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.