Monday, February 3, 2014

Re: "Is Discrimination on Grindr Killing Gay Sex?"

A very emotional reader sent me this article and "dared" me to contradict it. Sweet, I love truth and/or dare, bro.

Full disclosure: I have really never actively used Grindr besides this occasion, and have never met up with anyone through it. I will also admit that, yes, being an attractive white male in our society is objectively easier than being almost anything else. That said...

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Grindr was created, according to its inventors, to make socializing easier...However, as any movie about science or technology tells us, what is a simple genius invention often runs afoul of the maker's intent in the hands of mere mortals -- and especially horny mortals.
Oh yeah, I'm sure the Grindr inventors never imagined, let alone intend, that the app would "run afoul" in such an unpredictable way as people evaluating and sexualizing each other. Cool story, bro. Also glad to hear you're getting your information from "movies about science [and] technology."
As a queer Latino gay man of size, logging on to Grindr is a casual masochistic reminder that, in the mainstream gay male community, my body is not welcome. 
Are you a masochist or not? If you are not, then stop logging on. It's not complicated: avoid things you don't like. If you are a masochist then that implies you enjoy the torture, so stop bitching. Also, "man of size"? Wow.
Messages like "NO ASIANS," "NEG U B 2," and "MASC ONLY" invalidate gay men like me daily. 
Again, looking on Grindr for validation is foolish. In fact, maybe stop depending on strangers in general for validation, digital or otherwise. And yeah, good Samaritans would sleep with people they aren't attracted to and/have diseases just to be nice. 
How did a tool that was meant to facilitate conversation become the prime example of the gay community's -- like the rest of humanity's -- worst tendencies, like racism, sexism, misogyny, ageism, ableism, fat shaming, elitism, transphobia, homophobia and serophobia?
Human's gonna human. And this is your last reminder to stop pretending Grindr was invented by nuns. Also fat shaming, for those who are not fat by genetics or something uncontrollable, is not the same as some of those other targets which can't be controlled. 

What does someone in the 1 percent of Grindr's sexual economy look like? He has white skin, he has a weight that begins with "1," he is cisgender, in his 20s, completely able-bodied, has a full head of hair, has either slightly defined or very defined abs, has a dusting of body hair, is masculine and is HIV-negative. These men are what you might call "sexual gatekeepers." Just as the 1 percent of America's economy has unlimited access to the services and privileges they need, Grindr's 1 percent has the privilege of determining who has access to them and when and where they will get serviced.
Not an apt comparison. The rich are privileged because they are rich. Who is sought after sexually is determined by everyone except the person themselves. No one is forcing anyone to be attracted to or "service" anyone. It's a pretty standard supply and demand system. Yes it's partly manufactured by a huge conspiracy between the twitterz and Utubes and The Media, and Hollywood, et cetera, but we are evolved to be attracted to physical fitness and good looks to some degree.
In literary studies or fiction writing, "round" characters are fully realized characters who jump off the page, while "flat" characters are 2-D, and stand out for the qualities they lack. 
Wow, you must have been an English major, guy!
In the world of Grindr, a landscape dominated by a 2-D square interface, everybody is a victim of personality "flattening," and, by extension, becomes more and more defined by that which society says they lack. While people used to look into the future and see technology as making fantasies come true -- flying cars! teleporters! -- the truth of technology in the 21st century is that it doesn't deal in fantasy. It heightens reality -- racism, misogyny, etc. -- in all its grotesqueness.
Again, if you don't want your special snowflake-ness to be flattened into two dimensions, then do not use hook-up apps. And the implication that technology has not been beneficial to society is absurd. Of course it has negative side effects--almost everything does--but the luddite perspective is asinine. Here let me put it in terms you can understand:

P.S. Fuck Microsoft.
People often confuse "having a type" with taking the freedom to shoot other people down. 
What is it that one "ought" to do when they are not attracted to someone? Mercy fuck them? Date or marry them just to be nice? I think most would agree that in this scenario, the person should be straight forward and simply say they are not interested in a nice way. But wait, that's exactly what they are doing by putting "Sorry, not interested in older or x". I think it's much shittier to lead people on and make them think they have a chance, than to just be up front that you aren't interested.

