OkCupid’s pro-choice badge is corporate vice-signaling

27 September 2021

7:52 AM

27 September 2021

7:52 AM

Cockburn was intrigued to learn that OkCupid, the dating app service, now offers a ‘pro-choice’ badge for its users’ profiles. The feature was introduced in response to Texas Senate Bill 8, a law that could potentially limit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected at around six weeks.  While dating apps are not Cockburn’s preferred method of wooing the ladies (mystery is everything), he wonders whether this corporate vice-signaling is catching on.

In addition to abortion enthusiasm, OkCupid also promotes itself as a platform for the sexually adventurous. On its website, colorful gender-bending models simulate various sex positions and one apparent orgy. As well as the more traditional boy-meets-girl, the ads target ‘non-monogamists’, ‘pansexual’, ‘bears’, ‘submissives’ and a wide array of fetishists. Oddly, however, this sort of messaging does not appear to go down too well with the general public. One irate New York City commuter went so far as to rip down the advertisements when they appeared on the city’s subway.


— Unbelievably Based Asian Lady (@DamnNobueno) September 22, 2021

‘All of this is gross,’ she said. Ouch!

Still, some people evidently like that sort of thing. When OkCupid’s abortion badge announcement got them featured in the New York Times, a 30-year-old ‘dating coach’ (and OkCupid user) was quoted saying: ‘I would rather be single for the rest of my life than be with a guy who doesn’t support my right to bodily autonomy.’ Though it pains Cockburn to be cynical, he can’t help but wonder whether the men showcasing their abortion badge really have ‘bodily autonomy’ at the top of their minds. After all:

  • Abortion costs him nothing: in Texas, as in all other 49 states, if a man impregnates a woman, he has no legal say in what happens next. If pregnancy results from a causal relationship, he may not even know about it. Unless he is being asked to pay for the abortion of the child he fathered, the procedure costs him nothing and, in any case, is far cheaper than child support
  • It promotes consequence-free sex (for him): by signaling his respect for a woman’s right to choose, he sets himself apart from all those bad men she would rather be ‘single for the rest of [her] life’ than date — that is, men who might be inclined to take sex, its consequences and commitment more seriously. Even pro-choice women admit that abortion involves ‘so much pain’ and heartbreak. Thank goodness, then, for those women willing to do the dirty work!
  • It looks good: OkCupid estimates that between 88 and 95 percent of its users are pro-choice. Adding the badge to his profile will help him stand out for his ability to think just like everyone else. It also helps the needy. OkCupid has said that for every dater who adopts the badge, they will donate $1 to Planned Parenthood — an abortion provider that brings in around $1.3 billion a year
  • He’ll get more action! OkCupid says men who have ‘pro-choice’ indicated on their profiles get twice as many replies as those who don’t. More sex. Less responsibility. What other reasons could he need?

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Show comments