Tinder: how consumerism drastically altered the way we love

Tinder stands for 24 million users, of whom 30% are already married and 12% are already in a relationship. 70% of these ‘love seekers’ already have an account on another dating site and on Tinder, the chance that they would find a match is approximately 1%. But how do applications such as Tinder change our contemporary society? Tinder, infinite choice or a hidden threat to our modern society?

Tinder is a bit like buying a car, you walk through a showroom, different potential matches all around you. One has a beautiful red colour whereas the other has a magnificent model. As time is a valuable thing in the 21st century, you do not hesitate and within a split second you decide if there is a match or not. It is thus no longer about what is inside, it is mainly about the packaging.

Modern love through dating applications is known under the name ‘safety first love’. The forgoing means that while using a dating application people tend to plan everything in order to insure that no unwished surprises can occur anymore. You have selected your partner on basis of his/her picture, music taste and horoscope sign. However, if your partner does not have the same charm as on the picture or turns out to be a Justin Bieber fan or even worse, a virgin instead of a lion, it is already time to look for a new match. A potential lover  then becomes some sort of good which is constantly subject to evaluation and concurrence. This phenomena was first described in the 20th century by Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. He described  the phenomenon of the lowest love, based solely on consuming the other human being whose needs are inferior to ours.

The problem of modern love, lays exactly in the fact that it has been turned into a consuming good. Technology  has not explicitly altered the way in which we love, it has mainly changed our perception of what love is. Love is no longer what is good for both, but mainly what is the best for ourselves. This raises an issue, because what if we all  followed our own self-interest, as Adam Smith encouraged?   A joyful relationship would probably become an illusion.

Although Tinder is a relative new phenomena it could be seen as the newest stage of a bigger change throughout the last decade.  The infinite choice of (sexual) partners has led to people marrying on an older age than ever before or even not marrying at all. Moreover, birth rates have dropped by 60% since 1970 in America. However, the biggest crux of Tinder and Co. is that it, by creating an environment in which we have to constantly promote ourselves in order to become and remain a popular product we fall into insecurity, despair and ultimately, into the loneliness that we wanted to escape so badly.

As the past has proven, society is constantly changing. In such a dynamic environment perceptions of love do not stand still. Maybe it is wise to accept that love is a wonderful thing for which no words and thus no accurate description exists. The packaging would thus not be that important after all.

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