Gender sex tech

Continuing the Conversation

Transcript for Season One Episode Five

Gender, Sex and Tech: Continuing the Conversation

Episode 5: Interview with Chris Dietzel

Transcript by Jennifer Jill Fellows

Jennifer Jill Fellows: Today’s episode comes with a content warning. We will be discussing sexual racism and racial fetishization and derogatory language will be examined.

Jill: So asking someone out on a date really sucks, right? It’s vulnerable and it’s risky. And this is especially true for men who have sex with men. What if the person they approach is homophobic? They might be opening themselves up to verbal or physical abuse. So on surface, dating apps seem like a pretty great technological innovation that makes dating suck a bit less, especially for men who have sex with men. But the truth, is that all too often, the apps themselves enable and sometimes profit off of discriminatory attitudes and behaviors of their users.

Jill: Hey everyone and welcome to Gender, Sex and Tech: Continuing the Conversation. I’m your host, Jennifer Jill Fellows. And today I’m joined by Dr. Christopher Dietzel. Christopher Dietzel is a post-doctoral fellow at the Sexual Health and Gender lab, at Dalhousie university. He researches sexual consent related to dating app use and sexual violence against LGBTQ+ people. Chris has worked as a research assistant on the IMPACTS project, a seven-year Social Science and Humanities Research Council  partnership grant that aims to address sexual violence on university campuses across Canada and internationally. And he has worked on an Australian Research Council linkage project titled “Safety, risk and well-being on digital dating apps.” His research explores the intersections of identity, safety, and technology with a particular focus on the experiences of people of diverse gender and sexual identities. And today, he’s here to talk to me about racism and the online dating app world.

Jill: Hi Chris, welcome to the show.

Christopher Dietzel:  Hello Jill. Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Jill: Yay!

Jill: So as we sit here chatting in digital space, because we’re not in the same space together, I want to take a moment and really try and ground that digital space, physical space. I think it’s really important to resist a dichotomy between digital and physical space. Because digital space occupies and relies on the existence of physical space. So, as I record Gender, Sex and Tech: Continuing the Conversation, today, I’m mindful that I am a settler occupying physical space on the unceded land of the Coast Salish people of the Qiqéytnation. And Chris, where are you joining us from today?

Chris: Yeah. So, I’m joining from Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq Peoples.

Jill: So, to begin, could you tell us a little bit about your academic journey? Like, how did you start out in university? Maybe what led you to becoming interested in researching sexual health and particularly this digital context?

Chris: Yes, so I always really enjoy talking about my journey into this particular field, because and I’ll explain this more in a minute, it kind of started with unsolicited dick pics. In terms of launching a career in academia isn’t necessarily what might expect, but it’s certainly how I’ve come to study this In particular topic. So yeah, in terms of that little spoiler alert, I’ll I’ll give you a bit more background to explain how I got here. So, my background is in education. I’ve worked at universities and schools like facilitating workshops, community work. I’ve done this for years and years. I’ve always wanted to work with students, and I really enjoy facilitating the learning process for people with any and all ages. So, after I graduated from a university, I worked abroad. So, I spent, I did my studies in the States, and then I lived in France in Singapore where I was working on different university programs and teaching. And then after those ended, I moved to Montreal, do a Masters at McGill. And during that time I started working on this research project, the IMPACTS project, which you reference before. And so that project is specifically focused on sexual violence and rape culture. And so, while I was a Master’s student, I was talking with other students, were having conversations about it. We’re trying to make sense of what we’re doing. And it was quite funny because there is one afternoon when I was talking with a couple of the other research assistance. One of them, we started talking about how she was really excited about going on a date later that afternoon. Except that this afternoon. I guess her date must have been in the evening because this afternoon and we’re all chatting, she was like, really frustrated because the guy had just sent her an unsolicited dick pick. So she was like, “We had a great conversation and things were going really well. I thought he had similar values. And then right before meeting up this evening, he sends me this photo.”

Jill:  Kinda dampens the excitement for the date?

