'Being chill' in relationships, dating apps, and the commodification of love


'Being chill' in relationships, dating apps, and the commodification of love

The majority of the studies and articles on dating and love in India are data-driven and based on dating app analytics. Rarely do the authors discuss their own methods for discovering love in all its manifestations. This might be a result of the separation of academics and love or the emotional effort required to reflect on one's own life.

Indians in general and Malayalis, in particular, are perceived to have a distinct division between their private and public life. Kerala is renowned for its left-leaning politics, literate populace, and secularism, which are reflected in its small but significant (19.65%) inter-caste marriage figure. True "love marriages" are still uncommon rather than the rule in Kerala.

Malay society does not have a widespread dating culture; hence, it is neither socially nor familially acceptable. However, it continues to be a popular habit among young people who keep it to themselves. This essay is a component of an analysis of Malayalis' dating experiences, including mine. (It should be highlighted that only 20-something middle-class (and/or upper-middle-class) English-educated persons who use dating apps are the subject of this article.)

Since I'm 27 years old, using dating apps is neither unique nor routine. They entered my life sometime in my early 20s when I had become weary of men trying to rationalise my dating decisions and convince me to date them instead of the others. To investigate the love patterns of a 20-something Kochiite, I would want to be more detailed and remark on modern dating practices in this post. The cultural centre of Kerala and the only city that can be compared to other large Indian cities is Kochi. Before 2018, I hardly ever utilised dating apps in Kochi. My Amma's house in Kochi appeared much more lonely than I remembered when I returned after spending two years living abroad. There were also no romantic interests or friends in the city. I was on Bumble in a matter of clickety-clicks.

From Tinder to Hinge to Coffee Meets Bagel and Bumble, there are numerous dating/hook-up applications. I turned to the self-described gender-sensitive app Bumble, where women are encouraged to "make the first move." The bar is regrettably pretty low when it comes to gender awareness, whether it be in people or technology, despite the fact that research suggests there isn't much of a difference between Tinder and Bumble.

Being laid back is the ideal method to transgress boundaries, obtain consent, and casually confront political insensitivity without facing backlash. People are now free to ignore consequences and their feelings. This is the ideal time to make everything humorous. Women tend to avoid speaking up about disrespect in these situations out of fear of looking uncool. An ideal utopia is created, especially for the dominant caste, cis-men, by the date-ability granted to women of all categories in private areas and the culture of "chilling," which promotes relationships with no obligations or accountability attached.

The technology absorbs the values of its creator. According to research, those who use dating apps give a variety of motives for doing so, including networking, entertainment, marketing, looking for a life mate or a relationship, casual dating, having sex, and hooking up. Why are you on the app? This is a question I've been asked by the majority of my matches. It is a combination of things; thus, I have responded differently to various individuals.

Relationship "situations" are thought to be a natural result of the contemporary sociality of love, based on my personal experience and the experiences of my friends who look for dates online. A situationship is a term coined out of what appears to be a fear of love that describes a romantic relationship that has developed or is more than a friendship but is not an official relationship. The result of capitalism aggressively commodifying love is situationship. By producing "cool people," it perpetuates exploitation and patriarchy.

The ability to remain unconcerned by anything, from personal concerns like care and permission to social concerns like political incorrectness, is praised, especially in the case of women. People can devote less time and effort to their personal lives because it does not need reciprocity. In turn, this elevates the bare minimum to the ideal and normalises conformity with the culture of careless dating. Additionally, especially in the private sector, it is a wonderful fit for the unbalanced work-life balance of 20-something young adults.

You have a variety of partnership options, including marriage, which you are free to choose or reject. Being single or choosing a relationship other than marriage, however, demands multiple brave acts in our culture because it goes against the dominant moral and socio-cultural paradigm. All personal matters, notably marriage, require parental consent. When two of my academic friends and I were discussing inter-caste marriages, one of them mentioned how they always knew they would marry someone from the same caste because "it is simply easier." Therefore, the ability to date and the ability to get married are two different things. You are free to date anyone you think is attractive, but when it comes to marriage, you must follow the rules.

People who object to the convenience enjoyed by the group's males are silenced and "tamed" by the chilling culture. Feminists, on the other hand, are ridiculed for advocating for gender equality. The cis-het manifesto of chilling appears to essentially say, "Feminists ought to quit acting out." In our ideal world, each feminist would receive a tranquillizer. a setting where we could happily indulge in misogyny. Women could return to the kitchen after a quick hug-out session.

