A Feminist on Tinder
By Diana Matthews
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap]t was Saturday morning. I was swiping left, swiping right, swiping left. And left. And left.
Three very short weeks had passed since I'd packed up land moved to NYC and a big part of meeting new people in the city meant treading into the inevitable: Internet dating.
This wasn't my first foray into the adventure of finding online romance. But when I signed up for Tinder, it felt like a new low.
"Everyone is doing it, honestly, you just have to if you hope to go on any dates in New York," I was told by a friend as she scrolled through my photos, trying to decide which of the few selfies on my phone was best to use for my profile.
"This one," she said. "You look so blonde!"
That's the thing with Tinder, its M.O. is hookups and first dates, the most casual of casual dating you can find. Sure, some people have found love after swiping through the hoards (these people are affectionately known as Tinderellas) but for the most part, love doesn't factor into creating a "match."[divider type="short" spacing="10"]
But there I was, sitting with my coffee, passively swiping right and left. I matched with a guy and he messaged me immediately. We started chatting about breakfast food (the start of all great romances). We weren't 5 messages deep when he writes, "how would you like to bring me coffee in bed?"
He had been kind of funny so, giving him the benefit of the doubt, I asked if he was serious to which he replied that yes, he was.
A bolt of anger ran through me and I jumped off the couch and refilled my coffee, sipping bitterly, frustrated that THIS was how I was starting my day. A few minutes later, my phone lit up. Him again.
"Admit it, you're thinking about it ;)"
I began to type a message, telling him off. But instead, I just unmatched him so he couldn't contact me again.
I was faced with a question many other women have asked in similar circumstances; is this seriously what I have to put up with to get a date?
And then a bigger question entered my brain: can you find success on Tinder as a feminist?
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm sure plenty of feminist men and women have fun and find fulfillment on the Tinder. But for me, it quickly undermined and threw into question just how strongly I held my values.[divider type="dotted" spacing="10"]
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]T[/dropcap]he expectations are different on Tinder. There are countless social media accounts and blogs dedicated to documenting the misogynistic and disrespectful comments made on the app. The level of masculine and aggressive energy is intense, and something I wasn't prepared for. While I have and continue to go on dates, I can't help but wonder if any of it will ever lead to a truly deep connection with a guy.
I visited my best friend in Nashville and she wanted to know how Tinder was going. After an exasperated sigh and a swig of wine, I complained that I'm not meeting anyone I really click with. I talked about all the incredible women I've met through Dream, Girl, whether it be at screenings, networking groups, or our screening hosts that I interact with every day. I feel like myself in these spaces, connecting and chatting with like-minded people. Granted, a date is a different environment than a networking event. But when I've met with guys from Tinder, something changes in me, I become more closed off and uncertain, it’s a visceral reaction.
My friend pointed out, "You're meeting these women through something you absolutely love that is profoundly connected to your identity. You're meeting guys on a free app that a monkey could create a profile on."[divider type="short" spacing="10"]
A significant point, and one that speaks directly to why the judgment on Tinder makes me feel so uncomfortable.
I don't do surface level. I'm a deeply intentional, decisive and loving person. When you're in my heart, you're in. And when the connection isn’t there, I'm quick to make the decision to step away. I've always been like this, and if there's one thing I'm learning it's that Tinder and casual dating does not favour impatience.
Many of my friends have told me I’m taking it too seriously and that getting very clear about what I want will help me save time and meet better matches. And to be honest, it’s been fun to meet new people and get out and about in the city.
But my introvert is starting to kick in and the endless first dates, drinks and online small-talk is exhausting, rather than fulfilling. I crave connection, depth, and above all else, butterflies potentially fluttering toward commitment.
It may be as simple as saying, “It’s not for me.” But something about the single millennial woman experience calls for the inclusion of internet dating. In short, I feel like I should be doing it (a sure sign I probably shouldn’t be).
[divider type="dashed" spacing="10"] CTA: I want to hear from the Feminist Wednesday community about your online dating experiences (and nightmares!) Submit your articles or reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org