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DatingTok Isn’t Your Friend

DatingTok Isn’t Your Friend

Tessa Ndjonkou

The TikTok algorithm knows us. At times, maybe a little too well. DatingTok, the social media platforms dating advice hub is proof of this.

In a matter of minutes, the app figures out what you like, what you don’t like, your insecurities, as well as your hopes for your love life.

From dating in your 20s to dating in Dublin, there are rules and advice on every kind of dating there is out there. 

But can we trust self proclaimed dating “coaches” and “experts” or should we beware of TikTok advice? With over 60 billion views, is  #DatingTok a friend or a foe?

Dating isn’t “one size fits all”

Despite the diversity of opinions on what healthy modern dating ought to look like, the advice and readings applied to people’s relationships seem to conform to the same, narrow standard. Relationship advice is given to everyone regardless of how well we know people and their intimate relationships at all. 

“If he wanted to he would” is the new dating mantra. If he doesn’t actually do what it is the comments say, it must mean he doesn’t actually like you. 

The bottom line is TikTok dating discourse does not leave much room for nuance; either it tells you what you want to hear or it confirms your biggest fears.

Few of us would make relationship decisions based on unsolicited dating advice we’d gotten from strangers on the street, so why are we so comfortable accepting it from unqualified strangers on the internet? 

DatingTok isn’t always feminist

If you’ve been on TikTok long enough, you’ve probably come across femininity and masculinity coaches. As self-proclaimed experts, they shape their rules on dating based on what society expects of a specific genders.

However, you’ll find that much of what is said is overtly sexist and harmful to varying degrees. Feminine energy coaches like Margarita Nazarenko, who boasts just over half a million followers, have coined concepts like the ”Twenty Feminine Energy Principles” that women should tap into to attract “High Value Men”. 

These principles imply that women would be more successful in their dating lives if they leaned into their “feminine energy and power”. Another corner of the internet is known as the “manosphere”, where misogyny is rewarded. So-called “masculinity coaches” like the disgraced Andrew Tate vehemently preach dismissive and violent behaviours towards women as pillars of modern dating.

These takes are all incredibly dangerous.

DatingTok isn’t always inclusive

As you scroll down the DatingTok hashtag you’ll quickly notice that it is far from being the most inclusive side of TikTok. Notably, it’ll take a significant amount of time for you to find any content related to queer dating, dating as a plus- sized person, a person of colour or dating when you have a disability.  

Despite its many faults, DatingTok could do with much more diversity and inclusion. The end of TikTok’s reign is nowhere in sight, so making conversations about dating more inclusive to reflect the world in which we live in, is absolutely necessary. 

See Also

From MySpace to Tik Tok, the internet is a forum where we take apart and examine our closest and most intimate relationships. We voluntarily shine a light on our deepest vulnerabilities and let them be scrutinized under the public eye. Despite all the misinformation and poor advice, a few creators are breaking the cycle and proving that #DatingTok isn’t your friend.

Samantha Tellez (@hotgirlinterrupted) is a stand-in big sister and reminds you that matters related to feelings are rarely clean cut. In opposition to “If he wanted to he would ”, she interjects that men and boys get anxious too. To her, compassion and open communication are the best way to go when we don’t know where we stand. Licensed psychologist Dr. Inna Kanevsky, Ph.D also frequently flags pseudo-scientific claims about attraction. She’ll keep it real with you and remind you that just because someone’s mouth twitched when they looked at you does not mean you’re meant to be. 

Women’s Aid Ireland launched the prevention campaign “Too Into You” to offer insights into what a healthy relationship ought to look like. They also offer support and guides on how to recognize when dating dynamics become toxic or abusive. 

What are your thoughts on #DatingTok? A fun resource? Or a confidence killer?

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