As Thanksgiving break approaches there’s nothing I look foreword to more than visiting my relatives and swatting off politically charged comments and answering questions like- “What exactly IS your major” (or, more frequently) “Do you have a boyfriend yet?” Eek. No grandma, but my Tinder account is LIT! … No response.
While I certainly have my reservations against Tinder and other dating apps of the sort, it’s honestly been a great tool for meeting new people with whom I otherwise would have never interacted. Talking to friends who also frequent the tinds as much as I, this is typically the same response. However, as I eagerly began writing this post to laud the benefits of such an app, I realized that there was a target group whose experiences I had not fully considered. For those of us who do not identify as a heterosexual, cis gender woman, are dating apps like Tinder still as hype as I perceive them to be? The answer to this question, like the justification of using Tinder, is complex.
For individuals who identify with part of the LGBTQ+ community, Tinder remains a popular device for meeting new people. However, stepping back and taking a closer look at the features of this app, it’s pretty easy to recognize the exclusivity that Tinder renders. Sure, Tinder allows you to set your preferences when it comes to who you want to swipe left or right on, but oftentimes this comes with an added question mark. After switching my settings to show me “only girls”, Tinder quickly swapped out *Brock the truck driving hockey player, with Abby, the kick-ass guitar player. However, as I continued through the feed of lovely ladies, the app often sporadically threw out profiles of men as if to ask me “Are you sure you just want to see women?” Moreso, Tinder caters to the cis-gender community by requiring the user to identify as either a man or a woman.
Still, Tinder remains a highly popular way for individuals of all sexual and gender identities to meet each other. As it is, talking to someone for the first time at a party or bar is difficult, especially with the added charge that the topic of sexuality often renders upon people our age. Tinder, and other dating apps like it, simply takes away the stress of working off assumptions and stereotypes and puts power back into the hands of the user to openly and explicitly identify their sexuality. However, this often becomes an issue that solicits unwanted invitations from users simply looking to “spice up” their dating and relationships.
Luckily, Tinder is not the ONLY option for individuals looking to meet new people. For LGBT* identifying women, “Her” has been taken up by many reviewers as knowing just what to say. With options to meet and talk to woman identifying users, Her takes away the stress of running into users who simply do not fit the bill.
Listen friends, meeting people in real life is excellent and exciting, but for those of us looking for a faster way to shut grandma down at the dinner table this Thanksgiving, don’t let the exclusivity of apps like Tinder to bring you down.