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Finally, women call online dating toxic. Now to target the apps themselves | Nancy Jo Sales



Iit had to happen. And now it is. Women are finally standing up to the pitfalls of dating app culture and fighting back. Since March 2022, are we dating the same guy? Facebook groups have sprung up in almost every major US city, from New York to Little Rock, for women to report bad digital dating experiences.

What started as small-scale communities are now spreading internationally and have grown to include hundreds of thousands of members. “Boys buckle up,” one TikTok user said in July. “If you abuse a girl or do sketchy things, the time is over, because you get caught.”

Since joining some of these groups earlier this year, what I’ve seen are mostly women trying to protect themselves, including from sexual assault. In a town on the east coast of the United States, a woman posted a date with a man during which he pinned and strangled her without her consent. Other users kindly explained to him his responsibility to report him to the dating app to protect other women. She did, then posted a screenshot saying he’d been banned (a welcome move, but that doesn’t stop her from just joining another dating app and starting over).

Are we dating the same guy? appears to have been started by three women, none of whom sought the limelight (and none immediately responded to requests for comment). Their social media identifying details are sparse, lending an air of mystery to this company’s open-secret quality. You have to be approved to join and agree to a long list of ground rules, which include not sharing any recognizable information about users or their posts in public.

Concerned about protecting members’ privacy, I was hesitant to write about the groups, until I saw a male comedian on TikTok mocking them, calling the women’s complaints frivolous. “‘I saw it in the park, weird posture,'” he joked, mocking the comments from netizens. “’Yellow teeth.’ He would probably say you’re a bitch.

Are we dating the same guy? the groups are full of resistance against misogynistic attitudes, as well as practical advice from women on how to navigate today’s broken dating culture. They offer grief support after being ghosted, warnings about catfishers and the men who scammed them for money. Members give their thoughts on some of the plagues of modern dating, such as “situations,” those relationships that exist in the limbo of non-commitment. “My advice is to never settle for a situation again,” one wrote. “Your heart will be hurt and it never ends well.”

Women are often very funny, sharing stories of bad dates and relationships gone wrong. Or they are sad, many of them, how hard it has become to find true intimacy. “Why is it so hard to meet a gentleman who really loves you?” we asked. “Two words,” replied another. “Sweep the culture.”

The group’s apparent reason, as its title suggests – calling men to cheat or dating multiple women at the same time – is only part of what’s going on. But that’s a big part. Women who have corresponded with men will post their photos to get a glimpse of who they really are, beyond their profiles.

Members will also post a photo of someone they have been dating for a while to find out if they are seeing other people. In one of the most dramatic threads I’ve seen, a married man with four children was exposed for dating women on apps, after women who apparently knew his wife saw the thread and complained. said they would alert him. Often women express their gratitude to each other for the information. “This band is a godsend,” someone said. “I’m so glad we have a community to keep us from falling prey to opportunistic men.”

Are there any downsides to all of this? A key issue is privacy – the privacy of men – which the admins of these groups seem to struggle to protect as best they can, frequently reminding users to be “very, very strict” in enforcing privacy rules. say nothing “accusatory” that could lead to “possible defamation”. The groups are also accused of operating in an increasingly anarchic internet search culture, where social media users on TikTok and other platforms publicly shame men for alleged transgressions, acting as judge and judge. jury, sometimes with real consequences.

The groups also have a decidedly heteronormative orientation, with the majority of users being women discussing primarily cisgender men (although no indication that the groups exclude discussions about LGBTQ+ people or relationships).

But they are also an example of women taking problematic systems into their own hands, to protect themselves from the toxic behaviors that for decades have had a disproportionate impact on women. The reckoning promised by #MeToo was met with predictable backlash. Moira Donegan, the journalist responsible for compiling what was dubbed the Shitty Media Men List in 2017, a viral Google spreadsheet listing alleged sexual harassers in the US media industry, is currently making the subject of a defamation suit. Are we dating the same guy? groups are the whisper network in step with the digital age.

In a study of women who had used a dating platform over the past 15 years, more than a third said they had been sexually assaulted by someone they met on an app. In an ideal world, are we dating the same guy? wouldn’t have to exist, because dating apps would further protect their users. They would vet their users, provide background and age checks, and proof of whether someone is married or not.

These Facebook groups have sprung up and caught fire as a reaction to the widespread and unchecked abuse that plagues dating app culture — from cheating to rape. My only regret is that their members don’t express the same passion they have for exposing male misconduct on the dating app industry itself. Women may have more power in this area than they realize: they can refuse to use dating apps.


theguardian LifStyle

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