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HANNAH BALLANTYNE: I don’t need mediocre men on Tinder to tell me I’m hot

Hannah Ballantyne wasn't sure what she was looking for when she went on Tinder but it wasn't to feel bad about her appearance.
Hannah Ballantyne wasn't sure what she was looking for when she went on Tinder but it wasn't to feel bad about her appearance.

This isn’t a story of girl meets boy. I just want to preface that before I get started.

This is not a love story, and neither is it an anti-love story.

This is the story of my relationship with Tinder.

(Status: it’s complicated.)

Let’s start at the very beginning though. With a 16 year-old, impressionable girl who thought she had to look perfect every time she walked out of her house.

That’s me incidentally, but it’s probably true for a great many other girls that age.

I can remember staring at my eyebrows in the mirror one evening and willing them to be different.

I had naturally thick, dark brows you see. They’re trendy now, but back then that really wasn’t the case.

I felt it looked ugly. Which is such a silly thing to focus on when you think about it, but I was fixated.

I have always had a complicated relationship with my appearance.

A brief period in a relationship helped to ease that horrible feeling for a while, but it didn’t rid me of the feeling I was simply not pretty enough – not worthy enough – for a man to love.

The trials of Tinder

Fast forward to grownup me and a very popular dating app called Tinder.

When I first became single, I used it for a bit of fun.

One of Hannah's Tinder profile pictures.
One of Hannah’s Tinder profile pictures.

But as time went on I realised my relationship with it had become toxic.

I was searching for an ego-boost rather than to find ‘Prince Charming.

Tinder is designed to be a place to find a partner, whether that is purely sexual or romantic.

You can state what you’re after on your profile.

When I first entered this mysterious land I was on the fence.

I really could not have told you what my end goal was.

As I swiped away on men who weren’t really my type, I couldn’t help but wonder what the point of this really was?

Was I using it for validation?

Was it for love?

Or was it for who knows what?

But as time passed, I began to realise this app was damaging my already fragile self-esteem.

Appearance isn’t everything. Unless you’re on Tinder

Tinder is a place that allows you to judge somebody purely based on looks.

I know, first hand, how horrible that feels and I was transported back to my bathroom, at 16, examining my eyebrows.

How could I happily use an app that fundamentally promotes the feeling that women must look and act a certain way in order to be attractive?

Cute? Sexy? Mysterious? Or just done with all this garbage?

Society has conditioned women to feel pretty, based on what they see on the internet.

Asking men on Tinder to judge you on appearance simply reinforces these unrealistic beauty standards.

I found myself changing my profile daily out of insecurity.

Were the pictures the right mix of sexy, cute, smart and mysterious?

I started to realise I was only doing this because the male gaze of Tinder made me feel I had to be this way.

It became another thing that took control of my brain.

All I could think about was looking hot for mediocre men on Tinder, and this isn’t who I am at all.

It was consuming.

And I’ve had enough.

I’m done with waiting for below average men to ‘ask for my Snapchat’ – *shivers* – and I will no longer allow a man’s opinion of me to define who I am as a woman.

There is an expectation in society, for women specifically, to be partnered up.

I want to break that standard.

I don’t want to be made to feel inadequate for not dating, or not caring what men think about me.

And just like that, I deleted my Tinder app for good.

VIDEO: Alistair Heather’s guide to Tinder dating in lockdown

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