We first situate the discourses underpinning contemporary understandings of female heterosexuality, which shape women’s dating and intimate experiences with men in contradictory ways.
We then explicate what Tinder is and how it works, followed by discussing research on technologically mediated intimacies (Farvid, 2015a) before presenting the project details and our analysis.
Its use is seen as particularly dangerous for heterosexual women, resulting in reports of being raped (Hume, 2015; Hodges, 2015), being drugged and gang-raped (Leask, 2014), and even death (Vine & Prendeville, 2014).
Tinder is often portrayed as a risky app that heterosexual women should treat with caution or avoid completely (De Peak, 2014), rather than focusing on the actions of the men who perpetrated such acts or fostering a broader discussion about the high rates of violence against women.
Fifty million people are estimated to use Tinder across 196 countries and the app is particularly popular among young people (Yi, 2015).
Due to its huge popularity, Tinder has attracted great media attention (Newall, 2015), focusing on not only Tinder’s features, but also debates about its place in society (Dating NZ, n.d.).
Tinder is touted as quick and easy to use, providing a fun and entertaining form of communication, as well as an obligation-free platform to meet new people (Newall, 2015).
Although this discourse is supposedly gender-blind, it is intersected by other discourses which affect men and women differently.
For example, an enduring sexual double standard within society means that women are judged much more harshly for engaging in casual sex or displaying an unfettered or desirous sexuality (Farvid, Braun & Rowney, 2016).