Why, in a profile meant to discuss you, do you take the time to talk about the people who can't have access to your body? 
Maybe because you aren't interested in having sex with overweight, old people? And if you don't specify what you are and are not looking for the result is a large waste of time?  This point is kind of like saying "Why do all gays reject and invalidate women?" They don't. They just aren't attracted to them. Why is it different to say "not attracted to women" than to say "not attracted to <anything else>?
Many people would say the very definition of privilege is when you have the luxury of not having to think about something or have it affect you -- the luxury of having free and open access to sexual partners is no different.
Societally unattractive people assume that societally attractive people popped out of the womb with six packs, and generally that they were just born attractive. While genes do play a role, there are many, many people on an app like Grindr that worked their faces off to look the way they do. In fact, anyone over the age of about 25 definitely invested a lot of time and effort into their fitness and diet, so fuck off with your victimizing "it's just so easy for them" bullshit. 
Many people, gay men included, cling to false notions -- "I can't help it! It's just what I prefer!" -- when discussing their sexual preferences. However, preferences are always socially constructed.
Yes, there is absolutely a socially constructed component to what we find attractive. No, preferences are not always constructed. Read … Think …  Write.
The list of characteristics of Grindr's 1 percent is also a fairly representative list of many of Hollywood's hottest celebrities, its most powerful men with the most cultural and social capital. These are characteristics we're told to desire. I don't know about you, but I hate being told how to think. 
I hate being told how to think, but I write lengthy articles telling people how to think. 
Sex on Grindr is often sex between sheep. But, sex can be an act of resistance and meaningful exchange -- if you make it one.
They are "sheep" because they won't have sex with you? Sex as an act of resistance? Does anyone actually read these articles before they get published?
As more apps that serve more "niche" audiences appear... blah blah blah death of sex and intimacy... blah blah blah my older queer activist friends often tell me about sex from an earlier era blah blah blah sex was organic and intimate. Blah blah blah Chipotle to McDonalds... blah blah blah boasts sex as fast food...blah blah I encourage us to use more than just our thumbs. Blah blah blah we can't repeat history and microaggress blah blah blah litmus tests for genuine connections.

Rabble, Rabble. 

In sum, no, there's no reason to put mean shit in your profiles, but where do you draw the line between "invalidating" and stating preferences? Should all attractive people be forced to date and mate with unattractive people? Are both sides trying to make this binary, yet again?

sǝʎ `sǝʎ `ǝlppıɯ ǝɥʇ uı ǝɹǝɥʍ ǝɯos :sɹǝʍsuɐ


  1. ex-fuckingzacting dude

  2. I could never put my thoughts into words on this. thanks again

  3. You gave him the brutal truth, which is is probably what he needed to hear. You didn't fall into validating his perceived victimization.

    Reading his comments made me think about something similar on the straight side: True Forced Loneliness movement (google it).

    PS: You often find some of the most provocative pictures to include in your posts. It really caught my attention.

  4. It's funny how offended some gays feel to certain things that are taken for granted for many straight people. Lots of girls I know only go for guys of a specific background, yet no one would ever call them out as 'racist'. You see it all the time, white girls who only go for white guys, or asian girls only going for asian guys.

    And what do you call a 40 year old man hitting on an 18 year old girl? Imagine if that girl is your sister/daughter, you'd think the guy's a creepy pervert. But you'd be starting a civil war and condemned as 'ageist' if you said as much to a 40 year old gay guy hitting on an 18 year old guy. It's ridiculous

  5. I think part of the problem is that people in general are pickier online: our active selection biases are narrower than our passive selection biases. E.g., you might talk to someone in meatspace who, online, you considered to be outside your window.

    That being said, the line between preference and prejudice is pretty damned fuzzy. Most of the time, people aren't being actively prejudiced in their dating choices, but we're all conditioned by various factors well before we start thinking about sex and dating. That doesn't mean we're "responsible", but perhaps it does me we should be at least open to the experience of dating outside our "types" once in a while (so long as the experience is still enjoyable; I'm no advocate for masochism).

  6. it's an app that functions as an anonymous sex meetup accelerant, what do you expect!? When anonymity plays a role of course people are going to act their worst - hence the heinous bullshit put on youtube comments or the fact that if there isn't any social accountability for your true feelings, you're going to let them be known. people should not expect decency on grindr, they should expect dick pics and people that don't have patience for meatspace (I really like that term from the previous comment).

    now Tinder! Tinder is where it's at!

  7. I know that in real life I am not a picky person. I am pretty much attracted to all body types and I don't even really care if the guy I'm dating has an unattractive face. When someone I'm dating does have a nice body or a hot face, I view those things as bonuses.

    When I'm looking to hook up though, it's a completely different story. I want to find a nice piece of ass. That's called hooking up.

    I think that writer is making the incredibly common mistake of looking at Grindr as something that is actually supposed to help people out. It's possible, but that's not what 90% of the people are there for. So trying to hold it up to what it's not is just ridiculous and misguided.

    I will say though that people on grindr could be a little less straightforward with their preferences. Instead of posting "no blacks no fatties" in their prof, they could just do what they already do IRL and ignore anyone who they're not attracted to. I would also say that Grindr skews very young, so many of these less than accommodating Grindr probably just don't get why it's not cool to post shit like that, even on a hook up app.

    I also take serious issue with people who claim victimhood. Fuck people with money, hot people, white people, fuck them to hell! Woe is me for not having those things. Yeah, good luck getting anywhere thinking you're a total victim.

  8. Great post, as always. I always find myself agreeing with your entries, and this was no exception.

  9. Please remove adie's pics or I'm gonna have to report this