The genderless

This month, a new born baby was the first to be recorded on official documents as gender unknown in Canada. This made me think about gender specification in dating apps today and how they are non-inclusive to those who may not identify.

When you sign up to a dating app, you are to choose a gender for yourself and specify the gender you are interested in. Most mainstream dating apps differentiate gender as male or female. Even Grindr, the dating app for gay men is gender specific to men searching for men.

This becomes an issue as many people do not identify with a specific gender. Most famous example, Miley Cyrus.


Grouping of people and codifying the love scene

There are so many versions of dating apps because people have different needs and wants and that means the companies who create these apps will see every opportunity as one to make a new app. However, in a way, love/sex is being codified by these apps excluding minority groups. This is why I would like to create a meeting interface that takes that bias out of the equation. Tinder has been around since 2012 and it has changed the way male and female hookups and relationships are and even the roles and attitudes towards men and women. It’s had it’s biggest effects in New York, where the dating scene is most committed. Just read the ways women and men talk about meeting on Tinder.

I am getting more interested in the non-inclusive nature of dating apps, whether because of gender specification and the fact that dating apps are mainly visual. I think this is a good direction to expand in as it would be an argument to using gestures instead of visual apps


Tinder and women

Many users also describe Tinder as demeaning to women, misogynistic.

Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth (1991). Wolf posited that, as women achieved more social and political power, there was more pressure on them to be “beautiful” as a means of undermining their empowerment. Is it possible that now the potentially de-stabilizing trend women are having to contend with is the lack of respect they encounter from the men with whom they have sex? Could the ready availability of sex provided by dating apps actually be making men respect women less? (Vanity Fair)

With a growing concern that emotional intimacy is lost but still very much valuable in both sexual and exclusive relationships. Emotional intimacy is a very important aspect for a woman to feel pleasure in sex. Co-author of Sex at Dawn, Christopher Ryan, who believes humans are not naturally monogamous, says in the Vanity Fair article:

“It’s the same pattern manifested in porn use,” he says. “The appetite has always been there, but it had restricted availability; with new technologies the restrictions are being stripped away and we see people sort of going crazy with it. I think the same thing is happening with this unlimited access to sex partners. People are gorging. That’s why it’s not intimate. You could call it a kind of psychosexual obesity.

So the claim that romance is dead and has become the sixth extinction due to dating apps serves bias since gender roles in dating hasn’t changed much but the method has changed to a shameless internet where people can be more “bold” in what they say while hiding behind a screen.

I wonder, can gestures make more pleasurable relationships for women if it was used to send stimulations to those that you are interested in? For example, if it was sensed that your gestures and another person’s match and are syncing up, it may mean you are interested in each other. What if you could send a gestural sensation to that person after you “match up” that would add towards the build up to the excitement?

But none of this is new, the exclusivity and favoritisms of pleasure for men comes from a history of gender roles in society. A Tinder user says in an interview with Vanity Fair,

“Sex should stem from emotional intimacy, and it’s the opposite with us right now, and I think it really is kind of destroying females’ self-images,”(Fallon)

But another thing she brings up is female self-image. Which has different expectations from male image expectations. Women were objectified since the days when they were “given” in marriage by their father. But now with online communication, women are required certain self-images to appear desirable to men. Unfortunately, Tinder is implying how women can be treated as objects if they choose to use the app