What would you say if I told you that there was a dating app that has had zero online harassers in the year that it’s been up and running? You read that right: No reports of offensive approaches, no unwanted dick pics, and no nasty, misogynist comments. You’d probably think I was living in some kind of dream land, right? You’re thinking, “Go back to your fairy tale, Cinderella! Everyone knows that the cost of admission for online dating is being ambushed by pictures of stranger’s penises!” But it’s not a fairy tale. There really is a dating app that has managed to create an environment where interactions are respectful and you get to the actual dating part ASAP. It’s called Siren, and you’re going to love it.
Siren founder Susie Lee tells Bustle that the key to Siren’s respectful environment lies in its design. While the most popular dating app, Tinder, caters to the male gaze with its hot-or-not swiping, Siren puts the final decision about whether or not a conversation is going to start in the hands of women. Men on the app can only see a blurred photo of the women, as well as a daily question, with responses to that question. Women, on the other hand, can see both the responses that men have left to their question of the day and their photos. If they like what they see and read, they can choose to un-blur their photo and reveal their face to a guy. Once that has happened, the pair can message each other and work out when they want to meet IRL.
It Benefits Both Men And Women
While that might sound like it’s biased too heavily toward the women at first glance, Lee points out that it actually benefits both genders.
“When women have the opportunity to let individuals know they're interested, it's a psychological shift from the negative swipe-to-reject gesture to a positive opt-in action,” she explained. “This also reduces frustration for men by eliminating the banal and dehumanizing ‘numbers game.' And we know that frustration plus boredom plus entitlement are key ingredients for bad behavior. On Siren, men have a clearer sense of who is interested in connecting specifically with them, so they can move forward with confidence.”
Users Communicate Through Text Only
The app also only allows for text messaging, so it’s guaranteed to be dick-pic-free. This also drives users to meet up for a date quicker than they might on other platforms. Lee explains that by the time users get to the point where they’d be comfortable exchanging pics, they’re forced to actually meet up in order to see each other instead.
They've Created A Safe Space
And of course, there’s that golden ticket: no harassing messages. Members — men and women both — are able to reach out to Lee and her team in-app or via social media or email, and they can block or flag profiles. But none of those avenues have been utilized in the year that they’ve been up and running. Not. Once.
Of course, as Siren grows, someone will be a dick at some point. Human beings are not perfect, and plenty of us are real assholes. However, Lee is hopeful about the future of online dating on her app.
“Siren sets the tone for our community,” she said. “Our members treat each other as adults. And we're banking on the idea that a lot of people want an online space to engage with respect and integrity.”
And you know what? I’m betting she’s totally right.
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