History of online dating services dating email etiquette for women

Abstract: Although online dating has only recently become culturally acceptable and widespread, using computers to make romantic matches has a long history.But rather than revolutionizing how people met and married, this article shows how early computerized dating systems re-inscribed conservative social norms about gender, race, class, and sexuality.The article connects this history to other examples in the history of technology that show how technological systems touted as “revolutionary” often help entrenched structural biases proliferate rather than breaking them down.The article also upsets the notion that computer dating systems can simply be understood as a version of the “boys and their toys” narrative that has dominated much of computing history.Today, the idea of being matched with a potential romantic partner via computer has been normalized to the point of seeming quotidian.In the early days of computer dating, however, machine-mediated romantic interactions were often considered untoward or slightly shocking, for reasons similar to the ones that kept women from working alongside men at night.They cultivated predominantly white, straight, middle-class user bases in the hope that the perceived respectability of this user base would transfer onto the new technology.

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A growing interest in inserting new electronic computer technology into men and women’s lives as romantic middlemen was beginning to gain momentum.Written and designed by men, these computer dating programs promised to take the messiness of human interaction out of the process of meeting women.

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