Sunday, August 30, 2015

On Tinder, Feminism, & Female Sexual Agency

Warning: if you are a friend or family member who doesn't want to know specific details of my life and beliefs, mostly of a sexual nature (even though I'm a grown-ass 27 year-old woman), you don't want to read this post. There. I warned you.

I've threatened to write a feminist rant multiple times on this here ol' blog, and the time has finally arrived. I knew it was the right time when I attempted to take a nap today and my brain wouldn't shut up. Yes, that's right, I couldn't nap. I had a perfect opportunity to do so, and it didn't happen. That was my sign.

Quick note: the man mentioned in my previous post didn't last much longer. At first I was upset; but I've learned that much better things were in store for me. I'm now part of a much more fulfilling "thingy," if you will, that's also more complex but not to be discussed today. My apologies. (I'm actually not sorry.)

Now, since I joined Tinder, I've had many people tell me that the subsequent bad dates I've experienced and encountered on the blog are somehow my own fault. "Well, you ARE using TINDER, what do you EXPECT?" First of all, the people saying this to me are not single, and have not been in some time. They're also all older than me by 5+ years, generally speaking. To you I say: you have no idea how to date in the modern world. No offense. But in the past few years, dating has turned from meeting through friends or meeting at a bar to meeting online or on an app (see: Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, Grindr,, OKCupid, Farmers Only, Jewish Mingle, Christian Mingle, to name the ones off the top of my head). Yes, of course people still meet via their friends/relatives/bumping into each other in a coffee shop, spilling scalding coffee on their genitals, then glancing up and falling deeply in lust with the person who caused them to have third-degree burns on their junk. Happens all the time, I'm sure. It's just incredibly hard to meet people when you move across the country and know only your aunt, uncle, and young cousin. In the past year plus, certainly, I've met and made friends without the use of Tinder or OKCupid. But I have made friends using Tinder. 

Secondly, as shown in multiple examples on this blog, Tinder is not the cause of these bad dates. My early blog posts on this site are all about NON-Tinder dates! Like the man who told me I remind him of his dead ex-girlfriend. That was just a guy at a bar. It's not the medium, it's the people who use it. Any form of dating is going to contain a lot of creeps; that's half of what Sex and the City was about! And Carrie Bradshaw & co. sure as fuck weren't using Tinder, and they had a lot of horrible dates/boyfriends/one-night-stands. BUT. Not every man on Tinder is a creep. Not every woman on Tinder is a whore; we'll talk more about this in a minute.

Thirdly, and related to SATC, people lament the demise of dating and the rise of hook-up culture (you can look up countless articles on Google) because of apps like Tinder, which I call bullshit on. Hook-up culture has been a thing forever; it has just evolved with technology, just like every other facet of our lives. And hook-up culture and the demise of dating is related, in a lot of ways, to a fear of female sexual agency. One of my friends recently said I'm going through a "Samantha Jones" period, aka the super slutty character on SATC. And she might be right about that, and I don't view that as a bad thing. Neither did she; she admitted Samantha is her favorite character from TV ever.

Samantha was lauded and also dismissed, even by her friends, for her give-no-fucks attitude towards sex. Our society as a whole, though, is totally terrified by a woman having her own sexual agency. This morning I read a piece on Vice about a woman who stopped giving blowjobs and having penetrative sex after her experiences with casual sex stopped being fulfilling. (Her sentence about her casual sex period starting in San Francisco is just spot-on.) The comments, though, are the horrifying parts to me. The fact that she mentions how many men have told her she's a "dumb cunt" for having an opinion about it/refusing to do something in her own casual sex life which none of them will EVER experience just proves how many men are afraid of a woman claiming her sexual power. And there's way too many examples for me to list on this here ol' blog about women treating women poorly for owning their sexualities. Basically, a woman engaging in casual sex of her own choosing is a whore/slut/floozy/ho; a man engaging in casual sex of his own choosing is a man. And that's some serious bullshit. A woman's value is NOT, repeat, NOT based on the number of sexual partners she has had. A woman who has had one partner in her life is no better or worse than a woman who has had 1,000 partners. Seriously. Why the fuck does this still need to be said? Oh right, because of patriarchy ruling our lives and telling us what to do and how to do it (double entendre intended).

(That moment in Closer when Natalie Portman calls herself a floozy for saying "Hello stranger" to Jude Law aka one of my favorite things that has ever happened.)

Which brings me back to Tinder, my own feminism, and sexual identity. Look. I get it. Tinder is not a place to necessarily meet the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. Yet there are people who have met and are now seriously dating, because of Tinder. And who gets to say why I'm on Tinder except for me? Why the fuck should the reason I'm on the site even matter? I'm on it. I'm meeting people. That's it. You are free to judge me and think I'm a floozy; I'm allowed to think you're a judgmental asshat in turn. Am I meeting people just to fuck? No. But if I were, it shouldn't matter. I am allowed to engage in safe, healthy sexual activity of my choosing because I am, again, 27, single, and relatively attractive. I am trying to build a life for myself out here in California. I have a day job in the tech industry that's going well; I have a side job at a winery that I love; and I'm freelance proofreading. I'm looking to move up to San Francisco area because I've fallen in love with the city. Hard. I'm more interested in working on myself than starting a serious relationship. Besides, if I were to try that right now, I know in my heart it would fail miserably. But does that mean I shouldn't casually date a person/few people/however many people I fucking want to? Don't forget, I was in two back-to-back serious relationships for nearly 8 consecutive years; those "promiscuous discover yourself" days of college never happened for me. And for some people, they never happen. That's totally alright! But for myself, personally, this is what feels right, for right now. I can only go with my gut. My feelings are kind of summed up accurately in this Ani DiFranco song:

This post has turned rambling, and isn't quite the perfect, polished piece I was hoping for. But I'm fine with that. Maybe I'll write a follow-up if these points aren't clear. For now, though, what I have to say to people who judge me for my life choices:

UPDATED TO ADD: How did I forget to put in this video from my new favorite person, Matt Bellassai, ranting about online dating? Pure gold.

1 comment: