Apps and Affection: A black woman’s experience on Facebook dating
Note from BW of Brazil: As I’ve followed this particular topic (the influence of race on dating patterns) for many years, I’ve always believed that if someone were to do a study, fully supported by data in one of these online dating sites, we would clearly see what I have long believed: ALL men in Brazil, regardless of their race, have a preference for white women, and if not white, women who are not easily categorized as black. Over the course of studying this topic and reading the stories of countless black women on this subject in social media, conversation, blog posts, etc., I conclude that my assessment, while not a provable fact, is a legitimate assumption. Maybe one day I will conduct this sort of research, but for now, I will continue to consider what so many black Brazilian women have been saying for years. In today’s piece, yet another black woman shares her experience, this time in the wonderful world of online dating.
“Apps and Affection: A black woman’s experience on Facebook dating
By Simone Freire
Triscila Oliveira is a cyber-activist and reported her experience of black affectivity in the new tool to Alma Preta (website)
Facebook recently launched Facebook Dating, a relationship platform that works within the application. A kind of Facebook Tinder, which sits in a parallel environment where users can create a unique profile with photos, personal information and preferences in relationships.
Black woman and cyber-activist, Triscila Oliveira experimented with the new platform and reported to Alma Preta her observations regarding the racial aspect of the platform.
“This experiment, although microscopic, reveals how the eugenic plan is still working at full steam in Brazil today,” she says.
Check out her testimony:
My name is Triscila Oliveira, I was cyber-activist a few years ago, owner of the profile @ afemme1 in the Instagram where I address politics, inter-sectional feminism, blackness and other social agendas.
Using the new Facebook tool, Dating, I did an experiment on black affectivity where I used only two criteria: black men and the age group of 28-40 years old, just to stay on an average with my age, which is 34 years in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
I used this selfie of mine, where the light affects leaving the tonality of my skin a few lighter shades was not purposeful, just a photo I liked, and so this light brought up another debate about colorism: in the bio I didn’t insert any kind of specification of what I was looking for in the application: “That dreamy nerd, feminist, leftist, anti-racist & netiflixzera!♉”that could serve to break the ice and start the conversation.
So we go to the numbers: there were 600 likes and of these only 72 liked back, of which only 25 sent a message. The majority complimenting me and, followed by the classic question, ‘what are you looking for in the app?’ and it was usually there that the conversation that had just begun where I was already beginning to agonize.
All the 25 men who liked me were just looking for sex, BUT they would date me if I was the same color in the photo or lighter, and obviously thin since they asked me for a full body photo, a thing they make a point of posting. Photos with no shirt and in swimwear is almost a rule, some bordering on eroticism… let’s continue…
In Dating it is possible to start a chat without liking the profile of the person, so 55 black men contacted me, some sending the username of their social network or their WhatsApp number; others made a point of bragging about their material possessions, others made clear in their bio only their preference for “loiras e morenas” (“blondes and brunettes/mixed/racially ambiguous)”.
Already here, I need to highlight, only 12 have cited their children and their professional and/or academic achievements, and the interest of knowing each other outside of the network.
What really impresses me is how these men don’t know how to talk about themselves, cite their qualities (beyond their sexual gifts) and recognize their defects, and it is exactly in this gap of self-knowledge that the fragile concept of masculinity shapes the individual.
The white men, almost as a cliché, “liked” me a lot and came into contact in much higher numbers than the black men, the target of my experiment, were 167 men of all ages and with all kinds of approaches and the most indecent proposals, but a common point of hyper-sexualization.
To ALL the men who contacted me, I asked if they would be interested in building a relationship and, without surprises, the overwhelming majority of the answers were a unanimous NO. They cited, of course, that the relationship would depend clearly on the factor of sexual compatibility, as if sex were an audition, almost specifically when it comes to the mulher preta (black woman).
Another point in common between white men and black men: while the conversation evolved, many confessed to being committed to mulheres brancas ou ‘pardas’, (white or ‘brown’/mixed women), BUT that they were in open relationships and even had mulheres negras (black women)…
Meanwhile, women generally use all the resources to introduce themselves, making clear their qualities, interests, aspirations, children… Sometimes even some insecurities, which are demonstrated in their well-produced and even edited photos.
This experiment has brought me many memories of being passed over, a sad realization of how the solidão da mulher negra (solitude of the black woman) is an almost unchanging constant, the gender that makes the black man a target every 23 minutes, is also his privilege in affective relations and oppresses the black woman.
A flood of memories of my youth came to me with each negative in the conversations that were flowered with several words that I am even used to: Fofa (cute), bonitinha (cute), gente boa (good people), sincere, cool woman, funny, “warrior”, etc.
I don’t need to hear them to know everything I am and everything I am not. I just think it’s a shame they’re being used within this mechanism that keeps black women in an affective vacuum, leaving them to be alone and, very often, in abusive relationships, when they have so much love to give.
As a militant and feminist, I couldn’t stop thinking about the words of bell hooks, which in her work Living to Love (1994, released as Vivendo de amor in Brazil) said: “The black woman is not seen as a subject to be loved.”
It is also striking how the same concept of masculinity of whiteness is reproduced by many, that placed black women in a place of disaffection and as a mere sexual object, reinforcing excluding stereotypes that directly impact on the construction of our self-love, self-esteem and affective relationships.
This experiment, although microscopic, reveals how the eugenic plan is still working at full steam in present-day Brazil, and the debates about the construction of our racial identity – in which we are still crawling – collide with a wall of colonized minds that can still be seen through the eyes of the casa grande (big house).
Source: Alma Preta