Numerous success stories have also been reported, where people have found the ‘love of their life’ via Tinder (Scribner, 2014).
Alongside these positive depictions, the app is also depicted as promoting superficiality (by only focusing on physical appearance), being a ‘hook up app’ that fosters promiscuity (Dating NZ, n.d.), and increasing the spread of sexually transmitted infections (Cohen, 2015).
In this paper we begin to address this gap by reporting on a small research project that examined five young heterosexual women’s experiences of using Tinder in New Zealand.
We argue that Tinder was situated within (and reproduced) a contradictory domain imbued elements of both pleasure and danger.
Although this discourse is supposedly gender-blind, it is intersected by other discourses which affect men and women differently.
For example, an enduring sexual double standard within society means that women are judged much more harshly for engaging in casual sex or displaying an unfettered or desirous sexuality (Farvid, Braun & Rowney, 2016).
Women are also often held responsible for any negative impacts that may come as a result of sexual activity (Beres & Farvid, 2010).
Although such discourses have undergone some shifts since Hollway’s analysis (as discussed below), they continue to underpin how we understand contemporary male and female heterosexual sexuality.
We first situate the discourses underpinning contemporary understandings of female heterosexuality, which shape women’s dating and intimate experiences with men in contradictory ways.
We then explicate what Tinder is and how it works, followed by discussing research on technologically mediated intimacies (Farvid, 2015a) before presenting the project details and our analysis.
Tinder is marketed as a social networking app that is typically used as a dating app or for making new friends in new places (Newall, 2015).
The app is designed to be quick and easy to use, with a simple platform that is sleek and visually attractive.
Over the past two decades, Western ideals of heterosexual femininity and women’s sexuality have been shifting.