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The app is designed to be quick and easy to use, with a simple platform that is sleek and visually attractive. The requirement to hold a Facebook account, and sign in to Tinder using this account, offers a sense of assurance to users that people on Tinder are being authentic regarding their identity Duguay, What is on offer with Tinder is an ostensibly authenticated Facebook profile that is used to set up a supposedly anonymous Tinder profile.
The intersection of such anonymity with authenticity is what makes Tinder particularly interesting as a dating app platform. Unlike online dating, Tinder provides users the function of choosing the geographical range within which they would like to meet people between kilometres , as well as providing parameters regarding age and gender.
The process is relatively anonymous as potential partners are unaware if a user has rejected them by swiping left. Technologically Mediated Intimacies: Online Dating Technologically mediated intimacies refer to contemporary intimate contact, which is made or facilitated by some form of computer-based technology Farvid, a. Reasons given for using online dating are similar to those often given before its inception e. Heterosexual dating has historically involved profoundly gendered manifestations of goals, desires and strategies see Bailey, These encounters were casual in nature Peiss, , and reflected the gendered negotiations women and men engaged in over the economic and social value of entertainment, female company, and sex Clement, The system of treating introduced a new mode of heterosexual interaction that continues to underpin contemporary systems of dating Bailey, Unlike conventional dating, online dating provides women greater access to a larger pool of potential male partners Korenthal, The face-to-face meeting is the ultimate test which then determines if a relationship forged online will continue, in whatever capacity, off-line Padgett, Women report online dating allows them to be more considerate as well as assertive regarding partner selection Schubert, ; Korenthal, The anonymity online dating provides has also been identified as a positive factor.
Technologically Mediated Intimacies: Dating Apps Online dating has recently been supplemented by many mobile dating apps e. The existent literature on dating apps has largely focused on Grindr, which was released in , and is marketed at men who have sex with men. This research has either been quantitative and primarily focused on sexually transmitted infections e. Qualitative work has noted that Grindr redefines the boundaries between physical location and online space — producing a layering of space and place that is unique to location-aware dating apps Blackwell et al.
Users report enjoying being able to use the app while travelling to meet people from the same sexual community. While some men use it exclusively for obtaining sex, others use it to chat with other men and explore their sexual identity Blackwell et al. Although some men value Grindr as a useful platform for meeting new people, for making friends, and procuring relationships or casual sex, others noted that the app objectified men and was distracting as well as time-consuming Brubaker et al. Some men also reported frustrations regarding difficulties discerning whether users were genuine or merely using the app for curiosity and entertainment Blackwell et al.
We also interrogate whether Tinder created more opportunities for the women to explore their sexuality, if it intensified the spectre of risk, as touted by the media, or whether there where elements of both possibilities. Three of the participants worked in the health sector, one worked with youth, and one participant was an undergraduate student.
The length of time women had spent on Tinder varied from three months to two years. Ethical approval for the project was sought and gained form the Auckland University of Technology Ethics Committee. Data Collection Participants were interviewed by the second author using a semi-structured style. Interviews ranged from 30 to 53 minutes, were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim producing pages of data. Transcripts were anonymized before analysis, with all identifying information removed or altered all names are pseudonyms.
Critical realism allows for an in-depth and critical examination of social phenomena, while allowing the researcher to make claims about the real life effects of research outcomes Easton, Inductive TA means that the data itself was used to derive the structure of the analysis rather than fitting the data into pre-determined categories.
Although the data was largely analysed at a semantic or surface level, looking at the explicit language and meanings conveyed by the women, it went beyond that to examine the cultural ideologies or discourses that informed the talk. This analytic process was carried out by the second author, in full consultation with the first author. Results and Discussion Tinder was described by the women as new and novel, as well as a contradictory and contested site of varied uses.
Four themes were identified that reflect this tension: Tinder as a new landscape, Tinder as a multipurpose tool, Tinder as a risky domain and new technology, old norms? We discuss these below. Age: 25 KA: What do you see as the benefits of Tinder? Thus, it is considered by users to be more casual and less complicated. The women also spoke of online dating as carrying more social stigma than Tinder. Age: 21 Sarah: Like my friend and her boyfriend were like yeah you have to do this and they like sat down and made my profile for me.
Furthermore, rather than being a hidden activity carried out in solitude like online dating , Tinder use was something that the participants talked about, and used, with friends.
Age: 20 In comparing Tinder to Facebook and Snapchat, Bella bolsters its acceptability, aligning it with popular social media apps, rather than conventional online dating or other match-making technology.
Tinder thus occupied a unique hybrid status, as both social networking tool and dating app. Like do you just want like a casual root? Or do you want like to hang out? Or do you want, you know, to have like a relationship? Age: 21 Cassie contrasts Tinder dates with conventional dates, where the norms or social scripts are well-established.
