Why can’t we have a feminist dating app?

This ‘ole dating app game is becoming, all too quickly, ‘ole. Swiping through the legions of available bachelors and When becomes an exhausting parody of the Generation Game all too quickly, except somehow we’re all Jim Davidson. Picking on aesthetic attraction isn’t the worst idea in the world (surely that’s what the majority of us do in real life?) but the possibility of me sharing mutual interests with my matches is in a depressing drudgery of single numbers. I like politics. I like feminism. I like opening a packet of crisps and spilling them all over my bed. I understand that one of those statements is highly unappealing, but should the first two be so much of a problem?

When the Feminist Tinder account first came into action, the remarks didn’t surprise me — they exhausted me. The amount of times I have run into battle on the dating app for stipulating that men and women should share the same opportunities and rights is depressing territory. ‘I prefer the term equalist,’ some ‘enlightened’ participants add. ‘I’m not a feminist but I do believe in equal rights,’ say others. ‘What’s the big deal? We’re not in a developing country,’ rebukes another. I tried writing the word feminist on my profile, like these women did. My relatively steady stream of matches halted quickly to zero.

Although Bumble has tried to plug this hole in the market by allowing women to chose whether they speak to their matches, I’ve ended up with worse experiences out of the app, rather than better. I heartily welcome the app’s entrance into the dating discourse, especially concerning the mistreatment of its CEO, Whitney Wolfe, by Tinder. It was when I ended up on a date with a racist, homophobic, transphobic zealot who shouted ‘ninja!’ at some women wearing hijabs after a sweet-sounding profile that I began to edge away. Could it be my judgement? Didn’t I have good, decent people around me in real life? How could I remove myself from this circle of twazzocks?

OkCupid and match.com might have this ground covered, but I don’t think I’m saying anything new in adding that they are comprehensive, website-based systems that require more commitment than a standard app. Power to the people that use them, but a good swipe up, down, left or right suits me a little bit more. It’s quicker, and I’m lazy. Sorry.

This is why I’m here today, requesting and shouting into the void for a dating app for feminists. To be an advocate of a basic human right isn’t a source of shame. After all, in real life, have I ever gone out with anyone who hasn’t declared themselves a feminist?

To me, believing in feminism lends itself to other qualities that I would want in a partner. I want to be with someone open-minded, politicised, questioning, respectful, sensitive, (left-wing – I’m putting this in brackets for debate) and kind-hearted. I don’t want to have to filter through the people who just do not think the same way as me, no matter how much their appearance attests me to try.

Now that dating apps are a cornerstone in the way that we meet new people, they should involve with the wants and interests of its users. The fact that an account such as feminist tinder has 70.3k followers indicates that there is a gap in the market for feminist daters. To have such an app in public domain would encourage people to be proud of the label, rather than letting it nestle in their wants and needs box as something that is scary and repugnant to their potential lover. If everyone from every gender identification can be encouraged that feminism isn’t a dirty word in their love life, perhaps it will help them be more confident in placing their own wants and needs higher on the agenda too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Roxane Gay interview: “Think big, act smart”

Originally posted at: http://www.thegryphon.co.uk/2015/03/roxane-gay/

What is the definition of a feminist to you? 

Feminism is pluralistic. There are multiple definitions and ways of approaching feminism. That said, we have to start somewhere. A feminist believes women are equal to men, and should be able to move through the world in the same way men do. Our bodies should be free from legislation. We have to care not only about women whose life experiences are similar to ours, but also, those women whose experiences are different.

When did you first realise that you were a feminist?

I’ve probably always been a feminist but there was definitely a time when I was not comfortable claiming the identity because I worried about what it said about me. I began openly embracing feminism in my thirties when I began to understand what feminism is and how much it has made possible for me.

Why do you think people struggle to identify themselves as feminists?

There is, unfortunately, a great stigma attached to the word “feminist.” People hear that word and think of anger and separatism and lots of other nonsense that’s not accurate. It’s also strange because given the ways in which women are marginalized, anger is a perfectly appropriate response.

What is the biggest concern of inequality for women today?

It really depends but one of the most critical concerns is reproductive freedom and unfettered access to affordable means of birth control. Subsidized childcare is also critical, as are maternity and paternity leave.

As an Haitian-American feminist, you have to deal with the double-edged sword of race and gender inequality. How can the feminist community rally around to better understand intersectionality?

Feminists need to realize that we’re not only women, we also inhabit other identities at the same time and we need to consider this breadth of identity and how it affects women’s lives.

I wouldn’t call being a Haitian American woman a double-edged sword, though. Who I am is not a liability.

Your bestselling book, Bad Feminist, acknowledges that human beings can be contradictory in their actions whilst still being a champion of gender equality. What do you think is your most significant patriarchal achilles heel?

I love romantic comedies, way too much.

Who is your hero?

My heroes are many but my first and longest lasting heroes have been my parents.

What advice would you offer to student feminists in regards to how they can effect change on campus?

Think big, act smart.

What is your highest Scrabble score? 

My highest score is probably around 580.

What do you hope for women’s rights in 2015?

I hope we spend less time discussing the word feminist or who can claim it and spend more time acting upon our feminism.