Chris: Oh very much so. Yeah. She and me and another person, all three of us were research assistants at the time. And so she was just kind of complaining and sharing her frustration rightfully so. But particularly with the three of us having this shared experience on that IMPACTS projects looking at sexual violence, it really got me thinking about how something that could be very easily brushed off as just kind of a typical normal experience for a woman to, to have happen as she’s going through online dating is actually much more than that. You know, there’s, this really brings up a lot of conversations about power, about sexuality, about feminism, misogyny, thinking about violence in everyday situations, and certainly issues of consent. So that really just got me thinking about my own experiences as a gay man and how women’s experiences with unsolicited dick pics are very different from what I’ve experienced and have had friends experience in the world of Queer people. And so this little bug started, itching in my brain. And I got, I got really curious about if or how other people that had looked at Queer people’s experiences with consent and violence, particularly in the realm of dating apps. And lo and behold, not much work had been done. So yeah, it it really just got me very curious about how something like an unsolicited dick pick or other experiences of consent and sexual violence permeate these everyday interactions that can become so banal, whether that’s on a dating app or using social media, whatever the case may be. It really got me curious about how we think about gender and sexuality, as well as safety and health consent in these digital spaces and what impacts that has on both our online and offline interactions.

Jill: I feel like you’ve already raised this a little bit. But it sounds like your work is informed by the feminist theory of intersectionality, in terms of thinking about, for example, you’ve already talked about the experiences of straight women with regards to these dating apps as opposed to the experiences that happen in Queer communities, for example. Can you talk a little bit about how intersectionality infoms your work?

Chris:  For sure. So again, this isn’t interesting because even before I got to university, even before I did my Master’s and my PhD, I kind of realized that I had an interest in intersectionality without having the words to describe it as a concept. And so intersectionality is this idea that was developed by Kimberlé Crenshaw. And it’s a concept that is meant to capture this notion that people have multiple identities and that society has systems and institutions that grant privilege and power based on people’s identities. So, the theory of intersectionality comes into recognize how the multiple forms of identity can relate to inequality, disadvantage, oppression. And certainly, when these identities intersect, intersectionality, this can compounding create obstacles for people who find theirselves at the margin of multiple marginalized identities. So, I know that was kinda like a long answer to the question of what is intersectionality? But in terms of how it informs my work, I find intersectionality very important because all of us have multiple identities and whether or not we think about our identities, particularly in relation to normative or dominant identities, all of us have multiple identities. So, with intersectionality, I really like to think about how those identities come into impacting our experiences. So, whether that’s with other people, whether that’s with systems, institutions, society, community, whatever. By thinking about how our identities influence our experiences and certainly then how it also influences our safety and health and well-being.

Jill: And these power relations to you that you were talking about?

Chris: Yeah, very much so. Exactly.

Jill: Who gains the village of kind of having perceived power, having power granted to them in these systems versus who does not necessarily gain these privileges.

Chris: A 100 percent. And that’s part of the reason why I now looking back on the previous, like my experiences prior to being in academia, I’ve realized that intersectionality is a lens that I’ve applied to my work in my day-to-day life, just trying to understand how I and other people go through the world, you know, and some of us certainly have more power and privilege. Some of us face oppression and barriers. But I really like thinking about intersectionality because it helps us scrutinize that issues and problems and encourages us to think about how identity influences outcomes or how society’s response to identity influences outcomes.

Jill: And I think it’s also really interesting that you talked about grappling with, are using this concept, this lens before you had the words for it. And then kind of gaining the words and gaining more knowledge about how other people have used this theory. I can only imagine with kinda like a more clarifying moment even.

Chris: Yeah, and that’s something that I’ve really enjoyed by being in academia as we have. There’s so many concepts in so many ideas that I have yet to discover. Somebody else might be on their way to discovering. And I really appreciate that it’s helping us makes us the world that we live in. Sometimes of course, it makes it easier or sometimes more challenging to address it, these concepts, the actual problems. But nonetheless, it gives us the language to understand what’s happening. So yeah, I’ve, I’ve really enjoyed, and intersectionality and truly has, has become integral to so much of that work that I do.

Jill: So we’ve talked kind of about your general research and how you came to do research and sexual health? Can we speak a little bit about the specific research project you conducted that led to the chapter in the book Gender, Sex, and Tech.

