One night stands to committed relationships and everything in between aren’t new concepts to people, but now it is becoming easier for people to find what they are looking for.
The first online dating site, “Happy Families Planning Services,”emerged in 1959 with 49 males and 49 females matched based on a questionnaire they filled out. Calling a dating service “Happy Families” was perfect for that time period because that’s what people dreamed of. Continuing through the 2000s, online dating websites have followed this idea of personality tests and questionnaires. All until Tinder came along in 2012.
Tinder, has grown in popularity at alarmingly fast rates over the past four years. With approximately 26 million matches every 24 hours on just this one dating app, people are connecting constantly, but out of all the ways to meet people, what makes Tinder so popular? The nature of Tinder is that you see potential matches and you either swept right or left, to match with them or not.
When people log onto Tinder, they swipe through pictures that the users chose to post, obviously they will chose the pictures in which they look the best. Looking at each of the profiles, there are a lot of people that are trying too hard. Some guys are shirtless and flexing their muscles, so ladies think they are more manly. While some guys post pictures of themselves in suits so they look more professional. By posting pictures like that, it is a form of promoting themselves to feature the best qualities they think they have. Online dating sites like Match and Harmony, have personalities to match compatible people together, but Tinder doesn’t do that. This app is based solely on the appearance. So does this mean people are drifting away from the saying of “don’t judge a book by its cover”?
A recent study, done by MarketTools Inc, explored what people judge when meeting potential lovers. This study proves that people really do look for stereotypical features. The study showed that for men interested in women, the factors that they look for are those with appearance based features like: teeth with 58%, hair with 51%, clothes with 45%, and tattoos with 40%. Although it is generalized that men care about physical features more than women, the study proves otherwise, for women seeking men the percentages are higher in those categories. Women responded that teeth were 71% important, hair at 53%, clothes at 58%, and tattoos at 34%. Tinder exemplifies appearance based judgments because the physical part of a person is all you see when you look at these people on the app.
Some might say that if you match with a person you can message them and get to know them, but that doesn’t steer away from the fact that Tinder can still be morphed by the user. Catfish, the MTV show, is a perfect example of this. People can fall in love with the idea of this perfect person, then be blinded by reality. When you meet people face to face, most people still look at physical features, but then can get to know the person by their personality. For Tinder users, that is less of an option.
An article done by Vanity Fair explains the culture of Tinder perfectly by describing how it truly is used for hookups. In this article, they compare Tinder to online shopping by stating that,”Dating apps are the free-market economy come to sex. The innovation of Tinder was the swipe—the flick of a finger on a picture, no more elaborate profiles necessary and no more fear of rejection…the act of choosing consumer brands and sex partners has become interchangeable” (Sales). Starting relationships online are more difficult because you don’t physically meet the person. Whereas, starting relationships on Tinder is even more difficult because all you see from them is the picture they want you to see, giving Tinder the perfect outlet for people to go for merely just a hookup.
Whether you’re on Tinder or not, the focus on appearance is very relevant. Society as a whole is being drawn away from getting to know someones personality. With the growing use of technology people no longer need to feel connected to the person they are with, making it easier for people to have a casual hookup as opposed to a committed relationship.