All posts edited by Madeline Ricchiuto.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Grindr - Degrading?

Since my last post on Grindr, I have received some feedback about people who think Grindr is just degrading to anyone who uses it for hookups. This they say is regardless of their sexual orientation. In regards to the app, one person had this to say "In my opinion its disgusting and just another way to find a hookup, and everyone that I known to use it only uses it to hook up with other men. Needless to say, Im not a fan." The same person clarified, after a response from myself, saying "What I'm saying is its degrading to use if you're using it for hook ups (which most do); no matter what your sexuality is."

Now I am not one to say that nobody can hold this opinion. You certainly can. And I won't say that you can't or try to force you to not hold this opinion, but I think it is an interesting point of discussion. I find it particularly interesting because there are even those who are feminists who hold similar views. The general view seems to be that these apps when used for hooking up is degrading.

The problem with this reasoning is that it doesn't seem to be the app that is degrading but the act of hooking up. To use the reasoning a different way it would be like someone saying that going to a club/bar/pub and looking for a sexual partner is also degrading to the person who is the object of sexual desire. I think people would be hesitant to take their position that far, but it is a very tiny step (if it can be considered a step at all).

If we are to say that it is the app that is degrading why is it degrading? Is it degrading because it enables hook-ups? The problem with saying this is to say that hooking up, aka casual sex, is somehow immoral, degrading, or 'bad'. I would ask for some kind of justification that makes casual sex inherently one of these things. Because if it is consensual and safe I don't see what makes it 'bad'.

The only thing one could possibly say is that it is degrading. Again though I take issue with this idea though. This assumes that there is something inherent about casual sex that makes it degrading. As if somehow having sexual desire towards another person automatically degrades them or dehumanizes them. But then what about people who have sexual desires towards a partner? How is that not degrading? Because they have an emotional attachment? Is emotional attachment required for sexual desire and sexual acts to not be degrading? If that is the case what is the needed level of emotional attachment?

I would argue that it is not inherent of having sexual desire towards a person to dehumanize them to the point it is degrading. Especially in the case of grindr where many people are all on there consenting to only wanting to have sex I dont' see that as degrading towards a person, I see it as fulfilling a human desire which seems to be (to me) recognizing the person's as well as your own desire which would be the opposite of degrading in my eyes.

Please feel free to leave your own opinions, thoughts, etc below! Or you can contact me privately - just click on my profile.

UPDATE:  I've written more on Grind here and here.


  1. I totally agree with your point. What's really being constructed as degrading here is not, in fact, the hook-up APP; it's the hooking-up itself. And I, too, am suspicious of the contention that hooking up or casual sex is in any way inherently degrading. I'm sure there are some individuals who find it unappealing or distasteful, personally, but that, to me, does not reflect any inherent problem with it. I think it can be argued Grindr reinforces certain problematic norms within the gay community around ideal masculinity and body norms ("no fats, no femmes") but again, I think the app might be more incidental to that reinforcement than necessarily productive of it, per se.

    1. I am glad you agree with most of what I said. I think a better way to phrase it is that Grindr may allow for the perpetuation of norms that are problematic (not only within the gay community) around gender and body image, but it doesn't seem to be produced by the app or by simply using the app. It seems to just be another outlet for modern cultural problems to be spread.

      Thanks for your input!