That’s News to Me

By Sonia Betesh

Left, right, left, left. A single thumb swipes robotically over a user’s phone screen, the Tinder logo reflected in their Stussy sunglasses. A picture, a bio – it’s just another dating app.

Yet, in the midst of the deliberately obnoxious lines and relationship aspirations, something in the users’ bios stands out: each one firmly states a political opinion.

Regardless of your political stance, you can’t deny that a political opinion is usually not followed by a kissing face emoji. But somewhere in between 90210 and The Bachelor, the political opinion took its own stance–using dating apps as its platform. First-time conversations have shifted from attempting to trump awkwardness to, well…Trump. When did dating become so political?

Are we really just a generation of patriotic, passionate daters? Why did choosing a restaurant become choosing a candidate? When did a coffee date turn into a coffee debate?

In terms of dating someone with opposing views, there seems to be a lot that people are willing to overlook. Upper East Siders date Brooklynites, vegans date carnivores, and nature lovers date shoe lovers.

But insert a conversation about a presidential speech, and your relationship will lose countless votes. Maybe, when it comes to politics, apathy makes the heart grow fonder.

According to recent statistics, politically-organized dating websites are becoming more and more popular. TrumpSingles.com and LiberalHearts.com are two major dating websites that attract singles in immensely specific categories. After all, 50% of singles say that political disagreements are detrimental to a long-lasting relationship. 63% of singles said they specifically only date those with the same political opinion as them. Only 34% of singles said that politics and love should be kept separate. And no, that is not why they are still single.

It seems that as dating websites are becoming more exclusive, the topic of politics is becoming more inclusive.

Let’s talk about the past (no, not your ex): 1869, when only white males had the right to vote. In 1870, the 15th Amendment gave black males the right to vote. In 1919, the 19th Amendment granted all women the right to vote. Alas, in 1971, the 26th Amendment reduced the voting age from 21 to 18.

Every year, the political spectrum is becoming larger. Previously, politics were a topic of discussion between white males. Now, every person over 18 has the right to vote, and millennials are grabbing the opportunity to publicize their opinion, even on Tinder.

In the wake of social media and celebrity opinions, politics has also somehow collided with pop culture. This fusion can only be described as “pop politics,” making politics all the more relevant.

Former President Obama praised Jay-Z in his speeches, revealing that he often listened to the rapper’s music in the Oval Office. President Trump retweeted a picture of Kanye West wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. Kim Kardashian recently met with President Trump to discuss prison reform. Celebrities Amy Schumer and Alexa Chung strongly voice their opinions on the immigrant crisis and started social media campaigns.

Pop politics is also found blatantly in the fashion world. Posing as graphic t-shirts or dresses, political statements appear as often as Clout sunglasses.

In early 2017, Dior debuted a “We Should All Be Feminists” t-shirt and donated a percentage of sales to Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation. The foundation funds health, education, and emergency response programs worldwide.

Tommy Hilfiger, Diane von Furstenberg, Prabal Gurung, Phillip Lim, and Thakoon Panichgul all contributed to the #TiedTogether campaign by featuring white bandanas in their fashion shows. The bandanas stood for human unity regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or religion.

At the 2018 Golden Globes, “Who are you wearing?” quickly shifted to “Why are you wearing?”. A startling amount of celebrities walked the carpet wearing head-to-toe black, their dresses a mix of funeral and revolution. In support of the #TimesUp movement, celebrities wore black to the event. Everyone knows that the “lingerie as clothing” style is definitely debatable, but the Golden Globes’ statement was entirely unexpected. Who knew black dresses could be so controversial?

With the birth of pop politics, politics are not only super relevant but are in trend. It’s all anyone can talk about, dating or single.

But while politics are trendy, so is Kappa sportswear – and it isn’t mentioned in every user’s Tinder bio.

So, we must ask: what is with everyone and their opinions?

The truth is, there are only two things in this world that are truly yours: your rent-controlled apartment and your opinion.

Agree or disagree, but a person’s opinion is their most treasured possession. Unlike most things in life, our opinion is a choice solely decided by us. It’s a choice that we researched, pondered, and, after much time, announced. After all that effort, our opinion becomes part of us in a way that proves hard to let go.

When dating, it appears that yesterday’s politics are the topic of today’s movie date. The political spectrum has grown and everyone is involved, even while dating. We have to accept that sometimes, the politics of dating are just politics.

But that’s just my opinion.

Editors Note:

This article was adapted from its initial publication on -SJB,  a society & culture website, focusing on art, fashion, pop culture, and the city around us.

To find out more: Website: sjb.works
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Tell me something: sjb.works.nyc@gmail.com

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