Beware of female trolls


The science is settled: women tend to be more polite and nicer on the internet than men. Most trolls who engage in anti-social behaviour online – harassment, bullying, abuse – are men. It figures, because men are more likely to exhibit the “dark tetrad” of negative personality traits:¬†narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism and everyday sadism.

Then again, maybe not. A 2014 study by a UK think-tank Demos has found that women were just as likely as men to use terms like “slut” and “whore” in a derogatory way against women.¬†And now comes a study from the Federation University of Australia, which shows that women are just as bad as men in trolling on Tinder:

In our study, 357 adults from across Australia with experience of Tinder completed an online questionnaire that assessed their personality traits and behaviour on the dating app.

For example, participants were asked if they had trolled people on the app, sent any shock comments for a laugh, or if they enjoyed “griefing” other people who access the app…

It’s unclear at the moment as to why women are engaging in similar amounts of trolling behaviours as men are on Tinder…

Perhaps Tinder users are viewed as easy trolling targets, due to the “desperate” stigma that some people still associate with online dating.

Tinder, in general, still enjoys a pretty bad reputation as essentially a shallow meat market where people swipe to hook up. Maybe some indeed do, but even a cursory acquaintance with the app shows that an overwhelming majority of users, in particular female users, are only interested in something more meaningful than just casual sex. But perhaps the very stigma attached to Tinder, irrespective of the more boring reality, encourages people to lose their trolling inhibitions.

In fact, according to a recent study from the Daily Chrenk University, women on Tinder generally behave in pretty much the same ways as men on Tinder, including in those aspects of online dating behaviour that men are usually singled out for castigation or ridicule:

“Girls go wild” as much as men do – the number of profiles, which are unequivocally sexually suggestive, is roughly the same between the genders (though more men engage in sexually suggestive online conversation, regardless of the nature of their profile).

Women are just as focused on physical attributes – while the guys tend to be shamed as shallow if not outright rude when explicit about what they are looking in a partner (in particular the preference for a slim body shape over a “curvy”/overweight one), women on Tinder regularly describe the object of their search as “fit” and/or possessing a certain minimum acceptable height.

The flash of the flesh – for every proverbial shirtless, naked male torso there is a profile photo artfully emphasising the bust from the best possible angle. A significant number of female profiles contain swimsuit photos from the beach or a swimming pool, or otherwise clothes-minimal, to emphasise the figure and body shape.

Bad photos are transgender – While not nearly as many women as men display photos with captured fish, cars, motorbikes, or sedated tigers (though you would be surprised), photos involving consumption of alcohol are common for both genders, as are gym and mirror selfies (men’s selfies are stigmatised as indicating lack of friends to take proper photos, while women’s selfies are seen as completely normal), or the hated group photos (“which one are you?”) and equally hated head shots with sunglasses.

Talk is expensive – For all the frequently expressed irritation on female profiles with men who swipe (implicitly indiscriminately), match, and then don’t talk to their matches, around two in every three women will likewise not respond to the initial message sent to them.

In a world where, as feminists will tell you, gender inequality is the rule rather than an exception, patriarchy continues to rule, women’s rights are constantly imperilled, and sexism and bigotry are rampant, it is encouraging to know that women and men have achieved equality at least in online dating. Today Tinder, tomorrow the world!