Chris: Sure. Um, so the study that I conducted from a chapter in Gender, Sex and Tech, this came out of a larger research project in which I examine how men who have sex with men interact on dating apps and through dating apps. So not just their online interactions, but also if they connect to somebody online and meet in person. So in this larger project, I really wanted to explore how men who have sex with men or MSM. MSM understand and practice consent in their online and offline interactions, and then how they experience sexual violence through their use of apps. So my project wasn’t conceptualize to specifically look at race. However, as I was conducting the interviews and as I was going through to look at consent and look at sexual violence, I realized that many of the participants experiences varied because of their identity and race was such a prevalent in obvious way in which that it varied. And so just as I, as I was doing my analysis, I found that it was impossible to ignore the ways in which that racism is embedded in society, especially when applying this intersectional framework of analysis. So truly like that was the inspiration. My chapter is, I just was going through and I was like, wow, there’s so much here that I didn’t expect to find, but of course makes sense that’s there. And so rather than, I mean, I’ve inserted bits and pieces, of course in my other chapters or other works that I’ve done. But it felt really good to be able to focus explicitly on this in, in this book chapter. So thank you for that opportunity.

Jill: Yeah, absolutely. I also think it’s really, really cool, the idea that you start a research project, perhaps intending to examine when question. And through the gathering of the qualitative data and analysis, you find out, hey, there’s all these other questions here that perhaps are not on your radar. And I’ve totally had that moment where I’m like, of course, like why, why isn’t this on my radar?

Chris: Yeah. Yeah. There’s a few instances that immediately come to mind when you’re saying that. It’s one thing that I love about research is that I always tell this to my students. Sometimes the point of research is actually to come up with more questions than answer.

Jill: Yeah, yeah.

Chris: So yeah, and this is where even in conducting the interviews and gathering the data for this project, I’m I’m, uh, a white cisgender, gay male. And there was one of my participants who was Black. He was, he was sharing his experiences with me in our interview. And a few times he paused because what he was going to say was going to be directed at me as a white man.

Jill: Right.

Chris: And so I think this was even a quote that I put in my chapter is how he talks about white guys with blond hair and blue eyes. And that’s described me, you know, it wasn’t captured or the quotes, but we had a good conversation about it honestly. And this is where I get to intersectionality comes into our day-to-day lives. It’s, it’s, it’s this idea of not just our fixed identities, but our positionality with other people in terms of how we walk into a room and how our identity interacts with everybody else in that room.

Jill:  So then when you’re in the interview spaces, it’s not like you’ve stepped outside of the structural power dynamics that exist?

Chris:  No, not at all. And I think that’s something, I mean, I’m, I’m a qualitative researcher by nature and I just, this idea of objectivity, I think is very  . . . I think, can we, we actually ever be objective? As a researcher. You sure I might be asking the questions, but I’m the one who came up with them. I’m the one thing that analyzes them, so, I feel very fortunate that I was able to have these conversations very openly with people who have different identities to me. And I’m really excited to share this work because I think that other people can continue to build on this in probably and find things that I didn’t just because of my own positionality. So I really encourage people to critique this work, to build on this work, to do more because that’s what I want to do as well as continue to explore some of these issues that I uncovered because I think it’s so much more work needs to be done in this area.

Jill: So let’s back up for any listeners who don’t know, what our dating apps, how do they work? What’s the history of them? So here we are talking about research you did on MSM using dating apps and the kind of encounters, our relationships both online and in-person that came out of the use of these dating apps. But for anybody who hasn’t used way, what are they? What’s the history of them?

Chris: Yeah, It’s such a good question. And actually, when I was preparing for this for our little podcast talk, I quite enjoyed the fact that you asked me this question explicitly. I had a little bit of fun and kind of digging this up because I think we tend to think that things just kind of appear and sometimes we forget the history of how things evolved.

Jill: Right?

Chris: Like, with technologies easy to pick up our phones and just look at it as something that has come about since like the early 2000s, or late 2000s. So dating apps actually have quite a history in, in matchmaking, in newspapers and personal ads kind of stuff.

Jill: I remember those classified ads.

