All posts edited by Madeline Ricchiuto.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Grindr - Only for gay men?

I read an article today on PinkNews written by a gay man and his view of Grindr. More broadly he discusses his views on Questioning and Bisexual men and their use of the mobile dating application. For those of you who are straight and don't know what Grindr is, or anyone else who isn't sure about what it is, its a mobile dating application that specifically caters to gay men. On the app you create a profile and can upload a picture and put a short description about yourself and basic stats. Like many of these kinds of things the app is regularly used as a hook-up app, although thats not to say that people don't also use it to find dates. Here is a video by DaveyWavey (I love him) as quick introduction to the app:

Anyway this person, Christopher Gen, Talks about how there seems to be an increase in 'straight' men who aren't there for a relationship, but only want to 'try it out' or have a girlfriend or are married. This is something he finds abominable and he expresses this view at great length. Specifically Gen says, "if you really look at it, past the provocative pictures and school-boy fantasies, it’s really not that flattering; it’s actually down right degrading."

Gen continues saying things such as, "It belittles the gay community; the fact that we’re seen as mere playthings by some orientation-challenged men who, once they’ve had their fun, toss us to the side like last season’s clothes is degrading. Many people struggled with their sexuality and for some coward to come along and request us to do the job that his girlfriend/wife can’t, and then simply ignore us afterwords, is pathetic."

One of Gen's major objections seems to be that he "severely dislike[s] being treated like a piece of meat or, more aptly, a quick snack." This right off the bat smacks of arrogance and a false assumption that only straight men are on the app to 'find a piece of meat'. Grindr is known for being an easy way to get hook-ups and NSA (no strings attached) 'fun'. To many that is part of its appeal. So I'm not buying this person's position. I mean here are some of the types of guys on Grindr: 

And of this talk of belittling and degrading. Honestly I don't really by it. I don't see it as much more degrading or belittling as the gay boy on the site who claims to be in a committed relationship but still seems to be looking for a quicky. If your problem is that they are in the relationship thats completely different than them being 'quasi-gays' or some of the other derogatory ways with which this person refers to to people. 

Gen mentions above how many people have struggled with their sexuality yet, in the case of those on Grindr it seems he doesn't care whether the 'straights on vacation', or married men, or the bi guys (whom the author scoffs at as if they aren't 'trying it'), may be struggling or figuring out their own sexual identities. He only cares that they don't seem to identify as being homosexual. He seems to dismiss that the app may very well be very useful for those who are trying to figure out their sexual preferences/identity. For a person who feels the need to try something Grindr is ideal to find a way to do so discreetly. 

Rather than take many factors into consideration Gen prefers to demonize anyone not gay on a men seeking men app.

Gen continues his tirade and addresses a 'trust' problem. "It’s a danger because these ‘quasi-gays’ tempt and lure; they flirt and build trust. They request pictures, get their jollies and then suddenly vanish and we’re left lingering, feeling empty, scratching our heads and pondering where they went (just tell yourself that their passport expired and they’ve been deported back to Narnia. It’ll soothe the burn.)" 

I find this kind of reasoning extremely problematic. First of all if they have told you they are just here to 'try it out' or that they aren't looking for anything more than exploration then what are you trusting? Why is it their fault that you have put unrealistic expectations up? Almost certainly they've told you they aren't out or need to be discreet. They probably don't even have a picture of themselves up. Exchanging pics and leaving it there is common on Grindr and other such applications. Its part of why people advise not sending pictures. And again Gen implies that somehow a 'quasi-gay' doing this is somehow a danger but an 'actual gay' isn't? I don't see how their orientation plays a factor in this.

Really it just seems to me that this person has their angered directed at the wrong people or things. It seems they are angry with the general goings on of an application that promotes a culture of promiscuity/anonymity and hook-ups where they were expecting something more long term. Maybe they got burned by one of these straight men who look for sex on there but I do not see any reason to be calling all men who don't identify as gay as belittling or endangering homosexuals merely for wanting to have discreet sex or see pics of them.

You can read Gen's full post here. Feel free to leave comments below!
UPDATE: I've written more on Grind here and here.

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