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But signs aren't always static in their meaning — it's all about context.
Wearing a camouflage jacket can mean that you're in the military, a hunter, a punk, a redneck, a misogynist; having a shaved head, as a girl, can connote that you're a radical, a cancer survivor, or a lesbian.
Tindering thus mimics the relationship of checking someone out on the street, in the classroom, or on the subway, but with the added tactile pleasure of physically swiping the rejects out of your field of vision (and your life).
That's the real difference between Tinder and sites like Ok Cupid, Match, e Harmony, and J-Date: The end game on those sites is an actual date (and a lot of times marriage!
The first step: Scour stock images to find a broad array of profile "types."The process proved fraught, as stock images for casually dressed black males, women over a size 4, and anyone who didn't fulfill stereotypical understandings of what male/female looks like require some unsettling search queries and yield clichéd and borderline racist results (try searching "curvy" or "fat," for example, and you get a sea of women looking very sad while looking at food or standing on scales).
I winnowed the profiles down to around 30 men and 30 women, processed them through Instagram filters to make them seem more like something someone might actually have on their account, and put them in standard Tinder profile frames.
Katie never said "too not-white," "too poor," or "too uneducated." We cloak those judgments in language that generally circles the issue: "Nothing in common," "he wouldn't like me," "I can't see us together." Those statements aren't necessarily lies, but they're also not always full truths either — and often rely on overarching assumptions about what differences in race, class, education, and religion dictate not only in a relationship, but any interaction, romantic or otherwise.
The goal was to correlate each participant's race, class, education, religion, and sexual preference to their swiping habits.
For each Tinder "profile," regardless of whether they swiped yes or no, the user was prompted to answer "What race/religion/class and education level is this person?
Why does the word "lake" mean that massive blue watery thing?
Or how does the stop sign, even without the word "stop," make everyone understand not to go forward?