Kate Bahn


Swiping Right for Diversity

Why economic structures of privilege and power matter in the world of online dating.

“So you’re saying I can fight ingrained prejudices AND have a better love life?”

When I started dating online a year ago, I thought that if I diversified my dating preferences, the benefits would reflect the same upside of diversification in the economy. I would date a greater number of people, and different kinds of people. Simple, right? People diversify their investments to spread the risk around—if certain prospects don’t pan out, you still have other options. This way you have the safest guaranteed return on investments. I felt the same way about dating. It’s hard to find “the one” that will give you a big payout, so I figured that if I dated around then on the whole I would satisfy my short-term goals—funny conversations, intellectual challenges, artistic inspirations, and sometimes free drinks—though not necessarily all from the same person. Even if I would technically be “lowering” or at least altering my existing standards, I would also be meeting a larger number of people, spinning the wheel more times for a better chance of finding someone with whom I shared that sought-after, gut-instinct chemistry.

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