Chris: Right when at the end of the newspaper something that would be the personal section or the classified section. And you could find job ads or want ads and people could put in information about dating, they could say, describe themselves and have somebody else responds to a phone call. Or sometimes you could put it Missed Connections, say you’re looking for a person.

Jill: Oh, yeah. I saw you on the bus route. And we had this moment. Yeah. Please contact me. I remember those.

Chris: Yeah. And so dating apps, were kinda came up like with the advent of the Internet and online spaces. Dating apps kind of evolved from online websites and chat rooms and forums where people were using them to connect. So there were specific sites that were for different purposes, but there were certainly some around like dating and sexual attractions and Craigslist might be one that comes to people’s mind of the variance based like I’m looking for this type of a thing. But yeah, so they were so dating apps were popularized in the early 2010s, and they are a result from the digitalization of dating services that really began in the 1990s. And interestingly, what’s many people might not realize about the history of dating apps is that apps, as we know them today, were actually first developed by and catered to Queer man.

Jill: Okay.

Chris: So Grindr was the first one that really launched and became quite popular and that was in 2009. Tindr wasn’t launched until 2012, so three years later.

Jill: Wow.

Chris: Yeah. So yeah, in that regard, the history of dating apps is really a Queer history because of how it catered to publics who are not able to share their identities in person. And so where Queer people are concerned., it offered a safe space where they could connect with other people in non-visible ways.

Jill: Yeah, where there might be a risk, for example, of trying to make a connection in person.

Chris: Exactly.

Jill: This risk is mitigated or at least that’s the hope, right? When you’re trying to connect with people online.

Chris: And once again, that history is tied into what we see in the politics and societal issues that were coming out of the 80s, 90s, and 2000s where “gay, okay,” really started to take hold, but also embedded it in concerns around like HIV AIDS, around, like the feminist movements were happening at that time. There’s a lot of things that contribute to this movement of how Queer people were searching for spaces where they could be themselves and seek these interactions in truly safe ways in terms of sexual health but as well as physical health, right?

Jill: Right.

Chris: So this is part of the reason why I was really excited about this question is because I don’t, I don’t know that listeners are, the general public is aware of the history of how dating apps evolves. And it really, it comes from such a Queer history around safety and health.

Jill: Yeah, I think you’re right that quite often, when a technology is ready to hand, like a dating app that you can just load on your phone, you don’t necessarily reflect about the history of it or why it exists, or how it came to exist. That these technologies that are just kind of ready to hand, I mean, we know that’s not true, particularly those of us who are older and I’m an older millennial woman, we know that these dating apps were not always there, but we don’t necessarily reflect on that. So I really appreciate you bringing that history forward for us.

Chris: My pleasure.

Jill: So how do they work for anybody who hasn’t used them?

Chris: Yes. So once again, I think this is such a great question because on one hand it seems so basic, but on the other hand, there’s such a difference in terms of how they work. So in terms of how they work, quite basically, dating apps function on this premise of geo-locating services. So the, the match people based on geographic proximity. And so with the software of the off, they use your GPS to find people who are in a close radius and then present to you as a match or somebody that you can contact. And that’s the bare bones of it. And in that sense, it’s not necessarily very different than any other social media platforms that would like, connect you with people in nearby. This one comes with the premise of, or in some sense is the promise of, we’re going to give you a pool of people that you can access online that allows you then to meet in person. And once again, that premise is very similar to what we’ve seen over the personal ads and like online dating websites prior to apps, is that we’re going to give you a pool that you can access that allows you to have the relationship in-person that you desire. Granted with the apps and technology not everyone is looking for an in-person interaction. Many people are very, very happy for it to stay in the digital space. That’s fine. But in terms of how they work, getting back to your question, there are so many different softwares that are embedded in these apps that although we categorize them as dating apps, they actually function very differently in terms of logistics. So like Tindr or being one of the most popular ones or Bumble, some of these, they tend to use like a swipe logic, right? Where you find a match right? If you swipe left, you’re not interested. If you swipe right, you are interested and if you both swipe right, then you can start chatting. Not all dating apps function that way. So for instance, Grindr, Scruff, Hornet, and others have a grid. So when people log in, they automatically have access to everybody in their geographic location.

Jill: Oh, Okay.

