Love + Sex, Love

If you’re woke, it’s harder than ever finding love these days

I've finally let go of the idea that I'll be able to find someone on the same page as me politically.

In New York City, the amount of people that are on Tinder seems limitless. A person can swipe left and right all day in hopes of finding love, sex, someone to hang out with, or just someone to talk to. People write up witty bios and post pictures from their most recent vacations in the hopes of impressing the infinite users of Tinder. Potential romance is sought out by a mere swipe of the thumb – everyone is replaceable. 

Whether we’re swiping left, right, or sliding into DMs, dating in the technological age is all that many of us seem to know. With the hopes of finding a “woke” bae, Tinder bios have self-declarations like “male feminist”, “Marxist” and“intersectional feminist” in them. Here and there, I’ll see a quote by Malcolm X or Audre Lorde and photos that scream “I’m an activist!”  

Women are objectified on and off Tinder. Click To Tweet

Watching people perform their politics with hashtags, quotes and photos in order to solicit a certain type of person is…unsettling. Dating apps and social media haven’t ruined dating or changed how women are viewed, they accentuated certain aspects of our dating culture that already existed. Women are objectified on and off Tinder, on Tinder people use their thumbs in real life, men see what they like and they mentally swipe left or right with every woman they meet in hopes of getting a chance to talk to a woman they find suitable. Catering their looks, language, and politics to fit a woman’s interests is no different than curating a bio online. 

Women are objectified on and off Tinder, on Tinder people use their thumbs in real life, men see what they like and they mentally swipe left or right with every woman they meet in hopes of getting a chance to talk to a woman they find suitable. Catering their looks, language, and politics to fit a woman’s interests is no different than curating a bio online. 

On social media, we get to read for ourselves the parts of a certain person’s life that they want to present. When someone’s “quiet” on social media, we become skeptical. But don’t people only share a small part of who they are with people in real-life too? Dating apps aren’t the only spaces that people only present the best version of themselves, we do this everyday as people in every space it’s just more blatant and obvious online. 

Dating apps aren’t the only spaces that people only present their best versions. Click To Tweet

Women are only viewed as objects that solely exist for male desire, therefore they are replaceable in the male gaze. Every time we post a picture or walk outside, our place in society is solely defined by our physical appearance and performance of gender identity. The closer it cozies up to the conventional, white supremacist beauty standards set by this heteropatriarchal society, the better.

When we critique how dating has changed because of social media, we must keep in mind that viewing women as objects was already something we as a society has socialized and made normal. Even when I’m covered from head to toe, the only thing that changes is the kind of comments I get about my appearance. Instead of ‘hey beautiful’ I get to be harassed with ‘salam sister, you ain’t going to say salaam back?’

But I can’t expect everyone’s politics to be perfect.

I’ve finally let go of the idea that I’ll be able to find someone on the same page as me politically. Just because someone is “woke” doesn’t automatically mean they’re a good person. I’ve met countless people that are just rude, but their politics? Amazing.

But I can't expect everyone’s politics to be perfect. Click To Tweet

There was this one guy who once told me that there was no reason for me to need to work if he was working and it’s feminist for me to decide to stay at home, weaponizing my feminist politic against me to push his fantasies of having a woman he can control onto me. If I decide to stay at home while my husband works, then it’s feminist. Deciding for me what I will do and telling me it’s feminist is not feminist.

There’s comfort in knowing that the person you’re dating shares the same views as you, but what’s even more important is being with someone who understands you and is willing to learn and unlearn. This doesn’t mean that you have to tolerate bigotry, though. 

Our place in society is defined by our physical appearance and gender identity. Click To Tweet

Is there a way you can love someone and have them love you back without being oppressive? Probably not, but one can try. Validating each other’s experiences and listening to each other’s concerns is a nice place to start.  Today, dating culture consists of being “emotionally dead” and detached; we need to unlearn that in order to let love in.  

I leave you with this quote: “The practice of love offers no place of safety. We risk loss, hurt, pain. We risk being acted upon by forces outside our control.” ― Bell Hooks, All About Love: New Visions

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Najma Sharif

Najma Sharif

Najma Sharif is a Somali-American writer living in New York City. She's focused on writing about identity, race, history and pop culture.

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