The conversations the dating app Tinder turns five, new research shows men who regularly use the app have more body image concerns and lower self-esteem.
The research found Tinder users reported lower levels of satisfaction with their faces and higher levels of shame about their bodies. And users were also more doubtless to look at their bodies as sexual objects.
This is hardly surprising given that Tinder’s “evaluative factors” have the potential to intensify preexisting cultural beauty ideals. The app’s “swipe right to dismiss” facility, along with the limited variety of words a user will write on their profile means look to take center stage. In alternative words, the additional conventionally engaging your photos are, the more likely you are to be clicked, swiped or hit upon by alternative users.
But whether men use ignitor or not, most can report dissatisfaction with some side of their look. This might be something from the peak, body hair, muscularity, skin tautness, shoe size, penis size, facial symmetry, head hair quantity and a lot of. Sadly, there are few areas of the body men don’t criticize with.
The body beautiful?
Over the last few decades, boys’ and men’s appearances have come under increasing scrutiny. This is largely because in the 1980s businesses finally started exploiting a relatively untapped market: the appearance insecurities of men.
To demonstrate – today men are sold anti-cellulite cream for their pecs, hair transplants for his or her facial hair and “mascara” for his or her eyes. Then there are the boys’ action dolls that have gained muscle and lost body fat with each successive edition. Add this to the fact that 80 percent of the men featured in popular media such as Men’s Health magazine are of a muscular body build – with many of these models taking drastic measures in the weeks leading up to photo shoots to make sure they look lean.
These models also tend to possess a full head of hair and symmetrical faces. Identical goes for porn sites – wherever almost all of the men featured are equally ripped and stereotypically “handsome”.
It’s unsurprising then that boys today feel they are growing up in a world which focuses heavily on their appearance. Of course, this is a problem that has plagued women and girls for decades. And in the way that this has compact women for this long, now this pressure is impacting on boys’ well-being. One recent study found virtually one in 5 boys had resorted to diet pills, purging, skipping meals, steroids or tanning merchandise to vary their appearance.
But beyond look pressures, dating apps are doubly damaging as a result of they often operate in a sphere where sexual racism is commonplace.
The dating app OKCupid recently analyzed sexual racism among 1m of its male site users. The company found that compared to black, Asian or minority ethnic users, white users got additional messages. White users were conjointly found to be less probably to reply or match with users of a unique race to themselves, and more likely to question interracial marriage.
Recent research from Australia also found that fifteen p.c of gay men on the dating app Grindr enclosed sexual racism on their profiles. This was more likely to be the case if the profile user was white and if the user held broader racist views.
I too have noticed gay men who write offensive terms that specify race preferences on their profiles – like “Black=block”, “no gaysians” or perhaps “no chocolate or rice”. In its terms and conditions, Grindr bans offensive speech. Which is in part why, three years ago, I started a Twitter account, @GrindrRacism to encourage Grindr to remove offensive profiles. Disappointingly Grindr has often been slow to act though – meaning sexual racism is still present in the app.