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Love Me Warm and Tinder: A Guide Behind Dating Apps and Misogyny

An inside look at misogyny experienced by women on dating apps, and how to combat this misogyny while protecting your peace and energy.

Tinder dating - Shutterstock/davide bonaldo
Credit: Shutterstock/davide bonaldo

Dating apps. We all know them; we all love them, or do we? Dating online or via apps was created to help individuals find true love. Or even, more often than not, a quick hookup or a casual fling.

Dating apps can be a good tool for getting rid of the anxiety that dating as a young college student brings. However, how well do these apps work in favor of women rather than being a hub for misogyny and unsolicited sexual harassment?

Online dating and misogyny

More often than not, in my experience and that of several others I interviewed, men tend to hide behind the fact that they are online dating. Men tend to hide behind the mask of Tinder or Bumble and say whatever repulsive thoughts come to mind. As if a phone screen or app is their lockbox for misogyny they otherwise would not be able to express. Then, we women are expected to take their gross behavior. Simply because we chose to be on those apps, and it “comes with the territory.”

To younger women out there, this article is here to show you that this behavior is not normal or okay. Sexual harassment and misogyny are not part of the terms and conditions when downloading dating apps. No matter what dating app you find yourself on, no one can speak about you or your body in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, sexualized, or objectified.

Take it from myself and women everywhere: It is okay to be weird, to be mean, and to stand up for yourself.

Tinder Direct Messages

Direct message inbox on a dating website first text reads: "life is too short for bad sex" last text reads: "Exactly that is why we are not meeting up"
Screenshot from author’s personal Tinder account. Pictures and names have been removed for anonymity’s sake.

As mentioned before, the use of online dating can help relieve the anxiety of meeting people face-to-face. However, online dating can be very dangerous for a lot of different reasons. These apps can be damaging to your self-esteem and cause body dysmorphia. Dating apps can also pose a lot of physical dangers.

Overall, as helpful and fun as they may seem, dating apps can just be so terrible for women. However, have no fear; me and a handful of anonymous individuals are here to provide guidance. Here is a one-stop guide on handling yourself in the somewhat gross and scary world of online dating.

How to navigate the pitfalls of online dating

Throughout the interviews I sat through while making this article, the experiences were universal. For example, when interviewing my friend about her experiences with online dating as a Mormon, she started with the fact that sexual harassment is to be expected for women across all religions and walks of life. My friend’s sister comments, “He asked how big her nipples were” on the popular LDS dating app Mutual. My friend continued by claiming that Mutual could be described as a “PG-13 Tinder.”

Tinder dating app direct message inbox
first text: ngl I just *explicit content* to your pics
final text: Babygirl you are so weird and offputting
Screenshot from author’s online dating account inbox. Pictures and names have been removed for anonymity’s sake.

When questioned about how she stayed vigilant of her feelings while online dating, she stated, “Outside of setting your expectations for the culture you are in, you as a woman have to remove the idea that getting married is the most important thing that will happen to you. Do I want it to happen? Absolutely. However, male attention, or validation, is no longer the focal point of my life.

After realizing this, I have been able to live more freely with myself. I also practice crafting genuine connections outside of my dating life.” Additionally, several other women and I also encourage abrasive, witty responses, which work well for combating misogyny and sexual harassment at the source.

What the weird?

In another interview I conducted, my friend spoke about the audacity and “freedom” men seem to have when messaging women or fem-presenting individuals. “You get gifted a piece of information, and it’s like I can’t tell if you’re going to be normal or like a weirdo.” They also spoke about the spectrum of weirdness. Aspects to them that are acceptable in a partner or humans in general, and what is not acceptable.

Tinder direct message inbox
First text: I really want you to *explicit content* face
Last Text: I'd rather kick it!
Screenshot from author’s online dating account inbox. Pictures and names have been removed for anonymity’s sake.

It is oddly humorous that we have collectively grown to learn what mannerisms and behaviors are “strange but harmless” weird versus “might end up in the trunk of their car” weird. Learning the difference between these behaviors while chatting online can be the difference between going on a date with someone harmless or life-threatening.

Safety in being a girl’s girl

During the same interview, we shared stories from dating apps as a way to warn one another and mutual friends in the area about what men to avoid. There is a way to report accounts on dating apps and to get dangerous people removed. However, in my experience, the account is only gone for so long before they are allowed back on. The best way to stay physically safe is to talk to the women in your life and those around you. If one of your girls has a bad feeling about the guy you’re meeting, trust her. The girls in your life will always have your best interests at heart, not the man that you met online. 

Other ways to stay safe are to make sure you do not give out your address online or any information about your car when meeting. Lastly, always make sure a trusted individual has your location, knows who you are meeting, and has seen a picture of the individual. There is strength in numbers, ladies! Do not be afraid to utilize the women in your life as your safety net. You can be theirs too!

Conclusion

Overall, the best way to stay vigilant for your safety and peace of mind is to have a hard-set list of red and green flags. What do you look for as positives, and what are hard-no behaviors from the people in your life? A way to maintain this boundary is by practicing these rules in all connections beyond romance. To do so, remove love and marriage as the focal points of your life.

At the end of the day, your relationship with yourself is going to be the longest relationship you ever have. This relationship must get the most love and respect. The love and respect that you want to receive start on a personal level. What I mean by this is the way you treat and love yourself will be reflected in the boundaries you have in your relationships, whether romantic or platonic.

All in all, nurture the relationships you already have, and be a girl’s girl for every woman in your life.

Written By

Based out of North Texas, Alexa Clary Butler is a 22-year-old writer and student. Alexa is attending Texas Woman’s University and is studying English writing and rhetoric while minoring in sociology. Outside of school, you can catch her slinging lattes at Dutch Bros. or writing. When Alexa is not working or writing, you will find her with her kitty cat or friends, enjoying whatever is new in the world of horror!

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