We all are guilty of posting some very questionable things on our Tinder pages to boost our desirability and attractiveness. But this new generation of Tinder users, collectively labelled as the Humanitarians of Tinder, are taking volunteer tourism programs to another level.
For those being introduced to the concept of voluntourism for the first time – it is the practice of individuals on working holidays; volunteering their labour for a worthy cause such as restoration of the environment, alleviating the poverty of certain groups of society alongside tourist activities.
Read More: Does Voluntourism Do More Harm Than Good?
Even though voluntourism is promoted as an “authentic” way to experience new cultures, its growing popularity and ethos of “better places to live in, better places to visit” is raising the question of social inequalities, exploitation, and lack of accountability. This particular issue of accountability and social justice is what the page Humanitarians of Tinder captures, as you can see here. It is known for its collection of people from affluent countries who post pictures of their volunteering work abroad on Tinder. This is seen as a ploy to up their desirability and attractiveness.
We all want to position ourselves well on dating apps and profiles, but branding oneself as the new younger, and hotter Mother Teresa can be seen as questionable behaviour. Other than the apparent immorality created by such acts, there is also the question of perpetuating stereotypical imagery.
Stereotypes and Saviours
As seen on the site, these Humanitarians of Tinder often pose with young children from impoverished backgrounds which portrays a somewhat passive and negative stereotype; one that causes more harm than it helps the overall image of the local community. While the people posting pictures of their volunteering mission on Tinder may mean no intentional harm, they further a form of the “white saviour” complex. You can read more about this issue here.
Despite the normalization of the unbalanced relationship between the global north (“developed nations”) and global south (“developing countries”), the tact of posting pictures with African children on your personal online dating profile perpetuates a sense of desirability based on the foundation of feeling sympathy and pity for the local community.
Is posting pictures with a minor on dating apps even ethical?
Regardless of the social injustice, these pictures also raise the question of the moral complexities and ethicality of such behaviour. Damona Hoffman, a US-based dating coach, explains that exposing these children to the online dating world creates more issues than just promoting oneself.
With such actions by individuals on Tinder being potentially misinterpreted, it also brings about privacy and ethical issues. Most dating apps, as Hoffman states, have strict policies against the representation of minors on their website or apps.
No one below the age of 18 should ever make their way onto such apps in the first place, but posting pictures with a bunch of underage kids who are unaware of this creates a complex chain of exploitation and is downright unethical.
We understand that we all want to seem desirable and be applauded for our efforts abroad. But does that mean we misrepresent local communities, violate their privacy, and exploit unaware underage children just so we can get a chance at a mediocre date?
What do you think? Is it ethical to post about your volunteer work on Tinder? Let us know below.