Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Feminist Logs Into OkCupid ...

Okay, this post is not actually a joke. But your trusty blogger has been doing a bit of dating over the past year, mostly of the online variety. Overall, it's been a good experience. But what fun would it be to talk about my dating successes? Instead, let me complain about something I've noticed: a tendency on the part of some dudes to look for a date by criticizing things women do. It drives me nuts.

First of all, it's going to limit your options. If your online dating profile contains a rant about how a woman needs to have nice nails and so many women neglect this part of their hygiene and so forth, [1.] it makes you look like serious bad news, and [2.] it's automatically going to drive away every woman who doesn't use nail polish. Same with requiring that your date "smell nice." I don't even know what you have in mind there, and I'm not going to find out.

Then there are the dudes who think they're somehow getting ahead by denouncing a part of the performance of femininity often seen as "shallow." Hint: if you don't like women who wear makeup, don't message a woman wearing makeup in her profile picture. I mean, that just makes you look like an idiot.

I get the impression that some guys think they can bond with me by criticizing things I don't do. Like the dude who went off on women who get breast implants. This did not endear him to me. And it's a little offensive that anyone would think it might. I don't hold the viewpoint that my femininity is the "correct" femininity; people get to look how they want.

Now, everyone totally gets to have preferences. But you can state those preferences without being a dick. Try "I'm a sucker for beautiful nails" instead of "so many women have poor nail hygiene." This will only work for some things, though; you're better off not talking about how you prefer a "natural" look or whatever. Basically, hetero dudes should keep one thing in mind: no one fucking cares what your particular flavor of patriarchy looks like.


  1. I was just thinking about my OkCupid days. One of the questions that they used to match you was "Do women have an obligation to shave their legs?" Not whether they prefered shaved legs, but whether they believed that women had an OBLIGATION to shave them. I thought it was so ridiculous it was funny until I realized that a significant portion of the male population answered that with a yes. I got some pretty angry answers to my post asking whether they had misread the question or whether they were just jerks.

  2. I wonder how much of it is men who are influenced by Pick-Up Artists who promote the use of "negging" to attract women. I've spoken to women in the past about men who do this (especially in online contexts), and it sounds a lot like attempted negging. As PUA culture has gotten more mainstream, I wouldn't be surprised if more men were influenced by it and its rape culture ways (see George Sodoni: It's very, very scary to me (even more so for women who are affected by these creeps).

    There is a vast gulf between the online dating experiences of myself (a straight, White man) and (straight) women I've talked to.

  3. @Andrew: I think negging might very well influence this behavior.

    I think negging sometimes works because its users are taking the time to notice something specific about the person they're using it on. So someone tired of generic compliments might very well be intrigued by it. Unfortunately, posting comments like these in your profile completely strips negging of this one positive aspect!

  4. Also, let me repeat that overall my experience with online dating has been pretty positive. These dudes are generally ones with whom I've had minimal interaction (because of their obvious douchiness.)