Matthew Rodriquez writes a thought provoking blog piece on The Huffington Post about the negative effects that Grindr can have on some gay men’s self-esteem:
As a queer Latino gay man of size, logging on to Grindr is a casual masochistic reminder that, in the mainstream gay male community, my body is not welcome. Messages like “NO ASIANS,” “NEG U B 2,” and “MASC ONLY” invalidate gay men like me daily. How did a tool that was meant to facilitate conversation become the prime example of the gay community’s — like the rest of humanity’s — worst tendencies, like racism, sexism, misogyny, ageism, ableism, fat shaming, elitism, transphobia, homophobia and serophobia?
What does someone in the 1 percent of Grindr’s sexual economy look like? He has white skin, he has a weight that begins with “1,” he is cisgender, in his 20s, completely able-bodied, has a full head of hair, has either slightly defined or very defined abs, has a dusting of body hair, is masculine and is HIV-negative. These men are what you might call “sexual gatekeepers.” Just as the 1 percent of America’s economy has unlimited access to the services and privileges they need, Grindr’s 1 percent has the privilege of determining who has access to them and when and where they will get serviced.
In literary studies or fiction writing, “round” characters are fully realized characters who jump off the page, while “flat” characters are 2-D, and stand out for the qualities they lack. In the world of Grindr, a landscape dominated by a 2-D square interface, everybody is a victim of personality “flattening,” and, by extension, becomes more and more defined by that which society says they lack. While people used to look into the future and see technology as making fantasies come true — flying cars! teleporters! — the truth of technology in the 21st century is that it doesn’t deal in fantasy. It heightens reality — racism, misogyny, etc. — in all its grotesqueness.
Rodriquez mentions at the start of the article that Grindr was invented to make socializing easier. Are we using it for too much sexual socializing? Would we use an app if it were for just for platonic social means? What do you think?