This video of a man pretending to be a woman on a dating app has popped up across my social media streams today. The “barrage of sexist messages” point makes itself; but what did surprise me was how many people commented on whether or not he looks like a woman; and if so whether that means the data has been faked/massaged. Because the profile had each sign of being the poster being a woman that I would look for.
Femininity is not an objective standard across all time; history shows us many examples of the ideal appearance differing between cultures and times. Even limiting the test to modern WASP culture, the beauty industries change the apogee yearly to make last year’s look obsolescent and sell next year’s perfect beauty. Looking like a woman is subjective.
And even if there were a check-list, is a high score the only reason someone might be datable? Given that people of vastly different body shapes, races, and such find partners every day, clearly not.
So, what does determine whether or not the profile is that of a woman? The profile says it is that of a woman.
Interestingly, the previous statement is both strong support of someone’s right to self-identify and a cynical indictment of how lacking in nuance the messaging habits of people on the internet are.
Which pleases me intellectually but also fills me with a sense of irritation.