The Problem with Dating Apps and Straight Male Entitlement

The Problem with Dating Apps and Straight Male Entitlement

Why the angry post-rejection tirades are seemingly inevitable, and what we can do to prevent them.
Nat Raum
Nat Raum
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I am not immune to the age of Tinder. In fact, I was once a very active user of Tinder, and I still consider myself a fairly active user of other notable online dating app, Okcupid. With my romantic prospects relatively limited due to the size of my school, it doesn’t bother me that an app is one way to meet people outside of my usual bubble that I share common interests with.

What does bother me is the multitude of men I come across on a daily basis that feel entitled to my time, conversation, and sexual favors.

It's no secret that downloading an app like Tinder is the ultimate in No Strings Attached; if you want, you never have to find out the person’s last name and you can still have meaningless sex with them, which as long as both parties are consenting is not a problem in and of itself. It’s the fact that men who download these apps seem to feel that somehow they are guaranteed this experience regardless of how they treat the women they talk to online. They want sex, and they have been promised that they will get it on a casual hookup app such as Tinder.

The problem isn’t that men want to sleep with women they find attractive. The problem is that they often don’t think about things like whether or not there is mutual interest in even just something casual. A woman who lists herself as being interested in casual sex still likely does not want to have casual sex with just any and every guy who messages her “Hey, wanna bang?”

And therein lies the problem. When a woman expresses her lack of interest, even if she does so politely, it’s considered an attack on not just the solicitor, but the entire male population on the app, as a whole. It’s “not nice” and “putting out false information” to say you as a woman want casual sex when you’re not going to just say yes to every single person that asks. Suddenly, you now have a man lashing out because he was rejected by someone he did not even know existed until five seconds before soliciting her, and that anger seems justified to him because that entitlement has been instilled in him from the second he downloaded the app.

This entitlement leads not only to largely unjustified anger, but also coercion and persuasion where it does not belong. Upon saying “no” to sex or an invitation to exchange nude photos, a lot of the men I’ve talked to won’t accept that "no" as an answer, instead choosing to attempt to convince me to change my mind.

This happens because these apps objectify everyone. They reduce a person to five pictures and a few one-liners, like a preview for a product to be sold and consumed. It adds to the entitlement; he has spent so long on this profile and his commodity is irresistible. No one is allowed to say no, and if they do, he must not have done a good enough job selling it.

I have had men say things to me that I would never dream of saying to a complete stranger. I’ve had men who initially messaged me with a compliment immediately turn and go the route of angry appearance-based insults when I express that I am not interested. And as frustrating as it is, I know I can’t blame just them for acting this irrationally. They act this way because they feel they are owed something, and this is a product of an archaic societal construct in which women are supposed to be submissive and compliant to men’s wishes.

This is just one of the growing list of reasons that these men need feminism more than they ever wanted to admit they do: it lowers their highly unrealistic expectations, leading to a lot less hurt and anger in the event that they are rejected by a woman. Approaching a woman expecting sex without acknowledging the possibility that she may say "no" is a great way to set yourself up to be hurt and disappointed, and in turn angry at a woman who did something she has every right to do. Men need a society where they aren’t taught that they can just walk up to a woman and have her eating out of the palm of their hand simply by existing. More importantly, they need to be rid of this toxic idea of men as unstoppable sexual forces, and realize that it's okay not to conform to traditional ideas about what masculinity means. These insecurities about what it means to be male are, after all, entirely constructed.

After being called a series of misogynistic slurs by an Okcupid user, I asked the offender if he ever wondered why he was single. Although it was meant as a stab back at the insult he’d just thrown at me, he replied with an honest “Yes, I do.”

That response made me sad, because a lot of these men don’t realize that this harmful attitude is engrained in them, and likely will never see the problem with it. It is not necessarily their fault; sure, there are exceptions, but a lot of cisgendered heterosexual men act entitled because society teaches them to be this way from birth.

I don’t pretend to have a solution to this problem, but for now, my course of action is to always attempt to educate. It’s hard not to get angry, especially when things get personal, and it’s hard not to be frustrated. But in short, I am not mad at men who act entitled. I am mad at our society for making them that way. These men are angry mostly because they've been taught that rejection is a slight to their masculinity, without which society tells them they are nothing. It's just like being told to "man up" or something of the like. It's another upsetting societal construct, and one we need to eradicate.

