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At Slate’s XX, Amanda Hess writes on the dearth of heterosexual hook-up apps like Grindr – the location-based app used by every single gay man in the world. The article, titled “Why Don’t Women Use Hook-Up Apps? They’re Made by Men” is a spectacle.
Hess writes about apps for straight people:
But so far, no one has come close to translating the cultural relevance of Grindr—the wildly successful location-based hook-up app for gay men—to the hetero population. Even Grindr itself, which launched its own straight app called Blendr in 2011, has failed to recreate the magic for straits.
The conventional wisdom is that women are to blame. Straight ladies just don’t have the appetite for one-night stands, we’re told. Or they fear the physical risks of heading to bed with a stranger they’ve met only online. Or they have too many willing sex partners in the real world to bother with fielding virtual ones. For whatever reason, women just aren’t signing up. When I logged onto Blendr in the middle of Los Angeles this morning, I found about one female user for every 20 men.
And yet, in college dormitories and crowded bars across the country, men and women are managing to arrange casual sexual encounters with one another, no dinner reservations necessary. So here’s another possibility for why you won’t find many women on hook-up apps: You don’t find many women behind them, either. Blendr is the brainchild of Grindr’s Joel Simkhai. Bang With Friends is the product of three anonymous California dudes. Even Brenda, the lesbian hook-up app, was developed by a man (he’s also responsible for the male-oriented Grindr clone Bender).
Nevermind that if hook-ups in crowded bars mostly happen when women allow them to then we’re not comparing a network in which men’s demand for sex is being tested. Put men in control of whether or not sex happens and you’ll see many, many times more hook-ups.
Hess hypothesizes not that there are differences in sex drive or in the psychology driving lust, but that representation in the STEM fields must be the culprit:
The male dominance of hook-up apps is an extension of the gender split in the programming world at large, where women make up just 18 percent of computer science grads and 19 percent of career programmers. At many prominent firms, their representation dwindles to the single digits. A very select few make their way to the top. That’s a problem for virtual hook-up pioneers, who would be smart to heavily favor the female perspective in order to recruit enough women to level the playing field. After Blendr’s 2011 release, Ann Friedman outlined a few ways developers could actually make hook-up apps more appealing to hetero women, like putting the messaging power solely in the hands of female users, or allowing women to publicly endorse their male friends—not to rep their prowess in bed, but to vouch for their capability to treat women like people.
Yet television and the internet – and many channels and “apps” on both platforms were created by men. And women enjoy these services as much as if not more than men. This is obviously just a nonsensical argument desperately being made in order to protect one of the wobbly chair legs of feminist theory.
Pornography, prostitution, personal ads, street approaches, the use of various social media sites: men are the horny ones, and women are the regulators of sexual intercourse.
In the realm of social networking websites, men are more keen for the hook up than women. In a survey conducted by the Oxygen Media Research, 20% of men and only 6% of women use Facebook to hook up.
Grindr exists and serves as the model to Blendr and Bender, and not the other way around, because male sexual drive and, perhaps more importantly, the demand for random NSA sex is so high.
Hess cites an article by Ann Friedman who suggests ways to cater a NSA hook-up site to the tastes and predilections of women. I’ll let you all read it, but it doesn’t seem much different than any other online dating website. One quick sentence helps sum up her argument which includes allowing only women to search for available men. In designing a hypothetical app called “GrindHer”, Friedman writes:
Bonus: No need for weird penis photos as indicators of sexual interest. We all know what we’re here for.
That kind of sums it up right there. Why isn’t a dick pic something that women on GrindHer would be interested in? A woman showing her vagina on the site to men would find her inbox immediately filled (yeah). So these feminist app developers are essentially complaining that there isn’t a hetero Grindr but then they are creating something that isn’t at all like Grindr.
The trick is that women will get to limit the access men have to sex. Thus, men’s demand will still outstrip women’s demand. The fewer number of women who use such an app will be satiated; they’ll have a guy whenever they want to hook up with one. But the point is that there will be many more “inefficiencies” – men left holding their hard-ons – compared to a site driven completely by men’s sexual demand. We’re back to square one.