Recently, Hong Kong singles have encountered a short video upon logging into Tinder that subliminally discriminates against Asian men. The video features several men as potential matches and the user swipes right on all of them — except the Asian man.
This video appears to be region-specific, as users in Los Angeles did not seem to be able to access the video.
For most users, the video seems harmless — after all, it’s not likely that any given person will swipe right on all profiles they come across. But Asian men have an uphill battle in the dating arena: they have the lowest response rates out of any racial group, even when it comes to Asian women. One study found that, everything else being equal, Asian men have to work harder than their White male counterparts to even have the same chance at love. For many Asian men, seeing this video was like pouring salt on an open wound, as it represented all their trials and tribulations in dating within a fraction of a second.
“Per the US Census, 1 out of 5 Asian American men will never marry,” JT Tran, founder and CEO of ABCs of Attraction, told NextShark. Tran actually promotes dating in real life over online or apps, as he says Asian men have a higher chance of success this way.
“According to a study at MIT, Asian men have to make $247,000 more than a white male in order to get the same response rate. In other words, you have to have a Rolls Royce in order to be considered a potential online mate! Online dating is inferior to meeting non-Asian women in real life because, just like porn, people use it anonymously and women can be anonymously racist in whom the swipe left or right on. And Tinder just exacerbates that tendency given how much more visually-oriented the women are on Tinder and its use as sexual marketplace for women which plays into the worst of Asian male stereotypes. However, in real life you can project a strong, Asian, masculine identity that will overcome any unconscious racial biases that she might have.”
Tran provides a hopeful outlook for Asian men due to his experience and training; however, for many Asian men, messages like this video can be daunting, especially considering the onslaught of negativity they encounter in their daily life from women who would dehumanize them for their race/gender combination.
In this sense, Tinder, perhaps unaware of their subliminal messaging, has only added to the very real pain that some Asian men feel.
NextShark has reached out to Tinder for a response.