Cover Image Credit: Irland News

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Terrors Behind "Toddlers & Tiaras" - Beauty Pageants Need To Go!

Why Honey Boo Boo is not the girl we should be idolizing...

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Honey Boo Boo is famous for her extravagant persona, extreme temper tantrums, overwhelming attitude, and intense sassiness. All of these qualities are shared by many other young girls who participate in beauty pageants - not just in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" but also in TLC's notorious "Toddlers & Tiaras," a show that depicts the horrors of little girls who have dedicated their childhood to winning the crown.

These shows, and the pageants they glorify do nothing but force girls to grow up too quickly, send negative messages to viewers and participants and pose health risks for the girls involved.

Therefore, beauty pageants for young girls should be abolished.

The hypersexualization that takes place in these pageants is staggering. Not only are young girls' minds molded into having a superficial view on beauty, but they are also waxed, spray-tanned, given wigs, retouched in pictures, injected with Botox and fillers, and painted with fake abs and even breasts.

Sexy is the goal, not cute. Girls of ages 2-12 wear skimpy clothing, accentuating only their underdeveloped bodies. A 4-year-old girl on "Toddlers and Tiaras" once impersonated Dolly Parton with fake breasts, another dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (so basically, a prostitute), and another even pretended to smoke a cigarette to look like Sandy from Grease.

In Venezuela, people are so obsessed with pageants that they send their daughters to "Miss Factories," to train them to win. At these factories, underage girls undergo plastic surgery and hormone therapy to delay puberty in attempts to grow taller. In addition, they often get mesh sewn onto their tongues so that they are physically incapable of eating solid food. This idea of taking horrific measures to look slimmer is not unique to Venezuela. A former Miss USA explained that she would "slather on hemorrhoid ointment, wrap herself up with Saran wrap, and run on a treadmill with an incline for 30 minutes to tighten her skin and waist up." Many countries, including France and Israel have banned child beauty pageants because it is "hypersexualizing." Why has the US yet to follow in their footsteps?

Additionally, the pageants strip their young contestants of a childhood by basically putting them through harsh child labor. Oftentimes, girls as young as 18 months old participate in pageants. There is no way that a girl under 2 years old has the capacity to decide for herself that she wants to participate in a beauty pageant. Not to mention, education often takes a backseat in pageant girls' lives as long practice sessions interfere with sleep and homework. This causes long-term distress for the contestants, including widespread unemployment for former pageant girls.

Moreover, these pageants tie self-worth and self-esteem to attractiveness. They teach girls that natural beauty and intelligence are not enough, when in actuality they should be doing the opposite. In fact, 72% of pageant girls hire coaches to train girls to be more "attractive."

Finally, these pageants pose potent health risks for the girls competing. Not only do intense rehearsals interfere with their sleep cycles, but they are also impacted by the harmful methods taken to keep them awake. One example is Honey Boo Boo's "go go juice" - AKA a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. She is known for drinking this continuously throughout pageant days to stay awake and energetic - but the health risks associated with the drinks, let alone for such a young girl, are completely ignored.

And, the future health problems associated with pageantry cannot be looked past. Participating in beauty pageants as kids leads to eating disorders, perfectionism, depression - in fact, at least 6% suffer from depression while competing. "The Princess Syndrome," as Psychology Today calls it relates to a small study published in 2005 that showed that former childhood beauty pageant contestants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction. This sense of dissatisfaction can so easily be translated to more severe mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The average BMI (Body Mass Index) of a Beauty Contestant in the US in 1930 was 20.8, which is universally in the middle of the "healthy" range. In 2010, it was 16.9, which is considered underweight for anyone.

So, despite the entertainment these shows and pageants provide, they should most definitely be stopped due to the immense amount of issues they cause for those involved and those who watch.

Although Honey Boo Boo is (sadly) considered one of America's sweethearts, her experience in pageantry has certainly not been a positive influence in her life nor in the lives of her fans - and this is the case for nearly all young pageant girls.

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