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The Controversy of Tinder

By Mylène Kono


Welcome to the twenty-first century, where all you need to do is swipe to find true love! Or so young people have been made to believe.

One thing is for sure: dating is changing, just as everything seems to be, in the name of modernization. But is it really for the best?

Tinder was controversial at first in 2012, and it remains to this day, despite being the most popular dating app on the market. Initial concerns about this app were how impersonal it was; a few pictures and a biography with a 500-character cap were all users got. These concerns were only amplified as the platform grew in popularity. It began to resemble an online marketplace where people could spend their days nitpicking at others' profiles as they shopped for a soulmate.

Today, Tinder is widely known as a "hook up" app. Young adults sign up in hopes of meeting new people and with (more often than not) the expectation of sex. Although casual sex is becoming decreasingly taboo, it remains something older generations aren't familiar with in the dating scene. Chloe, a Dawson student and a previous user of Tinder, doesn't support this transformation. "Isn't it scary that people are meeting up just for sex? You're doing something so intimate and invasive with someone you barely know," she says.

Right or wrong, swiping on strangers' profiles and exchanging only a few flirty messages before meeting is definitely new. But why are so many young people doing it? Simply put, Tinder discovered the secret to younger generations' hearts before any other dating service did: efficiency. According to a report by the Consumer Insights team of Microsoft Canada, the average attention span today is only eight seconds. Young adults aren't interested in long texts while sorting through dating profiles, just as they don't want to sit around and wait to make acquaintances. Cordelia, another Dawson student who regularly uses Tinder, can attest to this: "I decided to sign up because I was sick of waiting to meet people. It's too slow."

Tinder's growing popularity also played an essential role in its success. Since so many people are using it, others are encouraged to sign up. It's the main reason that Chloe created a profile. However, she quickly realized she wasn't comfortable with the expectation of casual sex that most men had. "I like relationships. I prefer to feel a deep connection before I have sex; otherwise, I feel like I'm being used for my body," she explains.

Edmund, on the other hand, is in a relationship thanks to Tinder. He and his girlfriend were originally only looking to have casual sex. Still, to their mutual surprise, they fell in love. Although uncommon, their luck isn't as rare as one may think. In 2018, 93 of the 1000 couples featured in the Times' Wedding Announcements section had met on dating apps, and 71 in the previous year. People are increasingly beginning their relationships through dating platforms such as Tinder. Odds are, it'll soon become the norm.

As for nearly everything in life, there are differing opinions in regards to Tinder. While to some, it is a revolutionary application that facilitates individuals' connection, to others is a platform that encourages debauchery and ruins dating as we used to know it. Tinder receives a great deal of criticism for the latter. But is Tinder really to blame for the changes we see in the dating scene? Isn't this platform's only fault to have discovered a demand and supplied it? After all, people's needs and desires haven't changed. Humans still crave companionship, intimacy, and sexual satisfaction – Tinder has only modified the way people court potential partners.

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