Chris: It just shows, for instance, on Grindr, I think the first 200 people that are close. If you use filters, you can filter based on age or ethnicity, which we can talk about it a bit.

Jill: Yeah, we definitely will.

Chris: Yup, but those filters then allow you to narrow your search so that you still see like 200 people in your grid, but based on the criteria that you’re looking for. And that one you don’t match, you literally just go to click on somebody’s little image and you can automatically start talking to them.

Jill: So you send them a message and see what happens

Chris:  Exactly.

Jill: As opposed to hoping that we both swipe right.

Chris: Right. And even with that swiping, right, there’s variation. So like Coffee Meets Bagel and Bumble both put time limits. So once you first match, you have 24 hours to start a chat. And if not, that match disappears. And this of course brings out like, conversations around like being on apps. And since these are free apps, marketing and publicity, like consuming apps. So you know, there’s, there’s certainly that logic that comes in from the from the company side.

Jill: So it feels like there would be this pressure, like “I need to stay on the app because what if I miss my match, right? Like what if I take a digital vacation for the weekend and I miss my match?”

Chris: Very much so. And so this is where the premises can be very simple or similar. But to the variations can have implications on how people think and interact in those spaces.

Jill: Right.

Chris: Happen is another one that matches people. But happen is one that it really emphasize the geographic location piece and only presents you with matches of people that you’ve crossed as you’ve gone through your day-to-day interactions. So like for instance, if you’re walking down Main Street and then turn left on to Hill Street and that right onto Maple. If you’ve crossed paths with somebody in the real-world, if you will, than that match will show up.

Jill: I find that kind of really uncomfortable.

Chris: Yeah. So I mean, yeah. We can have many more conversations around companies datification and all of these types of things. But that’s the premise of Happen, is that you happen across people that you’ve crossed and in your day-to-day life.

Jill: It’s sort of like they’re trying to manufacturer and meet cute.

Chris: Yeah, I mean, they’ve marketed themselves as playing back to this idea of like a missed connection. You  might turn your head when you pass somebody on the street. So we’re going to help make that easier for you. But what’s also really interesting, and there’s this app called Lex, which is targeted towards pure public specifically. But it actually has kept this text-based personals ad that we’ve seen in the 90’s, in these pre-digital spaces, Lex actually has maintained that as their entire interface. So it functions exactly like newspaper personals did pre-internet. You get to a certain number of characters, you post a message, and then you see a certain number of them, again based on geographic proximity. When you get to connect with people, not based on images or matches, but based on the text that you funded appealing.

Jill: So not all of these are image-based. It sounds like.

Chris: Nope.

Jill: But a lot of them are yes.

Chris: Yes. The majority of them are that way. Lex is one of the few that has really emphasized the text-based interaction.

Jill: So when we think about them as image-based, perhaps we can bring back in this idea of intersectionality.

Jill: So we have some of the initial intention behind a lot of these dating sites, and then dating apps was to create this safe space for men who have sex with men or MSM to meet and connect. But now that we’re bringing intersectionality in and recognizing that many of these apps are image-based, not text-based, what might we notice here or why did your research uncover?

Chris: Yeah, and so once again, I want to say that my research is not unique in this sense that what I’ve put in this chapter is meant to be kind of a collection of what many people have experienced in their everyday lives.

Jill: Yeah.

Chris: So I don’t try to claim this is original work in that sense, you know, it’s not all things that I’m uncovering for the first time. It’s more so a collection of these ideas so that people can understand that this from a like empirical sense, this is, this is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Jill: Many people out imagine, are already pretty aware of this problem. Right? Like many of your participants are well aware of this problem, but it’s good to have it kind of laid out in this empirical format for people who maybe aren’t aware or for even people who are aware to have it legitimized again and say it’s not just mean there’s all these people who are experiencing this.

