“Do You Think This Culture Is Misogynistic?”

Posted By Women

““Do you think this culture is misogynistic?” he asks lightly.”

After this line I became enraged, and then quickly disinterested; this is a quote from a (so-not-my-type) New York business man in the Vanity Fair article that sent Tinder on a 4 hour Twitter rampage.

The story by Nancy Jo Sales was focused on the less than groundbreaking idea that Tinder is ruining relationships and leading to a doomed dating world that we can never recover from; that essentially this one dating app is taking down an entire generation and the world. Okay maybe it’s not that dramatic, but seriously, can we talk about something else? Having said that, I am going to talk about it, or write about it, and explain why the aforementioned quote made me lose interest in the article.

First, let me start by saying I have used Tinder on and off for like 2 years (… maybe 3…). Mostly swiping on boys, I’ve seen the dick pics, had the “roses are red, violets are blue, sit on my face while you wiggle your hips” opening line (seriously), and actually met some genuinely nice people who I’ve spent time talking to/actually spent time WITH via this weird dating app. Beyond the Tinder/Twitter shit-storm though, why this article caught my attention was because of something that happened this very weekend, with none other than my Muddy Mary/Temperance ladies.

Coincidentally, Tinder was a big topic of conversation this past rehearsal weekend with the Finding Temperance crew, and I found myself the expert (which I will not be shamed for no matter WHAT this article says) because I was the most frequent user. Coincidentally yet AGAIN, I had sent one of my most risqué, forward, and outside myself messages at a PREVIOUS Temperance rehearsal weekend. This message was sent to a boy I actually knew. Well, sort of. I had creeped on him in several of my university history classes and never said anything. Then alas! We were a match on Tinder!!! I couldn’t let this opportunity slip me by, so I started the conversation. I am too embarrassed to publically admit what I wrote to him, but it was forward with a capital F. Which is besides the point. The point IS, we spent that night and several more talking, exchanging numbers and then even texting (mostly drunk, if I’m honest).

Okay, so fast forward to this last weekend: I board the Greyhound bus, settle into my seat and am chatting away… when I look forward and who is RIGHT in front of me but HISTORY CLASS TINDER BOY! I go 168369 shades of red, my heart is beating out of my chest, and I immediately think: “oooooohhhh no I don’t look anything like my Tinder picture right now,” temporarily forgetting that he has actually seen me in person several times throughout my university career. So anyways, there I sit, 3 cm from this guy, and I say nothing. Finally, we arrive in Toronto after what feels like hours, and I avoid him at all costs. Clearly he is doing the same.

That night I receive a Tinder message: “awkwardly saw you on the bus today…haha.”

Then we proceed to chat about how we “have to meet up for real”/“maybe one day we will talk in real life”/blah blah blah. Less than 12 hours ago we were trapped together for 1.5 hours, 3 cm apart, and didn’t even say hi. Now we are having a full on conversation about work and life and apartment hunting. THIS is why the Vanity Fair article caught my eye; because of this dichotomy of the online self vs. the real self… being so concerned that you won’t look as good as your Tinder pic, or that you won’t live up to your carefully crafted witty description.

I don’t have a problem with meeting people on Tinder — how is it any different than scanning the crowd in a bar? (Except maybe you have more control as either gender, which I’ll get to in a second) What I do find scary is that we spend so much time working on our online selves that we are SO awkward as our real selves. Or I am at least, and so was this guy. We can’t be the only two. This concept is what I thought the article was going to focus on… how Tinder is making us lose confidence in real life. Because I would argue it’s a fine jumping off point, as long as you can navigate the transition to IRL meeting and talking, which is apparently really difficult for me. BUT THAT WAS NOT WHAT THE ARTICLE WAS ABOUT.

**Disclaimer; I skimmed the majority of the article because it got me so annoyed with that misogynistic line, so some of what’s mentioned below is assumption and not based on actual fact from said article, but just go with it okay? Okay.**

The article opens with these douchey (sorry for being judgey) New York Wall Street dudes talking about how they use Tinder to sleep with tons of women and yadda yadda yadda. And honestly it’s not them I have the problem with, they are free to use Tinder for hook ups (granted they are consensual and a good time for both parties involved)… that is mostly Tinder’s purpose. What makes me mad is that Nancy Jo decided to – of course – start her article with a male perspective, and then bring in the female perspective as a weak, emotional comparison.

““Do you think this culture is misogynistic?” he asks lightly.”

To answer your question, New York Businessprick #2, YES our culture as a whole IS misogynistic STILL… but it’s not Tinder making it that way. It’s the way you are talking about it (and a bazillion other things) that is making it that way.

In my eyes, Tinder is a great equalizer (granted a mostly superficial one). You can put in your age preference, your gender preference, whether or not you’re looking for a threesome, if you want friend, a hook up, WHATEVER. To me, it’s a pretty safe space. I know some people will think I am nuts for saying that, but you can block and report creeps, and YOU decide… male or female or gay or bi or whatever… YOU decide who you want to talk to and where it goes from there. So do not take my agency away, New Yorker #2 and Nancy, by saying that these guys hooking up with these girls are the ones controlling the situation. How do YOU know these girls didn’t feel the same way? Why is that the assumption we always jump to first… that hookup culture is exclusively male? How can we STILL think this way?

“…the extreme casualness of sex in the age of Tinder leaves many women feeling de-valued. It’s rare for a woman of our generation to meet a man who treats her like a priority instead of an option”

Another gem from the article…

Look, I am not saying women are not constantly made to feel devalued. I am NOT saying that double standards don’t exist, and that there isn’t still a prevalent trend that exists where men feel entitled to use women. I am not saying that for every 2 nice messages you receive you don’t get 20 saying something perverse and unwanted. All of this is very true, BUT if we keep making stories like this instantly from a male perspective… if we keep presenting articles about how a man is taking control of woman, we are only going to SERVE misogyny. If we aren’t acknowledging that women are taking agency of their own relationships, and sex lives, and bodies, and using things like Tinder as an equalizing tool, then we do a disservice.

I don’t doubt that I have probably made some grand sweeping claims based on misinformation – but that one line right near the beginning of the article really bothered me. My tired train eyes and coffee craving brain were angered by the slant of this article. Yes, it’s Tinder. It is not the most important topic by any stretch, but it’s out there, and it’s being talked about, and it’s once again placing the strength on the side of the male, and the (seemingly weak) emotion on the side of the female. And finally, Nancy Jo, who are YOU to tell me what a healthy dating relationship is? What, are we supposed to go back to PINNING girls because that was somehow more respectful than meeting up for casual (yet consensual) sex?

Yes, Tinder has its problems. And yes, our culture is definitely misogynistic, but let’s start speaking AGAINST it, not pandering to it.

Jackie