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Cancel Culture Trio: Rise of the Digital Dating Scene

Once upon a time, a brand new dating show hit our screens over the summer of 2015. Far from being the first successful dating show, Love Island changed the game. With season 8 airing in June 2022, and seasons showing in over 20 different countries, Love Island has achieved reality-tv gold status. But why are we so obsessed with watching a bunch of 20-30 year olds lounging around in swimwear and occasionally having outrageously obvious sex on live tv? Terry and Emma from season 3, I’m looking at you. Maybe we enjoy living vicariously through the cast members spending six carefree weeks on a Spanish Island, or we love to watch the drama and inevitable heartbreak as it unfolds. Or perhaps we find each member relatable in their own struggles for finding love, leading them to go on the show in the first place. 

The dating game has changed rapidly over the last 10 years. Match.com was first founded in 1995 the first online dating site of its kind, launching a whole new approach to dating. Followed by eharmony in 2000, before being joined by Tinder and others more familiar to our generation in the early 2010s. In 2021, the dating app tinder was downloaded 67 million times. After its inception in 2012, by 2014 the tinder app was registering around a billion ‘swipes’ a day, with the average user checking the app up to 11 times in 24 hours. For those of you who don’t know what ‘swiping’ is, the app consists of profiles of potential flames and users swipe right if they’re interested in matching with the person, and left if they’re not. Even the purpose of tinder has changed within its lifetime. Created with the purpose of forming relationships, it’s morphed into a platform used majoritively for quick hookups, no strings attached. Tinder is one of many popular dating apps used today, all of a likeness. Another interesting dynamic is the average age of the users of each site. Match has the oldest median age at 45, Tinder’s average user is older than you might expect, aged between 30-44, and Bumble holds the youngest average user, ranging between 18 and 29. 

Yet even with all these options at our fingertips, it can still feel challenging to actually meet someone, even prior to the pandemic. This is why shows like Love Island and Too Hot to Handle have proved so successful. The winners of each show leave not only with a relationship, but also a huge cash prize, before the majority go on to become influencers on social media or otherwise. Enter our protagonist, Molly Mae. 

Molly Mae was a runner up in season 5 (2019) with her boyfriend Tommy Fury. Molly Mae was a social media influencer before going on the show, however her career skyrocketed after claiming the Runner-up spot at the end of the season.

Image courtesy of Max Pixel

By Ellie Daglish

Features Editor and fourth year Philosophy and English Language student. I enjoy writing about social issues; particularly women’s issues.