Internet

Love in the time of CAA: Do your political opinions decide who you date?

With Valentine’s Day barely a week away, it is one of the busiest times for online dating apps — so what makes you swipe right?

During the crackdown on social media sites like Facebook in December, student activists turned to dating apps to mobilise protests against the implementation of CAA and NRC. Going beyond activism, in these times of divisive politics in the country, a potential partner’s political affiliation has gained new importance. While markets like the US have seen this trend — especially in the wake of Donald Trump’s election in 2016 — India’s woke millennials and Gen Z have been on a similar path over the past couple of months. And dating apps are taking note.

Recently, OKCupid released three questions to understand the political sentiments of the dating millennial and if their stance on the act has impacted or can impact their dating lives. Based on the responses of over two lakh users, a majority of people are open to dating someone who has a strong inclination for the right or left wing, as long as it’s not violent. Melissa Hobley, CMO, says, “Surprisingly, women care more about their partner’s political leanings than men.” Sharing match questions like these on your profile can “help potential dates see who you are”.

That time of the year

With Valentine’s Day barely a week away, it is one of the busiest times for online dating apps. “In fact, Tinder activity reaches an all-time high between January 1 and February 13,” says Rashi Wadhera, communication lead at Tinder India. Competitiors OKCupid and Bumble’s numbers concur with this uptick. Current hot topics of conversation are climate change and pets, and for some reason, an increased popularity for astrology and star signs. A regular on several dating apps, Bengaluru-based Prashant R*, finds that the political mentions are usually subtle. “But I’ve also been seeing bios that say ‘If you’re right wing, move along’,” he says.

Meanwhile...
  • Any seasoned web user would be wary of the ‘Hot Singles Near You’ pop up advertisement. But what if it came from a popular website like Amazon? In time for Valentine’s Day, the Internet giant has partnered with creatives and animation studio Thinko to create a spoof dating site called amazondating.co. It reimagines the shopping user interface to showcase people — complete with ratings, reviews and “product” details. The viral website has some hidden gems as well: Prime Video links to ChatRoulette; Your Last Relationship to a video of ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears; and Don’t See What You’re Looking For takes you to Netflix.

Bumble, the Priyanka Chopra-backed dating/networking app, believes that political beliefs can have an impact on whom you want to connect with. Users can indicate their political beliefs as a badge on their profile, choosing from apolitical, moderate, liberal and conservative — or skip. “They also have the option to filter their matches based on this,” explains Priti Joshi, vice president strategy at Bumble.

However, Tinder takes a contrarian approach. “The motivation for us is to empower users to make diverse connections and break preconceived notions. That being said, people are free to share their beliefs in the bio, and if it matters to others, they will swipe right or left,” says Wadhera. Anita C* from Delhi, who uses the app during her travels across the country, agrees that it can lead to needless confrontation, which can hinder the experience of just trying to meet someone new. “Politics is hardly appropriate to talk about on a first date, let alone put on your profile. If we have differing views, but the chemistry works, perhaps we will agree to disagree,” she concludes.

*Names changed to protect identity and future matches

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 9:38:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/love-in-the-time-of-caa-do-your-political-opinions-decide-who-you-date/article30762931.ece

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