This week Tinder announced that they’re launching a new opt-in setting for their users in India called ‘My Move’. It gives women the choice to be the only one with the power to send the first message – so basically it’s Bumble.
— Tinder India (@Tinder_India) September 25, 2018
There’s a lot of big talk about the impact of the ~revolutionary~ ‘women make the first move’ feature, but branding it as ’empowering’ or even a ‘safety feature’ always feels like a wildly over-enthusiastic exaggeration.
Just take the major oversell doled out by General Manager for Tinder owner Match Group India, Taru Kapoor:
“(Users) can shape their own destiny, connect with people they feel comfortable with and at all points of time, feel in control. Our users have the autonomy, especially women have the autonomy, on how to be engaged, to be empowered, to control their experience.”
I hate to be cynical, but realistically having women send the first message does not majorly change the course of any conversation. If a guy is going to be sexually explicit, racist, rude or any of the other usual brands of gross that women cop on dating apps, they’re going to do it whether or not we send the first wave emoji.
I've had some interesting conversations with some of my female friends about how effective this new feature will be. General consensus seems to be: not very. Would love to hear what you think!
— Rishi Iyengar (@Iyengarish) September 25, 2018
Content filters, heavier scrutiny on users, more thorough identity confirmation processes are just some of the ways that dating apps can actually create a safer space for their non-male users.
I don’t particularly care for advertising that tries to sell me fake empowerment in the form of a fairly-useless first message feature, so let’s not pretend that Tinder or Bumble are doing anything meaningful to cull creeps from my dating feed by just putting the onus on women to look really closely before sending that first message.
Gross men will be gross no matter your opening line.