Chris: Exactly. And in that regard, once again, I feel that research and education are so important because it gives people the words and the validity to make sense of their experiences. So, yeah, to answer your question, you know, and we think of intersectionality in these dating apps just because there is this community of MSM men who have sex with men or the LGBTQ+ community. That doesn’t mean that everybody has the same experience. When we take the intrasexual approach, it very vividly demonstrates that that is not the case. People have different sorts of interactions. They feel varying levels of safety. This can impact their mental health, their sexual health in very different ways because of how people interact. And in this case, as I talked about in this chapter, how, how racism comes into play to impact people’s experiences on dating apps or through dating apps. So one example of this, particularly to emphasize the intersectional aspect, because again, intersectionality is not just about one identity, it’s about numerous identities. Is on these Queer, gay dating apps, the phrase, “No Fats, No femmes No Asians.”

Jill: Oh.

Chris: Yeah, this hasn’t been, as, I think it’s kind of gone out of style. Thankfully. This was much more prevalent years ago. But nonetheless, it’s one that has certainly been embedded in Queer culture that people are familiar with. So at its height, for instance, there was Kimchi who’s a famous drag performer who is on Ru Paul’s Drag Race. She actually did a spoof of this phrase “No fats, no femmes, no Asians” in her finale of her season, so what she did is she, her song was titled “Fat Femme and Asian” and it was meant to, yeah, reclaim these identities in an empowering way rather than like being a victim of that, of that discrimination and racism. I think it’s really important to note that with this example “No Fats, No Femmes, No Asians,” we’re seeing the racism here in terms of no Asians, but we’re also seeing discrimination based on body type. So no fats. We’re seeing discrimination based on gender expression, gender identity, no femmes. And so by taking this intersectional approach and certainly with this well-known phrase, “No fats, no femmes, no Asians” it really reminds us how identities intersect and how people with different identities will have very, very different experiences. And the phrase “no fats, no femmes, no Asians,” is one that people would put on their profiles to signify that they were not interested in any one of these categories or in more than one of these categories.

Jill: So it was put in profiles. I think you also say in your research that even if it wasn’t in the profile, people with sometimes done that as a message back. So if we think about, for example, Grindr where it’s not about swiping to get a match, but you send a message like, “Hey, how’s it going or hello” or something, that people would receive this in reply based again, solely on a discrimination regarding their image or the way their image was presented on the app.

Chris: For sure and not everybody is going to be so explicit by saying no this, no, whatever. While some people might say “No fats, no femmes, no Asians,” other people will be more covert or indirect in order to hide their racism. And so what some of my participants said is that folks would respond to them and say, “Oh, you’re cute, but you’re not my type,”

Jill: Right?

Chris: Yeah. And so that’s an example of what Butler calls a speech act.

Jill: This is Judith Butler, right?

Chris: Judith Butler, yes. Yep. And so this is, it’s a phrase that can be well understood in terms of its meaning, but it’s meant to obfuscate the actual meaning and confuse it so that if, for instance somebody who receives the response, you’re not my type and calls it out, then the original, the  sender of that phrase can say, “No, it’s not about racism, it’s just who I’m attracted to.”

Jill: It’s just my sexual preference.

Chris: Exactly. And so is specifically done in that particular way in order to hide the racism of it, in order to hide the discrimination.

Jill: So this gets us to a couple of different forms of racism that you identified in your research that are quite common. Again, probably many users have behalf are already aware of this though they may not have necessarily the language to name it. And so the two forms that you identified that are quite common are sexual racism, other form is racial fetishization. Can you elaborate? And I think we’ve already kind of touched on this, but can you elaborate a bit on what sexual racism is or how it operates?

Chris: Yes. So sexual racism is quite simply when people exclude potential sexual partners based on race. So it’s racism put in the context of sex and sexuality, intimacy, romance. And so in this sense, it’s not necessarily any different than any other type of racism or just racism is racism in general, it’s just that it specifically manifests in these intimate, or sexual interactions.

Jill: And we can also loop back into return to your discussion of speech acts with the idea of saying, “You’re not my type” as a way of concealing the sexual and racism. Would that be fair?

Chris: A 100 percent, completely. Yeah. As I was saying a moment ago, That’s, that’s exactly the point is because when you use words like “type,” that can be both so personal, but it’s also so vague. You know, there could be so many reasons why you’re not into somebody. And so it could be directed at racism, but or directed at race, but it might not, right?

Jill: So it might be like we don’t have the same political views, right?

Chris: I’m not interested at this point. No, you’re too young or too old or too this or too that.

