The Guardian ran an article on Sunday 16th August about Nancy Jo Sales’ opinions of Tinder in this month’s edition of Vanity Fair. She argues that Tinder is creating a dating apocalypse where we have become a generation of sex-obsessed commitment-phobes. The Guardian argues that Tinder has encouraged this culture but that “it can’t solely be blamed for it”.
I would argue that Tinder and other dating apps such as Plenty of Fish, Badoo and Hot or Not haven’t contributed to this culture at all. What these apps have done is make online dating, which was previously seen as the place for desperate nerdy virgins, acceptable and mainstream. Like all the social sites, the platform of the smart phone has allowed online dating to be instant and accessible.
Whereas before, there were separate sites for those who wanted a relationship and those who wanted a casual hook-up, today these dating apps combine the two and make the latter a lot less seedy. Although these apps do allow one to have casual hook-ups, it’s not as if they were the inventors of the one-night stand. People were having casual sex before Tinder and the sex-obsessed culture of our generation is down to the accessibility of pornography and not Tinder.
Although we’d like to blame dating apps for our current obsession with sex, there’s no evidence to suggest this at all. The reason we blame apps like Tinder is because being on the dating app is acceptable whereas pornography is still a major taboo. If we blame porn for making us sex-obsessed, we own up to watching it and nobody wants that. But if we blame Tinder, it’s fine to let people know that we use it because everybody does.
Unlike the previously mentioned dating apps, the gay dating app Grindr is slightly different in the sense that it’s mainly an app for casual hook-ups. But, it’s open about that and we all know what it’s there for. The gay community treasures Grindr far more than a heterosexual man would treasure Tinder. But this is because it’s easier for straight men to find women in clubs or through friends. For a gay man, unless they go to a gay bar, Grindr is really the only option.
These dating apps allow people to look for love or sex anywhere around the world. In a sense, it’s brought us closer together. We don’t have to go on anxious blind dates or wait to bump into mr right in the supermarket anymore. They’ve ultimately changed the way we look for love and allow us to find it any time of the day. I’d like to suggest that we’ll lose those cringey chat-up lines because of these apps. But unfortunately, that’s one thing that has remained the same.