Are these Facebook groups helping or hurting?
Right before Christmas, my best friend told me that she needed to show me the things people were saying about one of the guys she had gone out with a year prior. She came over and showed me posts from a group on Facebook filled with women that posted their matches from dating apps or their current boyfriend to see if anyone else is seeing them, or if there are any red flags to look out for. After my brain finished exploding, I asked my friend to invite me to the group because, obviously, that is the drama I live for.
I have been single for the last five years, so the fear of cheating is not in the forefront of my mind. However, as a serial dating app user I would like the chance to see if I am about to waste my time on someone that is already in a relationship, or someone that’s the next Tinder Swindler. While I may have been hibernating under a rock for too long, it seems like these Facebook groups have blown up across the globe. Women have warned men, on TikTok, that going forward women will not be letting anyone get away with anything shady.
There are strict rules for joining and maintaining a spot in the group. There are no screenshots allowed (to bring back to the men in question), there is no body shaming/shaming based on appearance or performance allowed, and there is no personal information such as last names or phone numbers allowed to be shared. Though these rules seem to be enforced, there is always going to be a rule breaker or two. I have been having an entertaining time reading about the lighthearted bad dates, and the drama that comes along with the dating scene – but there is a darker side to dating that I didn’t actively think about before joining.
Most women opt to post anonymously to avoid being called out, by other women, or the man himself if the post somehow gets to him. The horrific stories of assault, abuse and dangerous interactions that women have shared gives insight to why women would prefer to remain nameless. It makes me question everything that I have ever known about the dating world in Vancouver. I am scared to date again, but I am thankful that the women in this group are doing what they can to keep other women safe.
I find myself looking for every guy that I match with online on this group now. While I may be wading safely into the dating pool, I am also leaving out a lot of the mystery and excitement that comes with getting to know someone for the first time. The intention of these types of groups is not to bash men or bring them down, but instead the intention is to protect fellow women, and ensure we look out for one another.
At the end of the day, there seems to be a moral ambiguity that revolves around groups like this. If the people in the group stick to the rules, it’s a fantastic way to stay away from love-bombing narcissists that take advantage of you. However, it only takes one person to lie about someone to make a man less desirable, or defame someone because they might be bitter after a breakup. When I asked my friend if she thought we would be posted in the men’s version of this group, she initially said there was no way that group would exist, but sure enough a quick search showed that there was not only a Vancouver group, but groups around the world. I want to believe that men have the same strict standards, are not bashing women for looks or performance and are simply keeping fellow men safe in the dating scene.