BY Laura Kenny

If you’ve been single at any point in the last few years, chances are that you’ve tried Tinder. You can deny it all you want but we all know how much self-control your needy ego has at 11.43pm on a Thursday night in the middle of winter, your denials are meaningless here.

In fact, the usage of online dating apps is so widely accepted that they are now taking on secondary and tertiary functions socially (that’s assuming that your primary purpose is actually dating though so #optimism). What am I talking about? The place that Tinder screenshots go to die: Tindernightmares.

With over 1.9 million followers on Instagram, the market for “Unspirational” chats between you and your would-be lovers are an anonymous, shaming platform for comedic purposes. More and more on Instagram and Twitter, shutting down unsavoury pick-ups and posting them online for your friends to revel in is a recognizable trend. But does this not glorify and perpetuate both sides of the interaction

Let me state categorically that there’s really no excuse for being a jerk – online as in the real world. If you make someone uncomfortable or feel offended in any context you need to reassess your methods. That being said, Tinder is definitely an environment where people feel no compunction about swerving way out of their lanes.

Now while Andy S is making a generalisation, they’re not wrong in pointing out this strangest new breed of virtue signalling: a need to publicly declare your fearlessness in rejecting and belittling men. By virtue signalling I mean to say – it seems in many cases to be an almost transparent, conspicuous expression of your moral values to an audience for the purpose of stroking your ego.

Whether a strange misread instruction from the manual on how to be a woke modern female or a natural snowballing of a part-funny part-disgruntling call out culture, this trend does no favours for either party. Desperately grabbing to evidence that you are part of a mass of misused women doesn’t demonstrate solidarity (as I suspect it is intended to do).

Instead it creates a casual game out of nasty, abrasive experiences that others have had in their personal lives. If we want to wave a flag of feminism by calling out these people, we ought to be cautious of waving a red flag for a bull. If we are sure that these screenshots of shut-downs do the rounds in your girlfriends group-chats, you can safely assume that the same content has purchase in the male-equivalents for the opposite reason: who can send the grossest and “funniest” pick up lines. Neither party is innocent here in perpetuating a horrendously impersonal using of the other party for the purpose of entertainment and validation – but in the end, what good comes of it?

As they say, let she who is without sin cast the first stone, and I am not without sin - but the more prevalent this trend, the more we ought to be aware of the unintended consequences of our fun and games.

If you go on dating apps exclusively to match with people and find the quickest way possible to burn your would-be partner and post it online for your friend’s approval, do you not egg-on the behaviour you seek to extinguish?

The author wishes to acknowledge that the genders ascribed to those who message and those who reply is not a reflection of all experienced and is observed in accordance with the typical Tinder-screenshot callout.

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