The purpose of Tinder and the intentions of its users were not always clear, and the app could be used to instigate various relational ties e. Due to such ambiguity, the app was also seen as a lot more casual and obligation-free than conventional dating: KA: What are the benefits of Tinder? This was both digitally women could un-match a match , or following face-to-face meetings. Meeting via conventional means involved responsibilities or pressures from which Tinder, to some degree, was free.
Tinder as a Multipurpose Tool The women largely spoke of Tinder favourably, reporting it was a useful tool in a variety of ways.
In our interviews, male attention on Tinder after a break up was a valued short-term distraction that resulted in feelings of desirability for women. Linked to this desirability, others noted that Tinder provided them with a quick ego boost: Cassie: It was kind of, it was a bit of a confidence boost when you first get like, your first match.
Age: 20 The women also reported using the app to seek a variety of relational and sexual unions: KA: Ok, um what kind of relationships have you sought? Age: 25 KA: What kind of relationships have you sought on Tinder?
Age: 20 The above extracts demonstrate the diversity of responses regarding the types of relationships women procured on Tinder. The women did not typically use Tinder to find longer-term romantic relationships even if some Tinder matches eventually became boyfriends. Tinder was a multipurpose tool that facilitated various relational or sexual possibilities, many of which were navigated on a case-by-case basis. Tinder offered women a platform to experiment with casual sex and other in-between- relationship scenarios like the one Bella articulates above.
The quick and easy interface offered by Tinder, coupled with anonymity and access to otherwise unknown men, provided women the opportunity to explore multiple sexual and relational ties. In this way, traditional discourses of passive and responsive femininity were disrupted as the women openly described multiple desires and the purposeful pursuit of those Byers, ; Farvid, The notion of risk was invoked in two ways.
Secondly, risk was apparent in stories where things had gone wrong or the women felt they could be in danger. Age: 23 These extracts outline the potential dangers and spectre of risk the women considered. In a social context that places the burden of keeping safe on female victims, the women discussed various screening processes they employed in order to reduce the chances of encountering risk. This is a new kind of background checking Padgett, that the women engaged in, in order to feel safer meeting men in person.
Age: 20 The incongruence between conjured images did not always match the reality women encountered when meeting men in person. For example, below, Brooke described an experience where a man from another city came to visit her in her home. Below, Bella describes another man who was outright sexist and threatening: Bella: There was this one guy on Tinder who I think my friend had also matched with on Tinder and he was just like such a pig, like just the things he would say like, um, I think to my friend he actually referred to raping her or something.
Age: 20 These accounts are quite telling regarding the dating terrain that heterosexual women negotiate — a domain where men may act entitled to have access to the women they desire and lash out in a variety of ways if women reject such advances Gavey, You are crazy. Age: 20 These extracts demonstrate the tenuous way women talked about how they negotiated meeting strangers off Tinder.
In a sociocultural context where victim-blaming and sexual double-standards abound Farvid et al. These accounts highlight the complex and contradictory ways actions and personhood played out in relation to Tinder use. The realm of desire, pleasure, identity and human interaction is complex, creating fraught and at times what seemed like questionable choices by the women that luckily did not end badly.
The traditional gender norm of men as initiator and women as passive and responsive to his sexual advances was evident within these accounts Byers, ; Gagnon, Conclusion In this paper we have presented the complex and contradictory ways five young heterosexual women traversed technologically mediated intimacies via Tinder. We argue that Tinder may offer more opportunities, but does not necessarily create more risks, albeit ostensibly amplifying risks that already exist in the dating world for young women.
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The dangers talked about by the women are not invented by Tinder, new technology, or the internet; even if negotiations online may facilitate or enable such outcomes.
In addition, one important way that discussions around such risks need to be reframed is to focus on the perpetrators rather than the victims of abuse, threats or assaults, as well as the patriarchal sociocultural context which allows such manifestations of gendered power.
Further research is needed to examine the process, applications and implications of Tinder use across different geographical sites and intersectional axes age, gender, sexual orientation , in order to make better sense of such new modes of technologically mediated intimacies. References AnKee, A. The review of the ugly truth and negative aspects of online dating.
Global Journal Management and Business Research, 15 4 , Bailey, B. From front porch to back seat: A history of the date. Magazine of History, 18 4 , Beres, M. Sexualities, 13 3 , Seeing and being seen: Co-situation and impression formation using Grindr, a location-aware gay dating app. New Media and Society, Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3. Braun, V.
Unpacking accounts of reciprocity in heterosex. Sexualities, 6 2 , Brubaker, J. How well does the traditional sexual script explain sexual coercion? Review of a program of research. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 8, 7— Clement, E. Cohen, E.
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