Whether its charmlessly asking for nudes, sending unsolicited dick pics or dealing with rejection in the most pathetic ways, objectification is nearly unavoidable on dating apps. With only photos and an allotted number of characters to "sell yourself," the platforms are often treated more like a game than a place where humans meet and try to form connections.
A dating app called Siren, which launched in the fall of 2015, is promoting downloads by pitting itself against apps like Tinder in a new campaign called #MoreThanMeat, which enables you to make a "MeatFace" out of your Tinder profile picture. The campaign, which was created in partnership with experimental marketing company Hello Velocity, prompts dating app users to "turn Tinder into the meat shop that it really is," according to the campaign's website.
"Dating apps should treat you like a person," the MeatFace page proclaims.
Anyone can make their own MeatFace, whether or not they have Siren. Some Tinder users have uploaded their own meat portraits to the app, finding that the quirky photo actually led to more exciting and less objectifying conversations, Susie Lee — CEO and co-founder of Siren — said over the phone.
"MeatFaces make excellent ice-breakers: No one starts a conversation with a lackluster 'hey' when there's a steak on your face," Hello Velocity wrote in a blog post about the product. In fact, it can even lead to more meaningful conversations:
"Tinder feels like a crazy stupid frat party," Lee said. "That's not honestly how you'd navigate your life most of the time."
Instead, her company "is using technology to create a more humane space for people to meet and really solve the problem of loneliness," Lee explained. Dating apps that solely rely on pictures for making connections is an illogical and dishonest way to get to know people, she added.
The MeatFace campaign runs parallel with Siren's mission: No "shopping for humans," but connecting people in a "humane" way. Unlike most popular dating apps, Siren allows its users to first blur their photos until a connection is made.
Lee said this feature is especially important for women, who may not want people to know they're on the market at all hours of the day. Lee gave the example of a barista on Tinder: Her presence on the app might lead customers who also use Tinder to believe that she is available to be pursued while on the job.
Whether date-seekers ditch Tinder for apps like Siren is something only time will tell. In the meantime, whether you're on the hunt or not, one things for certain: It's pretty hard to resist taking a meat selfie of your own.