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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).
Although this discourse is supposedly gender-blind, it is intersected by other discourses which affect men and women differently.
For example, an enduring sexual double standard within society means that women are judged much more harshly for engaging in casual sex or displaying an unfettered or desirous sexuality (Farvid, Braun & Rowney, 2016).
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.
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).
Although there has been immense media interest in Tinder, virtually no published research on people’s experiences of using the app exists.
In this paper, we begin to address this gap by examining the experiences of a small group of young heterosexual women in NZ who use Tinder.