After this semester, I feel like I have learned a lot about online dating.
I’ve learned that there are a lot of people will special interests out there looking for love. I’ve learned that online dating is actually super awesome for these people because its allowed them to connect in a way they couldn't before. Online dating can help spread ideas, interests and stories every day that help people feel like their not alone.
I’ve also continued to learn meeting people online always has an element of risk to it. People need to watch out for the ones they love and keep track of each other.
I’ve also finally learned that there is still SO much to look into! This online dating world is still full of so much more for people like me to explore. There are so many more stories to hear and people to meet.
I will post my bibliography onto this post as a file so you can continue to read and research.
Thanks for following along this semester!
After my semester of research on this topic of online dating and apps, I feel like it is important that I leave you in one of my final posts with some context about the dangers of online dating. As for dating in general, the safety of all persons- any gender, age or identity- is crucial and needs to be acknowledged.
With the accessibility of online dating also brings about new dangers and risks. Before you begin dating online, it is important to remember these things as they apply to all subcultures and identities.
Catfishing is a term used to describe when someone creates a fake identity online to deceive people. Catfishing is usually used to describe some sort of deception in a romantic relationship. These people can change their name, age, gender, looks and photos with just the click of a button.
Catfishers can prey on users who become too trusting. There are many ways to spot a catfish before they trick you.
Predators use websites and apps to find their victims. LGBTQ+ users tend to make their profiles more anonymous, which can leave them more of a target to predators.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune “Students make online connections with a higher degree of anonymity so the people behind the profiles don't risk exposure, he said. Longing for connection but facing the risk of expulsion, they meet dates in person, possibly without exchanging even basic personal details, such as ages and last names.” Predators know this.
Scammers can try to manipulate you into giving them money and personal information. They can build trust over time, and then ask you for money, often for emergency situations. Consumer Reports said “According to the FBI, romance scams and similar confidence scams cost consumers more money than any other kind of Internet fraud.”
Rule of thumb- don’t fully trust anyone you meet online.
Mental health is a very important topic to young people today. Progress has been made towards promoting mental health awareness, but there are still some aspects of our lives that affect our mental health without realizing it. Dating apps have been shown to affect users mental health.
One group I’d like to focus on in Grindr. Grindr is probably the most well known LGBTQ+ dating app. The app was kick-started in 2009, and has faced a lot of scrutiny over the years. In 2018, Buzzfeed News discovered that Grindr was sharing the private information of its users (their HIV status) to other companies. The app has also faced controversy over the location features.
Beyond the technical problems with the app itself, studies show that Grindr users are unhappy. A Vox article surveyed 50 men about the app and their happiness. The author, Jack Turban, found that the men felt more anxious, isolated and depressed. He also explained that the ability to find immediate sex through the app for some users could be leaving them feeling depressed (but this is not to say that all Grindr users are looking for sex on the app).
But how is this different than other dating apps and subcultures? To look at the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, mental health conditions are three times as high for people who identify as LGBTQ+.
Overall, users of dating apps, Grindr and others, can measure their self worth off of the responses and experiences from dating apps. How can someone base their worth off of the reaction they get from someone’s first impression of them? But it’s easy to do when users get their validation from sex and relationships.
Our generation is thought to be the most lonely generation because with social media, our generation can compare themselves to the people they follow every day. They look at other people’s feeds and lives and compare other’s highlights to their lowlights.
It is important to remember that your mental health is more important than an app. Whether it’s Grindr, Tinder or Instagram, if it harms your mental state, make a change or give it up.
You can also seek help for your mental health at the resources below:
The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ focused organization and hotline for LGBTQ+ experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a hotline where you can talk to a real person if you are experiencing suicidal or depressed thoughts.
While following up from my last post and continuing to research more into the special subcultures of dating apps, I began to wonder if these specialized sites are confining people into their preferences and causing a negative effect, or if it is bringing a positive effect on those using these apps. I stumbled upon an article on Complex that pondered this question as well.
“If you were to believe Vanity Fair, online dating is eradicating emotional intimacy, wiping out any headway the feminist movement has made, and exponentially increasing the number of “fuckboys” young women interact with on a daily basis. But if you asked more people outside of the straight, white, affluent mainstream you might hear a different story.”
