Swipe right if you are a leftist: Politics gets personal on dating apps
Gone are the days when you talked politics only on the third or fourth date. With political compatibility becoming important to millennials, apps now let you list your views
Everyone has their turn-offs in online dating — some swipe left for bad grammar, others for shirtless and mirror selfies (more so, a combination of the two) or group photos where you can’t fathom whose profile it is. But that’s not all. In an increasingly polarised world, more young people seem to care about political compatibility before they swipe.
For 24-year-old Rahul*, his political convictions supersede everything else. “I would feel terrible if I ignored someone’s politics for a hookup. It would make me feel very shitty about myself,” says the Delhi-resident, who put a ‘ no bhakts’ comment on his Hinge profile which elicited several responses — many agree, some women just want to let him know that they’re right-wing. Whether the topic is Kashmir or lynchings, he wants to cut out potentially toxic moral conflicts. It’s one thing to have disagreements with someone he already knows, but “when I’m looking for new relationships, I don’t want to invest in someone I don’t see eye to eye with,” he says.
Some apps have picked up on the importance of politics to some of
their users by integrating it within their platforms. Hinge and Bumble let you list your political ideology on your profiles — on Hinge, you can pick between liberal, moderate, conservative and other, while Bumble lets you call yourself either left, right, moderate or apolitical. OkCupid has a questionnaire that includes questions such as ‘how important is voting for you?’ and ‘would you date someone who has strong political opinions that are the exact opposite of yours?’. Melissa Hobley, CMO, OkCupid, says that users can choose which questions to answer, and also list how important a certain issue is to them. “OkCupid was designed to help people find love on their terms and this extends to how important or not politics or political opinions are to a person in finding a meaningful connection. So if voting and politics is important to you, the algorithm makes sure to introduce you to people who share similar ideologies,” she says.
OkCupid also conducted a survey of 200,000 Indian singles to figure out how they negotiate dating and political beliefs. They found that 54% of the women would like to match with partners who share their political beliefs whereas only 21% men care.
Counseling psychotherapist Mansi Poddar says this gender discrepancy is unsurprising. “Women are usually aware that political ideology is closely related to gender politics as well. It’s likely that a right-wing person will have different attitudes to women compared to a liberal,” says the Kolkata resident.
Even when ideology isn’t mentioned outright, Tanya*, an academic, says that certain symbols and behaviours can give it away — like “whether it is certain Hindutva icons, some mention of caste like being a Rajput boy or the social media profiles linked to their dating app profiles,” she says.
Political scientist Gregory Huber has researched the relationship beWhen asked which is more important in a match — having good sex, having similar hobbies or having the same political views, having good sex won by a long shot, with 86% of men and 75% of women picking it. 14% of men and
25% of women chose similar political beliefs tween online dating profiles and political ideology. In an interview with Yale News, he said that while politics was far from the most important consideration for singles, it did affect dating patterns. “The term for this is “homophily.” It’s the Greek word roughly for “love of self.” It’s a widespread phenomenon that people are attracted to and find beauty in things that are like them: height, skin colour, religion, all sorts of things. Politics seems to be one of those things that people are conditioning their social relationships on,” he said.
Illustrator and poet Priyanka Paul, 20, says the political content of her work makes it impossible to avoid these conversations. “I was seeing this guy who didn’t vote, and I was so shocked. It becomes this thing where I have to make my partner politically aware, which is a turn-off,” says Paul, who is famous for her series on feminist goddesses.
Ashmita Chatterjee, a master’s student who met her partner on Tinder, says that someone’s political stance is a make or break factor when it comes to anything even remotely long-term. She says: “Given the world now, politics is so deeply personal, and I love the fact that I don’t have to explain and defend my ideas to validate the other person. Why spend time with someone like that, life is endlessly exhausting anyway.”
* Names changed on request
Share of employees that find these phrases annoying (2018) An article in The Atlantic tracing the origins of jargon, says that over the years, different groups have contributed to our vocabulary of buzzwords… Academics like Harvard professor Clayton Christensen coined the term disrupt while management guru Peter Drucker turned people into resources Consultants gave us euphemisms for firing people like streamline, restructure, let go, create operational efficiencies The Wall Street lingo of the 1980s brought financial buzzwords like bottomline, leverage and value add into common use Techie terms like bandwidth, hack, multi-task, and download migrated out of the nerd hub of Silicon Valley to the world
OkCupid surveyed 2 lakh Indian singles to figure out how they negotiate dating and political beliefs Not open to someone who has radical-left or right politics WOMEN MEN Would like to match with partners who share political beliefs WOMEN MEN