Getting it online sociological perspectives on e dating
As a recovering sociology major (who will, in truth, never “recover”), I couldn’t help but try to make sense of Ok Cupid in the language of social theory.
French theorist Pierre Bourdieu‘s is a bit of a behemoth, but having read every word (with the notes, highlights, and scribbles inside my copy to prove it), I can safely cite it as one of the most perception-altering things I’ve ever read. To summarize the gist of the book, Bourdieu examines how we use taste to figure each other out:“To the socially recognized hierarchy of the arts, and within each of them, of genres, schools, or periods, corresponds a social hierarchy of the consumers.
On Ok Cupid, most women receive so many messages per day that it wouldn’t make sense even in the most bizarre universe for them to also invest time sending messages of their own.
Men are, therefore, expected to do all of the , while women primarily vet the messages in their inbox, overwhelmed with the flurry and consequently making extremely arbitrary choices along the way.
Bourdieu highlights this in relation to the bourgeoisie and the petit bourgeoisie, as well as between the petit bourgeoisie and the proletariat.After a summer of a lot of online chatting and one or two in-person meet-ups, I took a hiatus for a few years, rejoining the site the summer after college.This time, I found myself going on a lot more but still, nothing stuck.As a woman seeking men on the site, I found that it was incredibly easy to dismiss men for the most minuscule “flaws.” Knowing that a whole network of “matches” awaited me with just a few clicks, and knowing that, as a woman, it would be very easy to set up a date whenever I felt like it, I fluttered from date to date, thoroughly enjoying the act of and catching a glimpse of someone else’s life, but never feeling compelled to meet anyone a second time. I had become strangely addicted to sifting through profiles, a novel exercise in self-presentation with a purpose.Sure, personal ads have existed for ages, but the format of a personal ad is quite limited compared to Ok Cupid (or your online dating site of choice, I’m just using Ok Cupid because it’s the only one I’ve used), which combines photographs, a qualitative profile, an extensive personality quiz, socially-assigned ratings, testimonials, and more.