This quote spoke volumes to me. Due to attending a predominantly white institution, most of the time the only women I hear talk about dating apps are white, with no special relation to a subculture or fan culture that they may seek out in a significant other. These women are not wrong in their experiences on dating apps, but they are one group of people on dating apps that do not represent people as a whole.
According to the article, “Specialized dating services also widen the pool of people for stigmatized demographics.” As I saw previously in my last post about different specialized dating sites, there are many different groups of people looking to connect with others who share their interests. Some of these interests are particularly taboo or abnormal, such as adult babies and furries. New dating apps give users more of an opportunity to connect based on interest than ever before.
For people who have no trouble meeting people with common interests, dating apps could become more of a hookup app. But for people with special interests, like furries, meeting someone who shares your interest is rare, and in a way could be more special. This is all my own personal theory after reading these articles, but I see now how people apart of these subcultures could use dating apps in a different way because the connection is valued more. It is based on a shared interest, a shared hobby, a shared value.
After my previous post about the background on dating apps, I realized I should expand a bit of my research into the dating websites for particular subcultures. I started researching and found that my search would be endless -- subcultures and fandoms of all kinds have created dating websites. We've all heard of Farmers Only. The freedom and limitlessness of the internet is bringing people who share even the most geeky and taboo interests together. I even found websites that unite people of common diets. Below are some of my favorite finds, as well as finds that shocked me (aka adult babies) stretching from diets to fandoms to the still-confusing Furries.
Gluten Free Singles
Gluten Free Singles is about building a community where people can find other gluten free partners. Celiac disease, an immune disease that causes gluten to damage the small intestine, affects a large grouping of people to use this website.
Star Trek Dating
A free online website connecting science fiction lovers.
Vegan/Plant based diet
Websites dedicated to connecting those of similar diets and moral beliefs about food.
The Plant Way discusses the best vegan and vegetarian dating websites, including Veggie Connection.
This blogger talks about a Furry dating site called Pounced that was shut down due to liabilities.
For goth and "emo" singles in your area.
“For Adult Babies and Diaper Lovers” (There are some photos on the front page of this website, just a warning before you click!)
Buzzfeed wrote an article featuring some of these dating websites.
Tinder and dating apps wouldn’t have their popularity if there wasn’t some success rate. The connectivity of these apps has caused them to spread like wildfire, especially among college aged adults who like having their whole life in hand on their phone. To explore the world of dating apps and see how successful people think it is, I went to Instagram and posted a story on my personal account. I first posted a poll, polling my followers and asking if they have a “horror story” or “success” story. I had 10 votes for horror and 11 votes for success, which makes it 48 percent to 52 percent. I then asked my followers to share their dating app “success” stories with me, and let them interpret their own version of success. I was surprised by my responses, particularly by the fact that people were so open in revealing that their relationship with their significant other started off a dating app. Below are some of the messages I received:
@emkmoses “Still dating my bf from tinder for 2 years now :’)”
@laurenchristmas_ “Hayley and I met on Tinder and we have been dating for a year and a half!”
@sadietaylor “well i’m engaged to the person I started dating off tinder.”
@deshopeescue “I met my wonderful boyfriend on Tinder, and we have been together for almost six months.”
Sophomore Julie Sisler, another responder to my Instagram story, shared a little bit of her past success story with me:
Sisler met her now ex-boyfriend Josh on Tinder. Sisler says that their first date was “super awkward.” The two met at a theatre after talking on the app for 2 and a half weeks. Sisler says that Josh showed up in sweatpants and that it was “a little weird” but the two talked and were able to get comfortable with each other. The couple ended up dating for over two and a half years before they went their separate ways.
Sisler says that she thinks dating apps are useful, but terrible dates and dangerous situations are a possibility. She recommends adding them on Snapchat to make sure they are the same person in their photos and meeting them in a public place like she did with Josh.
My earliest memories of learning about online dating come from “Napoleon Dynamite.” In the 2004 film, the character Kip meets Lafawnduh online and she comes to visit him. The comedic portrayal of an online relationship turned IRL was just a foreshadowing of what was to come.
