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Tinder offered women a platform to experiment with casual sex and other in-between- relationship scenarios like the one Bella articulates above. The quick and easy interface offered by Tinder, coupled with anonymity and access to otherwise unknown men, provided women the opportunity to explore multiple sexual and relational ties. In this way, traditional discourses of passive and responsive femininity were disrupted as the women openly described multiple desires and the purposeful pursuit of those Byers, ; Farvid, The notion of risk was invoked in two ways.
Secondly, risk was apparent in stories where things had gone wrong or the women felt they could be in danger.
These extracts outline the potential dangers and spectre of risk the women considered. In a social context that places the burden of keeping safe on female victims, the women discussed various screening processes they employed in order to reduce the chances of encountering risk. This is a new kind of background checking Padgett, that the women engaged in, in order to feel safer meeting men in person. Cassie: I met up with this guy and he seemed really nice and he was really attractive … Well, I thought he was and um we were texting heaps and we like, he seemed really funny over text and then I met him and he was just not what I expected.
The incongruence between conjured images did not always match the reality women encountered when meeting men in person. For example, below, Brooke described an experience where a man from another city came to visit her in her home. Once they met in person, she indicated to him that she was no longer interested, to which he reacted badly:.
Similarly, Sarah describes a scenario where a man she had been chatting to on Tinder reacted negatively to her disinterest in meeting him in person:. Below, Bella describes another man who was outright sexist and threatening:. Bella: There was this one guy on Tinder who I think my friend had also matched with on Tinder and he was just like such a pig, like just the things he would say like, um, I think to my friend he actually referred to raping her or something. These accounts are quite telling regarding the dating terrain that heterosexual women negotiate — a domain where men may act entitled to have access to the women they desire and lash out in a variety of ways if women reject such advances Gavey, Some women relayed stories where, in hindsight, they felt they may have put themselves at risk:.
You are crazy. These extracts demonstrate the tenuous way women talked about how they negotiated meeting strangers off Tinder. In a sociocultural context where victim-blaming and sexual double-standards abound Farvid et al. These accounts highlight the complex and contradictory ways actions and personhood played out in relation to Tinder use. The realm of desire, pleasure, identity and human interaction is complex, creating fraught and at times what seemed like questionable choices by the women that luckily did not end badly.
Even though Tinder was talked about as a new technological landscape where the women could explore diverse sexual and relational desires, traditional gendered norms at times permeated the accounts. One striking moment of this was that once a match was made, the women remained passive and men were expected to initiate the conversation:. Annie explicates why this may be the case:.
The traditional gender norm of men as initiator and women as passive and responsive to his sexual advances was evident within these accounts Byers, ; Gagnon, In this paper we have presented the complex and contradictory ways five young heterosexual women traversed technologically mediated intimacies via Tinder.
We argue that Tinder may offer more opportunities, but does not necessarily create more risks, albeit ostensibly amplifying risks that already exist in the dating world for young women. The dangers talked about by the women are not invented by Tinder, new technology, or the internet; even if negotiations online may facilitate or enable such outcomes. In addition, one important way that discussions around such risks need to be reframed is to focus on the perpetrators rather than the victims of abuse, threats or assaults, as well as the patriarchal sociocultural context which allows such manifestations of gendered power.
Further research is needed to examine the process, applications and implications of Tinder use across different geographical sites and intersectional axes age, gender, sexual orientation , in order to make better sense of such new modes of technologically mediated intimacies. AnKee, A. The review of the ugly truth and negative aspects of online dating.
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Unpacking accounts of reciprocity in heterosex.
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Sexualities, 6 2 , Brubaker, J. Byers, E. How well does the traditional sexual script explain sexual coercion? Review of a program of research. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 8 , 7— Clement, E. Cohen, E. Tinder, social media blamed for spike in STDs. Couch, D. What are the real and perceived risks of online dating? Perspectives from online daters. Dating NZ.
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Attwood Ed. London: I. Gunter, B. Internet dating: A British Survey. Aslib Journal of Information Management, 60 2 , Hodges, Q. Holloway, W. Subjectivity and method in psychology: Gender, meaning and science. London: Sage. Houston, S. Beyond social constructionism: Critical realism and social work. British Journal of Social Work, 31 6 , Hume, M. Police probe two Tinder date attacks in Christchurch. Korenthal, L. Alder School of Professional Psychology, Chicago. Lapowsky, I. Lawson, H. Dynamics of Internet dating. Social Science Computer Review, 24 2 , Leask, A. Kiwi woman gang-raped in Sydney after she met man on dating app Tinder.
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