Does dating culture feel like a marketplace?

For those of us who are single, curious of your thoughts on the casual hookup culture. I'm currently reading a feminist author who suggests that the modern dating scene is an example of 'free market' ideology overreaching into personal, relational spaces. Does that resonate with anyone's experience? Does dating culture feel like a dehumanizing marketplace? And do you think it's different for men?

I haven't dated much, but in my experience it's often felt like a job interview. Like they were asking me questions but it wasn't a back-and-forth conversation. I'm not sure if it's social media or if our culture has just evolved to that point. Some people are still able to find meaningful romantic relationships, but it seems like the overwhelming majority of young, single people aren't finding real connections.
Frankly, we don't have the time and energy to if we have to do a 40-hour a week job or more to afford to live. No time -> Make an app that supports short bursts and small attention spans and the marketplace -> a rising return to ideology that women are interchangeable to men, to put it lightly -> men aren't going to care about the woman when we're commodified like that.I'm personally not looking for romance but it would be nice to have friends I can connect with on something other than a weekend.
Totally agree with you. Dehumanising is a good picture for it. My feeling of the dating scene is not positive. I am not a radical feminist, but I feel dating is very anti-feminist. That's how I feel. I date mostly [startup] founders though.
Ugh yes. Especially in the online/app dating era. It's become such a numbers game and it just sucks to be real. I go through stints where I try different apps and then get frustrated after a while and stop. I have a straight cis male friend who I talk with a lot about dating. For him it is also frustrating and dehumanizing. He's short and he feels like he gets very few connects because of that.And then on my end, when dating men it's just a flood of people and winky faces and "hey" and it just suuuuucks. I couldn't say about free market (though I'd be curious on her analysis) but can certainly say a lot of this is living in a capitalist environment, because the dating apps reward certain kinds of interactions and behaviors that aren't how many of us would like to date. In the not-virtual environment you could bring in all the arguments about how lonely and isolated we all are these days. How much the pandemic amplified that etc. And of course how segregated and in bubbles we are. Layers on layers.
I also think dating apps' incentives are fundamentally misaligned with its users' because they want to keep us on the app as long as possible (paid or not) and our goal is to get off so why would they show us people we'd actually like and get along with?
@MaggieShahrestani Can you share the book you are reading? It sounds interesting. I'd like to give it a read as I'm both single and have worked on a variety of marketplace experiences.
I'm sure @SimranKD has some interesting insights!
Thank you!
I'm also curious about this book and similarly feeling burnt out from agenda & numbers-driven dating....I'd love to read it!
The word dehumanizing really captures it for me. It is something that requires vulnerability, yet it’s designed to be addictive, and there’s no social support structure for it. And if you’re looking for long term partnership, this is actually the most important decision of your life that impacts you in every way - mentally, emotionally, physically, literally how you spend your time on the planet. I started my company to build that support structure around relationships and dating specifically for that reason. In case you’re curious, we just launched group coaching based on relationship status so we can connect people on similar journeys and support.
Thank you for your responses! The book was Mary Harrington, 'Feminism Against Progress'. She's somewhat controversial and describes herself as a reactionary feminism. Essentially, she believes the sexual revolution that accompanied second wave feminism was actually more advantageous for men than for women. I finished her book and thought it was okay. If you're interested in those themes, including dating culture and evolutionary psychology in men and women, I actually recommend Louise Perry's The Case Against the Sexual Revolution. She makes a similar argument but makes it better, and she draws on personal experience working at a rape crisis center as well as an academic background in women's studies, so she is well researched, nuanced, and thoughtful. Both writers are critical of the high value placed on independence and autonomy in a capitalist society, and believe a true feminism must necessarily reject/temper those values with care, interdependence, and community. Highly highly recommend Perry.
The transactional-ization of dating has 10000% made it a dehumaninzed marketplace. We've reduced the process of exploring initial connections to assessing a photo and sending some messages. We're doing it from behind screens and it's easy to forget that there are humans on the other side. They're also strangers - we don't have the social accountability of the people we're getting to know being connected to our friends / classmates / relatives (which was how we used to meet potential romantic partners). Online dating has changed dating culture generally - we want to meet in the wild but can't figure out how to - we've lost the ability to make friendly small talk, we feel anxious with small interactions, we struggle with flirting (generalizing of course)... And in my (not so unbiased) opinion (as the founder of a dating app trying to fix some of these things), some of these shifts have changed how we socialize even beyond dating. Ghosting is now common with friends, colleagues, recruiters... that wasn't normal once in dating, let alone outside it.Anyway, I could go on for ages, but I think legacy dating apps have created a dehumanized marketplace that only serves ~10% of the human population well... and for most "normal" men (even just looking at height - most women look for 6'+ and the average American man is shorter), they also experience the dehumanized marketplace downsides.