Now in 2019, meeting people online is normal and almost expected. However, while films and TV shows have portrayed online dating, some debate whether or not they portray it in a realistic way. Most of pop culture is hesitant to begin portraying the realities of dating today for fear of sacrificing the “meet-cute.”
“Meet-cute” is a term to describe the spontaneous and charming meeting of two characters in a film that leads to a romantic relationship. Meet-cute can be seen in “Romeo and Juliet”, “500 Days of Summer” and “Bridesmaids.” According to a Refinery 29 article, meet-cute has become “an essential component of Western love stories.” But why hold onto the meet-cute if people’s dating habits have changed?
For one, the escapism involved in watching films helps keep the meet-cute alive; when the reality for actual people is to turn to Tinder to find a date, viewers want to dream of having their own meet-cute. Meet-cute has the spontaneous and romantic flair that mindless swiping and matching doesn’t.
TV and dating today
Pop culture is beginning to incorporate online dating into their plot lines. “Catfish” is an MTV show that explores the dangers and manipulation that can go into online dating. The hosts of the show help people discover whether or not their online partner is actually who they say they are. From the beginning, most of these relationships were not formed on dating apps, but from online interactions in chat rooms or on Facebook. But this show was a tidal wave in the world of online dating.
I like "Catfish" because it shows that people cannot be 100 percent manipulated by online dating. Most people in the show become angry when their online significant other turn out to be lying. No matter how addicted to technology people can become, it gives me have hope that having a real relationship still matter to people.
In "Black Mirror," a Twilight Zone style Netflix show, one episode revolves entirely around online dating. “Hang the DJ” features a society that uses an intelligent device called the "System" to match them with people who could potentially be, or lead them to, the perfect match. The System, however, also tells them the expiration date of the relationship. The System itself is supposed to find your perfect match, and the two characters yield to the device until their love for each other is too much.
The ending is the most interesting part of all. *spoiler ahead*
In the end, the characters flee the world they know to choose each other, despite what the System says, and as they make their escape, the viewer is shown that the characters were only one of many simulations of their true selves. The true characters are shown in a bar together and their phones show them that they are almost of perfect match.
I find this portrayal of online dating very fascinating. It shows a whole society that listens to a piece of technology over their own heart. While in 2019 we don’t have apps that guarantee they can find your perfect match, it is an interesting idea of what could happen to us if we rely on dating apps and technology too much. This could also be something that could come about if a business, like Tinder, wants to capitalize more off of people using their apps by guaranteeing them the perfect match.
(Above) "Hang the DJ" characters Amy and Frank check the System for the expiration date of their relationship.
Photo 1: https://www.amazon.com/Catfish-TV-Show-Season-5/dp/B01CH3OMZG
Before we begin our journey into the world of modern dating, we first need some context. According to Wikipedia, Happy Family Planning services was the first recorded dating service. This service was started in 1959 by Jim Harvey and Phil Fialer as a class project at Stanford. Jump to 1995 and Match.com was launched online. Since Match.com, a variety of website and apps were created, including the notorious Ashley Madison, a website specifically created for people who wanted to have affairs while in a relationship, that was hacked in 2015.
With the popularity of dating apps now, there is a variety of apps to choose from. These apps vary in audience, such as LGBTQ+, and types of interactions, such as finding serious relationships or hookups. Let’s break them down.
Popular dating apps:
While most dating apps, such as Tinder, have the option for LGBTQ+ use, some apps have been created by and specifically for this audience.
Photo 1: https://medium.com/@addyosmani/a-tinder-progressive-web-app-performance-case-study-78919d98ece0
Photo 2: http://fortune.com/2016/10/11/hinge-new-dating-app/
Photo 3: https://www.dating-apps.com/datingapplications/her-dating-app-review/
In this blog, I will be documenting my semester long Folklore 373 project on modern and online dating. I will be focusing my project on the elements of online dating and how it affects young adults. I will also be exploring college dating “norms” and how the media portrays modern dating. I will also dive into different subcultures and other topics. I will share what I research and learn along the way with my readers. I will be inclusive in my research and look into cultures and lifestyles unlike my own. My purpose of this project is to bring to light the good, bad and ugly of dating in 2019, and how it relates to folklore and the media (aka, my class.) I am genuinely so excited for this project, and I hope you follow along with me!