Justice

This Hilarious Card Game Brilliantly Blasts Online Dating Sexism

February 21st 2016

By:
Lucy Tiven

Online dating can be quite a minefield, particularly for women. Many millennials are looking for relationships online, but they often find themselves sexually harassed, catfished, or sent unsolicited pictures of strangers' genitalia.

Satirist Mars Incrucio created the card game Matchr to showcase the absurd sexism that colors our experiences on Tinder and other online dating platforms.

Matchr Deck

The Game

Matchr is inspired by gin rummy, UNO, and Pokemon. Players aim to collect the most paired couples from a deck of single dating profiles.

"I think, aesthetically, the format of a Tinder profile resembled the Pokemon cards I had grown up with," Incrucio told ATTN:. "There's a photo, a little bio, and stats such as age, mutual friends, and shared interests. They're like trading cards, but for people."

Gracie card

In Matchr, compatibility is judged by sexual orientation and cheeky hashtags like #swag and #barfly that make light of how we present ourselves online and identify attractive qualities in potential partners.

"The game definitely has a message not-so-subtly hidden in the bios of each card," Incrucio said. "It deals in stereotypes and how defining oneself in a 150-character dating site bio can create these shallow, stereotypical depictions."

Matchr Cards

The game's profile cards are drawn from real online dating profiles: Incrucio said that everyone included in the game signed waivers giving him permission to use them. There are also some special wild cards, like Tumblr celebrity Molly Soda.

The first person to get four matches wins the game. But, as in real online dating, matches can prove elusive.

Molly Soda Card

Here's How He Got The Idea

Incrucio came up with Matchr while trading Tinder screenshots with friends.

Tinder Screenshot

"The majority of my friends are single women in their 20s, and they're all on Tinder," Incrucio said. "So, on occasion, we'd swap terrible Tinder pickup lines over a beer. I was wildly interested in some of the Tinder messages guys sent them. Their sheer cluelessness felt so genuine. I suppose I felt the need to bottle that."

Both the act of sharing absurd experiences on Tinder and the app itself were types of games, Incrucio said. He found that screenshot oneupsmanship was a fun, entertaining way to point out how online dating is gendered and colored by sexism.

Charles

In order to come up with matches of both genders, he created a fake female Tinder profile.

Tinder Screenshot

"The men and women in my game are depicted a bit differently," Incrucio said, explaining that these disparities echoed trends he observed in the 3,000-plus matches he reeled in during the project. "Pretending to be a woman on Tinder for this project kind of opened my eyes about just the terrible way that 70 percent of men try to court or pick up women."

Tinder Screenshot

Online dating is extremely different for men and women

Matchr showcases the shallow and ridiculous ways people judge each other while trying to find online romance. Incrucio said he also wanted to shed light on sexist behavior that some male online daters might not be aware of.

Tinder Screenshot

Incrucio noticed a large disparity in the amount of matches male and female profiles received.

"Most men have figured out that it's better to just swipe right continuously without investing the time to look at someone they might not match with," He said. "Women actually take the time to read a profile and scrupulously swipe through all your photos to make sure you own a shirt."

Incrucio noticed that the tone of the conversations differed. "I would get pissy messages from dudes if I didn't get back to them after their opener, like I owed them something because I swiped right after they blindly mashed a button for five minutes," he told ATTN:.

Tinder Screenshot

Tinder may be lousy with creeps, but it's hard to tell if the platform encourages people to behave badly or simply makes it easier to point out sexism and misogyny. Matchr reveals the ways Tinder makes it easy to objectify people based on snap judgments, but it also illustrates a positive kind of whistle-blowing that isn't always possible offline.

Mars Card

"I think online dating is a medium that shuns normalcy," Incrucio said. "I think people feel the need to become louder caricatures of themselves to stand out. The sexist remarks we're seeing crop up have always been there, but they're being magnified by a fear of being unnoticed."

Still, Incrucio isn't anti-Tinder. "I think it's is a great tool for meeting people, both romantically and platonically," he said. "I've found a couple relationships and a number of great friendships through Tinder."

There's not much you can do about a sleazy or misogynistic pickup line at a bar except leave. But screenshots can be shared and spur productive conversation about the ways men and women treat each other. Want to try your hand? You can buy Matchr online.