — that had candid photos of women posted without their consent — would it be seen as funny?

There’s already a Tumblr site dedicated to women eating on the London Underground; it’s been rightly criticised as voyeuristic, creepy and sexist.

I’m waiting for someone living in Japan to send @hotdudesreading a photo of a respectable buisnessman reading porn on the Tokyo subway.


Also, I notice from some of the photos that the nasty habit of manspreading — which everyone was complaining about just a short while ago — is mysteriously not being remarked on.

Niall McArdle

A shorter version appeared at

5 thoughts on “Is There A Double Standard that Lets Women Love @hotdudesreading?

  1. I’m pro hot dudes reading and being considerate in public transportation. However, posting photos without consent is lame (illegal?), as well as creating a campaign that tackles the way people sit. I can hardly imagine that a man sitting can wreak havoc. Just ask him to scoot over and be done with it!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. well, yes, i did. but i’m not posting the photo because i think it’s cool or whatever :0 and i appreciate that people are turned on by an attractive person reading … it’s partly why i never leave the house without a book, and i find the sight of a woman reading very sexy (depending on the book, of course). But I wouldn’t take a photo of her and upload it to the Net. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. good point. i’d be curious to know who runs the instagram account and how old she is. is she a college kid or is she a grown-up? as you say, these days, who knows? and at least 150,000 people (presumably mostly women and some gay men) are following the account, and they all think it’s delightful. and i do think it’s sort of funny, and i at least appreciate the literary references in the comments. let’s just see what people think when the inevitable parodies appear.


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