The history of internet dating
The question nagged at me—not least because of my own experiences watching promising relationships peter out over text message—so I set out on a mission.
I read dozens of studies about love, how people connect and why they do or don’t stay together.
It showed a massive, wall-sized computer, with hundreds of blinking lights, ejecting a tiny paper card with a red heart on it for its operator, who was dwarfed by the computer’s hulking form.
If this mentality pervades our decisionmaking in so many realms, is it also affecting how we choose a romantic partner?Abstract: Although online dating has only recently become culturally acceptable and widespread, using computers to make romantic matches has a long history.But rather than revolutionizing how people met and married, this article shows how early computerized dating systems re-inscribed conservative social norms about gender, race, class, and sexuality.You would never be left alone with a man and could only touch through gloved hands.If you were a labourer, you married someone off the street.
The article connects this history to other examples in the history of technology that show how technological systems touted as “revolutionary” often help entrenched structural biases proliferate rather than breaking them down.