When it's simpler to misunderstand consent.

#Metoo and the growth of online feminist communities have shown us how many individuals utterly overlook the most fundamental emotional and sexual dating etiquette. Even declining "simple chores" like going on a date is viewed as something that may be changed with a little prodding. I've gone on dates a lot of times after initially turning down offers because of persistent pestering. Being agreeable to others is a quality that is highly valued, especially for ladies, according to the music we grew up listening to, "What Would Others Think?"

Fights are called arguments and disputes, and we are not taught to engage in productive conflict. Sometimes it is simpler to accept a meeting than to avoid being called a "bitch." The term "bitch" is frequently used to describe women who voice their disapproval and is virtually always directed at them. Even if you have the fortitude to not be concerned by another person's viewpoint, you may still be impacted by it.

What is the harm in it? is a persistent internalised question that encourages such compliance. No means a maybe as long as there is no damage or damage that is likely to occur. This covers a wide range of topics. My friends have told me countless stories about situations when a breach of consent is seen as the norm. Consent violations include things like demanding that someone not use a condom, refusing to stop after sexual contact, pressuring someone to go on a date, and sending intimate images without seeking permission.

We are attempting to get along with a stranger when it comes to internet dating. The code of chilling requires that we, especially women, refrain from overreacting and remain calm, lovable, and engaging at the same time. Additionally, heterosexual cisgender men have always acted unsure of what constitutes consent. Phrases like "I did not think you would mind it," "I did not think of it as coercion," "I thought you were just shy," "I just really wanted to meet you," and "I was in my head," and others are ready-made clich├ęs that can be used whenever the mood strikes.

There is a new generation of males that support the sexual emancipation of women that sprang from feminism. They do not want to push it too far, though, as that might only turn out to be a minor inconvenience. It's also interesting to see how well-versed they are in consent-related matters when it pertains to themselves.

What have I learned from online dating?

We live and date online in the modern day. Our lives are urban because we live in the modern era. Regarding addressing inequities, we have made incredibly little progress. Inequalities based on gender, caste, and class are still present and are growing. By stifling disagreements, the culture of "chilling" in relationships in general and romantic ones, in particular, has made the matter worse. We celebrate apathy. We aren't conversing, arguing, or sharing; we're just chilling.

Caste is less visible in Indian cities than it is elsewhere in the nation, particularly in Kerala, where last names are frequently derived from your father's first name, however, individuals still take care to insinuate one's caste. Women typically do not enter their full identities on dating apps in order to deter stalking and attract less attention.

I have middle-class privilege, which gives me the opportunity to dress "fashionably," and I can speak English effectively. My somewhat lighter skin tone gives me the capacity to pass for a woman of the ruling caste. I've always had access to the savarnas' chats because of this.

However, because "we are all woke," 20-something folks do not explicitly disparage members of marginalised castes. But they would casually bring up their own caste in conversation, particularly when it came to marriage. Caste discussion is not the same as being a casteist. Young people, who are largely casteist in their personal preferences, glorify caste blindness, which practically rejects the existence of caste. Everyone should discuss caste, consider their privileges, and cease denying its existence.

My bisexuality is not subject to the same surprise that was applied to my caste. My bisexuality is accepted everywhere, and cis-het guys seem to approve of it. They become animated at the mere mention of "lesbian action" and contrast it with "unthinkable" gay sex. The sexist propensity, in which women are viewed as objects of pleasure, is where the disdain for gay sex originates. a job allocated only for women.

In terms of my caste and sexuality, I still prefer to come out of the closet. I want to hang out with folks who are familiar with me. But it is quite exhausting. Although harder, it is better.

Additionally, I've found that the majority of my matches on dating apps come from comparable socioeconomic backgrounds. Our social and cultural upbringing shapes our tastes and inclinations. To recognise the elitism that is so ingrained in our daily routines, we must practise constant reflection. Dating has evolved into a consumerist act of love that is exclusively accessible to the wealthy, from selecting pricy cafes, pubs, and restaurants to organising spontaneous vacations and nights out.

Whatever kind of equation we want to establish, we need to stop learning and start loving one another. If we don't, we won't be able to identify the alienation we experience on a daily basis and address the need for intersectional strategies to achieve parity. Our love and community cultures need to be reinvented. It's nothing short of a revolution.

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