The idea of women being treated like public property has been explored in filmed public experiments such as the recent cat-calling expose that went viral, where a woman walked the streets of New York wearing a camera.
Mixed reactions to that experiment ranged from:
- Disgust – “This is wrong. Women have the right to walk down the street without receiving sexual advances.”
- Defensive – “Not all men are like this.”
- Indifference – “What’s the big deal? She should be flattered by the attention.” This response came from both women and men.
In the age of online dating, the “New York city street experience” can be felt on dating apps like Tinder where an aggressive, hyper-sexual form of internet cat-calling has become increasingly common.
Google “Tinder pickup lines” and you’ll read messages that vary from lame to comical to sexually threatening such as:
“We’re having sex because I’m stronger than you.”
While the app itself cannot fully control the behavior of its members, it can be argued that they do little to actually facilitate the matchmaking process or enforce a code of conduct through flagging/deleting repeat offenders. And now that Match owns Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OK Cupid, aggressors can jump from one platform to another.
The #BreakupWithTinder campaign (breakupwithtinder.com) aims to shine a light on this and call for women (and men) to take a stand by doing one of two things:
- Change your profile picture on Tinder to a photo of you holding a sign with the hashtag.
- Or, submit a photo of yourself holding a sign with the hashtag or post it to social media with the hashtag.
Behind the campaign are the female founders of Neqtr, the self proclaimed anti-Tinder. Neqtr is an invite-only app that helps socially conscious people meet, for love or for friendship. In their launch video below, they poke fun at the app by re-enacting some of the worst Tinder pickup lines.
Since launching the campaign, Neqtr has already received criticism from men, which was expected and a natural part of the discussion they were hoping to start. Some argue Tinder is not responsible for the behavior of its members. Others claim it’s naïve for women to expect to be treated with respect on those apps.
While women have come to expect cat-calling, there does seem to be an attitude of indifference when it comes to women being sexualized, whether it’s on the street or online. Some even suggest that if women want to be respected, they should avoid certain places, certain websites, etc rather than expecting more from those who actually make the comments.
“It may be overly idealistic, and we’re not expecting to turn these sorts of guys into gentlemen. We’re just getting a discussion started about the female experience, knowing that the discussion will include opposing viewpoints which is welcomed.” Says Neqtr Marketing Manager, Mariela De La Mora.
She admits: “We know these comments only represent a small population of men. But they ruin it for the good guys. We’ve met so many amazing men who keep telling us they have a hard time getting women to respond to their messages. Women say it’s because they are overwhelmed with creepy pickup lines, which puts them on a defensive front. We are changing that with Neqtr, and we’re starting by letting women know this experience does not need to be the norm.”
Neqtr’s Founder & CEO, Sonya Davis, explains why she started the #BreakupWithTinder campaign:
“The recent Vanity Fair article, Tinder and the Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse, reinforced why we launched this campaign. At Neqtr, we’re giving people a chance to find quality partners and make deeper connections while doing good. We want to help women to feel empowered, and help good guys meet great women.”
Visit breakupwithtinder.com to join the movement and let your voice be heard. With your help, Neqtr hopes to bring integrity back to online dating.