Alim Kheraj
August 05, 2016 4:34 am
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Dating in 2016 is a tricky business. Gone are the halcyon days of the Sex and the City-era where you could stroll into a bar, meet someone, and hit the dating scene. Instead, online dating and mobile apps are at the forefront of how people meet each other, with apps like Tinder leading the way. Tinder has proved so popular, that Hollywood are even making a movie about it.

We all know that Tinder has it’s ups and downs, and swiping can become a bit obsessive. You might have even swiped left on Zac Efron(!), who claimed that he’s not been too popular on the dating app. There was even a study by the Queen Mary University in London that claimed that men think of Tinder like a video game.

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If that didn’t make dating in 2016 any more complicated, now psychologists have claimed that using Tinder *could* be a sign that you have low self-esteem.

After quizzing 1,044 women and 273 men about their use of Tinder, along with questions about body image, psychological wellbeing, and objectification, scientists found that those that used the dating app were more likely to feel unsatisfied with their appearance and their bodies than those that didn’t.

Researchers also found that those people who were using the dating app were more likely to think of themselves as sexual objects and were more prone to internalize societal expectations of beauty.

“We found that being actively involved with Tinder was associated with body dissatisfaction, body shame, body monitoring, internalisation of societal expectations of beauty, comparing oneself physically to others, and reliance on media for information on appearance and attractiveness,” said Dr Jessica Strubel, a researcher from the University of Texas who co-led the study.

Continuing, she said, “People are living in a surreal world, creating these unattainable ideals and expectations that no one can meet. It’s creating a 24/7 constant need for impression and appearance management.”

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While the study focused primarily on women, results found that it was only the male respondents that said they suffered from low self-esteem.

Co-author Trent Petrie put this down to men now experiencing the societal pressures that women have felt of half a century. “The men, in essence, are put in a position that women often find themselves in, certainly in the dating scene: They’re now being evaluated and are being determined whether or not somebody is interested in them [based on their looks],” he said. “Men may be more likely to get more swipe-lefts. And that can take a toll, perhaps, on those young men.”

The researchers have acknowledged that their sample size was relatively small in terms of the estimated 50 million people that are supposedly using Tinder. Speaking to The Guardian, clinical psychologist Lisa Orban said, “These initial findings do alert us to a possible negative relationship between self-esteem and Tinder, and additional research is certainly warranted.”

“These platforms may not be the best place to get validation that you’re an ok person or you’re attractive,” Petrie said. “Perhaps we want to look a little more inside ourselves, and to our close friends, for that validation.”

We couldn’t agree more. While we’re totally on board with Tinder, we feel that beauty does come from the inside and that no one should ever be judged for what they look like.

As the great RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”

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Can we get an amen?

(H/T BBC Newsbeat)

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