In India, more than ever before, social discovery apps are talking of issues that matter to women – consent and choice. How are dating apps mean for love, tech and female agency in 2019? Women from different backgrounds talk to SheThePeople on love and respect in online relationships.

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“While sexual consent is a grey area, it’s so important to have that conversation. Online dating apps bring us the option to find love or relationships through tech but at the same time, it’s a lot about signals and cues from the other person,” says 24 year old journalist Poorvi Gupta. “Those can be hits and misses while in an intimate relationship with someone.. Hence the conversation on consent is much needed whether online or offline.”

There are legacy issues to deal with in a country like India on how women are perceived when they seek to find romance on their own terms. On the one hand, we need to broaden perspectives. While some women are finally speaking up on having sexual agency and being okay with candid talk on pleasure and intimacy, we need to normalise these conversations. The conversation has leaned towards one gender for too long.

The conversation on consent is much needed whether online or offline – Poorvi Gupta

“The Indian context is also different perhaps?,” says college goer Sonakshi. “Here we are still wondering if sexuality and desire are also a woman’s right. All the more we need to talk of consent, mutual behaviour and expectations.”

 

“We have been fed on an overdose of entertainment where the guy comes from behind a tree and hugs or kisses a woman without her permission, thinking it’s his macho-right to do so. How does one shift that thinking over night?” Says Poorvi. She adds, “as women take ownership of their own lives, one hopes there will be a mass shift and people will think of relationships as a two way street.”

Dating and discovery apps in that sense offer that private agency. Women value that option to have the choice to make a choice by using tech. “Online dating gave me the power to reject, something that society didn’t give me,” says Amena Azeez, a plus size blogger.

Women value that option to have the choice to make a choice by using tech

Azeez sums it up. “Apps like many other things comes with its challenges but for those seeking love or romance, apps are at least an option we can exercise and not have to keep waiting for our knight to arrive. So let’s talk about consent.”

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