Constructed Identities and Perpetuated Inequalities in App Dating
This study seeks to investigate the ways in which individuals make sense of the nearly overwhelming amount of information they are presented with in an application like Tinder, and the ways in which their experiences at the confluence of the digital and “real” worlds are informed by various forces, including race and ethnicity. In particular, it seeks to determine how the experiences of marginalized groups are represented (and underrepresented) through the design and use of the app. By engaging with students at the University of Pennsylvania through a series of semi-structured interviews, this study reveals that users are enmeshed in a constant and ever-evolving relationship with the app. They appear to be endlessly renegotiating how they make sense of their own expectations and desires, as well as the means by which they attempt to speak to something broader than themselves.