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Its use is seen as particularly dangerous for heterosexual women, resulting in reports of being raped (Hume, 2015; Hodges, 2015), being drugged and gang-raped (Leask, 2014), and even death (Vine & Prendeville, 2014).
Tinder is often portrayed as a risky app that heterosexual women should treat with caution or avoid completely (De Peak, 2014), rather than focusing on the actions of the men who perpetrated such acts or fostering a broader discussion about the high rates of violence against women.
The sociocultural context in which women find themselves continues to involve elements of both pleasure and danger (Farvid & Braun 2013; Vance, 1984).
Such contradictions provide the backdrop within which women traverse technologically mediated domains such as Tinder, online dating and mobile dating.
Although there has been immense media interest in Tinder, virtually no published research on people’s experiences of using the app exists.
With desirous female sexuality, autonomy and power are celebrated publicly (Evans, Riley & Shankar, 2010).In what continues to be a society governed by patriarchal power relations, struggles against sexual assault and gender-based violence remain life-threatening risks for women (Gavey, 2005; Vance, 1984).At the same time as women are encouraged to explore their sexuality and be sexually active, explorative and experienced (Farvid, 2014; Farvid & Braun, 2006) they are warned against, and live in a context where, there are real material risks associated with doing so (Farvid & Braun 2013, 2014).Due to its huge popularity, Tinder has attracted great media attention (Newall, 2015), focusing on not only Tinder’s features, but also debates about its place in society (Dating NZ, n.d.).Tinder is touted as quick and easy to use, providing a fun and entertaining form of communication, as well as an obligation-free platform to meet new people (Newall, 2015).
In her highly influential work, Wendy Holloway (1989) identified three discourses governing contemporary heterosexuality (which produce different subject positions and types of power for men and women): the male sexual drive discourse, the have/hold discourse, and the permissive discourse.