The Everyday Sexism of Dating
In theory, dating can be an incredible opportunity for two individuals to model gender-based equality and mutual respect. In practice, however, women are still frequently degraded and regarded as submissive sexual objects — especially in heterosexual relationships.
Countless women anecdotally confirm this, but one need look no further for evidence than the viral Instagram account @tindernightmares. The account collects screenshots of real messages women have received from men on Tinder, which range from cringeworthy to downright disrespectful. While @tindernightmares appears to have been created to humorously expose the truly weird people who frequent dating sites and app, the creepy messages that often appear on the site actually highlight a much bigger problem women face today while dating: They’re still seen as sex objects and subordinate to men.
What's more, women who try to push back on this double standard can expect to receive even more vitriolic comments and degrading treatment. One woman's decision to mention her feminist identity on her Tinder profile, for example, garnered enough rude and nasty responses to warrant the creation of an entire Instagram account called @feminist_tinder. The irony of openly degrading women in this way and still argue that feminists are stuck in the past is apparently lost on these men.
Users of these apps aren't (always) random trolls, either, but individuals influenced by sexist attitudes and casual degradation that is still all too common in our society. As Buzzfeed revealed in a recently released video, dating advice books that literally condone underage sex and sexual assault are still published. One advice book, for example, advised men to look for women who "don't stand out in a crowd" because they are "easy prey" and to "keep trying" even when women say no because you "never know when a 'no' can turn into a 'yes.'" It also advised that men can permissibly practice on "thirteen-year-olds, Grandmas, or hookers, as long as they're female."
Not only does perpetuating these types of attitudes and behaviors effectively undermine women's autonomy and subjectivity in the context of romantic relationships, therefore, but it also further reveals the way in which women are still objectified more broadly. As one woman in the Buzzfeed video put it, “When guys ask why we need feminism…this is literally why.”
More articles by Category: Feminism, Media, Misogyny
More articles by Tag: Activism and advocacy, Sexism, Sexuality, Social media