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

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Sunday Special -

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

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