You know that friend of yours. The one who asks you which picture they should use on their Tinder and if it properly represents them. They doubt themselves and hope that perhaps one shot of them having ice cream at the park highlights their fun side. You might think perhaps they are just eager to “find a match” and be happily coupled, but it seems there’s more to that insecurity than just a heart that yearns. This innate fear of judgment is suddenly amplified. People are competing against strangers for encounters they can barely anticipate.
In a fast-paced world addicted to instant gratification, it is no wonder why Tinder has become such a part of modern dating culture. The app, which is used by over 50 million people worldwide, offers a quick solution to a problem everyone possesses. However, in the process of advertising themselves, are Tinder users subjecting themselves to painful scrutiny at the price of their self-esteem?
A recent study presented by the American Psychological Association suggests that Tinder users are significantly prone to feelings of low-self worth, negative body image, and even depression. The study, which consisted of about 1000 women and 270 men, aimed to test its psychological effects on its users. Its questionnaire asked subjects about their mental health, body image, sense of objectification, among other things. Those who revealed that they used Tinder (only 10%) were found to feel less satisfied with their physical appearances.
Feelings of depersonalization, insignificance, and sexual objectification were also common within the subjects who reported using Tinder. This comes as no surprise, as all it takes to form a match on the app is physical judgment. Surprisingly, the men surveyed reported stronger feelings of low self-esteem than the women. This could be because men are more likely to use the app and women tend to be subjected to more sexual attention.
The underlying question is whether or not using the app is what causes those feelings in users, or if it’s those same feelings that lead people to use Tinder in the first place. Regardless, it is suggested that the pressure of being sexually evaluated on such a scale may be what causes such emotional stress for anyone using online dating services.
What makes Tinder different, however, is its casual approach to online dating. It does not hide behind the same facade as other sites, which may emphasize romance, common interests, or values within their brand. Tinder is not about love at all, in fact, it is the modern gateway for casual sexual encounters. Its approach is far more straightforward, adding to its success. Its users may be feeling emotionally stressed because they are seeking sexual validation in an environment that implicitly lacks any sense of sentiment. Whether or not that is worth it, is ultimately up to its users.
By Patricia Cardenas