By Liz Jacobs
Welcome to the twenty first century, where you carry a HD video camera in your pocket and you can talk to anyone with a few taps on a touch screen. We live in a drastically different world than our parents and it is affecting everything from how you frantically research for your Core 350 paper to how you meet your significant other.
Unfortunately, the advent of technology as a ubiquitous part of the millennial life has welcomed habits and applications that have serious consequences on relational development. The dating app Tinder is one of those harmful side effects. I will argue that Tinder is a negative aspect of new dating culture because it alters and damages standards of beauty.
If you are thinking that Tinder’s effects on dating don’t really matter because users are not looking for real, serious relationships, think again. Tinder CEO, Sean Rad, said 80 percent of Tinder users are seeking long term relationships. (Also, I wish all CEO’s had such RADicle last names).
Let’s say you are in the 80 percent of people looking for love on Tinder. What’s the problem?
Tinder is based on initial physical attraction. The dating scheme is simple, you swipe left if you like the potential match and right if you don’t. Some will say that people on Tinder also have profiles about their personality and interests, so it is not completely superficial. However, if you really want to look beyond physical appearance there are a hundreds of online dating websites with complicated algorithms that will determine compatibility beyond physical attraction. Tinder’s main selling point is quick connections based almost solely on external beauty.
Who you are is not on display, it’s all about those initial few seconds where people decide whether or not you fit their arbitrary standards for what is beautiful. Your worth as a romantic prospect is based on a few photos. This is intuitively harmful, most people agree that there is more to a human being than Instagram filters and “candid” photos.
This creates physical standards for attractiveness that set up broad implications for the way men and women behave in romantic scenarios. Participants are forced to mirror Instagram models. Ironically, those beacons of beauty are beginning to admit the unattainable nature of these unrealistic expectations.
Essena O’Neill had over half a million Instagram followers. In her photos, she looking stunning. She’s thin, well-dressed and seems effortlessly gorgeous. Eventually, she started making money on her account. O’Neill made about $1,500 per photo. She fit the standards that create awesome matches on Tinder.
However, O’Neill recently quit instagram and deleted 2,000 posts. She said although she achieved what society sees as the ultimate goal, she was miserable.
“We are a generation told to consume and consume, with no thought of where it all comes from and where it all goes,” O’Neill said.
This is an excellent example of how quickly visual-based media distorts reality and sets up unrealistic expectations. That is exactly what happens on Tinder. Users market themselves through photos. Quickly, this devolves into over-edited photos and ridiculous standards.
The more society reinforces outward beauty, the more it becomes important. Naomi Wolf reinforced this idea in her book “The Beauty Myth,” which claims that images of beauty in society harm both sexes. Media and culture create unfair standards that stagnate social progression.
Overall, Tinder focuses on one aspect of person. It elevates external aesthetics as the most important selling point to begin a romantic relationship. The negative impacts are not merely intuitive. People like O’Neill who seemingly achieve perfection are miserable. Both men and women are shamed based on a myth of beauty. It’s not worth it.
Some people may disagree with everything above, arguing that attractiveness is an important component of romance. I agree. Of course, physical attraction matters. People date people they find attractive.
Unfortunately, Tinder still fails on this front. Attraction changes over time. Your initial perception is almost irrelevant. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist who works for Match.com, said that a change in attraction over time is fairly common. Tinder ignores the fluidity of attraction. Those first perceptions quickly fade, and Tinder doesn’t recognize that.
Tinder doesn’t help you find love, it’s a game. A man revealed his strategy for maximizing matches in AdWeek. He gained 2,000 matches using marketing techniques to increase his prospects. He broke down his approach to AdWeek so other social media experts could pick up his tricks to use in the business world.
Tinder isn’t evil. It’s just a some code you download on your phone. However, the way it’s used and the standards creates are detrimental to the people who use it.
Swipe left for Tinder. It’s not likeable.