Examples of catfish
Examples of catfish
Where does catfish come from?
The 2010 documentary Catfish, directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman about a young man getting romantically duped by a woman with a fake Facebook profile, takes its name from a tale long told about catfish—that fishers would ship catfish with codfish because they would keep the latter alert, active, and better tasting.
That fishy story originates as a kind of Christian parable recorded by the early 1900s, but the documentary popularized catfish as a metaphor for a person who seduces another with a fake profile, pretending to be someone more attractive, successful, interesting, or sympathetic—keeping the seduced “on their toes” like codfish swimming with catfish. This is what happened to the subject of Catfish, Nev Schulman, who discovers that the woman he developed an online relationship had completely made up her profile.
The documentary spawned MTV’s reality show Catfish: The TV Show in November 2012, co-hosted by Nev Schulman. It follows people in online relationships, seeking to find out if they are getting catfished.
Catfish rose to prominence in 2013 when University of Notre Dame star football player Manti Te’o found himself catfished by a man pretending to be his late girlfriend. The term further grew thanks to the spread of social media and online dating in the 2010s.
There are a number of motivations for the practice of catfishing, including financial gain, cyberbullying, identity exploration, and crime-fighting.
Who uses catfish?
Catfish can be a noun or a verb, with the impersonator sometimes called the catfish.
While early uses of the term centered on people creating false identities through fake accounts, the term has broadened to anyone who misleadingly present themselves online as better in some way than they really are in real life, often their looks or success. This—milder if widespread practice, as you’ll well know if you’ve ever been on Tinder or anywhere on social media for that matter—is sometimes called kittenfishing. Catfish. Kittenfish. Get it?
I hate when people use their prom pics for everything. You were that cute ONE time. You are a catfish.
— #FreeJT (@atlanta_doll) December 17, 2015