Jill: You’re looking for a certain kind of relationship that I’m not looking for.

Chris: Yeah. And based on any type of cue that’s on the person’s profile. And it might not even be about the person themselves. It could be about the person who’s saying it, their own individual thoughts or how they project that onto another person. It’s just that in this way, speech acts can be so powerful because the meaning can be so well understood. And yet it is by no means clear which then allows, as you said before, it to be concealed and, it gives the person the ability to, to not be held accountable for their discrimination.

Jill: Right. So it’s kind of a plausible deniability are not terribly plausible deniability.

Chris: Yes, but very much so. It’s intended to a 100 percent.

Jill: Okay. So what about the other quite common type of racism you found this racial fetishization. Can you talk about what that is and perhaps also how people may try to normalize that?

Chris: Yeah. So well, people can be excluded, like sexually excluded because of their race, sexual racism. People can also be specifically sought after because of their race. And so this is done through racial stereotyping or specifically like racial fetishization. And so in these instances, race becomes an object of sexual desire rather than a criteria through which one is excluded. So race then exists for the pleasure of the other person rather than an identity that a person holds. So, the fetishization of racialized bodies allows race to be more easily consumed by MSM, specifically white MSM. So in this way, MSM can experiment with racialized bodies that are comfortable or temporary accessible on their terms. It turns it, as I said before, into an object of desire, which means that the probably white MSM is allowed to take advantage of and exploit, the identity of race for their own sexual pleasure.

Jill:  Right.

Chris: So just along those lines, what this means is when, when race is fetishized, it dehumanizes the person and it reduces them to a sexual object that exists for the pleasure of the other person. So identity, this entire person becomes an object.

Jill: So when we’re thinking about racial fetishization, and quite often as you say, we’re talking about white MSM, engaging and racial fetishization. To what degree do fantasies kind of play a role here in terms of objectifying the bodies or the races of these people that white MSM are messaging and trying to engage with.

Chris: The one that immediately comes to mind, the BBC or the “big Black cock.” And this is, this is a category not only that you might see on apps, but this is prominent in pornography as well. There’s, if you go to porn hub or other sites, the mainstream is assumed to be white. And then anytime you veer from the mainstream, from, away from the normative white identity, then you become a category, something that is non-normative. So “big Black cock” is the fetishization, this, it’s this again, racial stereotype of hyper-masculine Black men, where the Black man is seen as having this big Black cock. He and his body become an object of desire for someone else.

Jill: Right. And one thing I think is really interesting and answer that I kind of want to tease out is that what we’re seeing then on these dating apps, and I think we know this, but I want to tease it out anyway, what we’re seeing on these dating apps is not exclusive to the apps, right? They exist in this culture and are supported by discriminatory and racist sexual scripts that exist, as you said, in pornography, but not only in pornography kind of in society, more generally.

Chris: Very much So. Yeah, it, and this is where perhaps the online world, Internet, none of this is necessarily different from what exists. And so this is as technology becomes more and more embedded in our day-to-day lives, we have to understand that the digital world is not separate from the physical world, right? It’s, it’s still a medium through which we interact. Just like you could go to a bar or a library or something. It’s a means of connecting with people. And so these are still people who are interacting via digital technologies. So the racism is still there. The discrimination is still there. All of this exists. And it’s not unique to dating apps, it’s not unique to the internet. It just means that it’s. . .

Jill: It’s just reproduced on the dating apps.

Chris: And quite honestly, with online interactions and in spaces like dating apps or, you know, if you go to the YouTube comments for example, when people, you know when I specifically, I bring that up as an example because you immediately have this idea of how people have been liberated in online spaces to say whatever the heck they want or to do whatever the heck they want to do. And that kind of that anonymity, that the ability to be invisible, to be protected online, protected not in terms of the person who’s targeted, but protected in terms of the perpetrator. You can say and do whatever you want in many ways without consequence.

Jill: Right.

Chris: And so bringing that back to the context of dating apps, it just the anonymity in the invisibility of being in these online spaces. And with examples like Grindr where you don’t have to have a profile photo, where you don’t have to put in information on like Tindr where it match, where it links up to your Facebook account. For example, be as invisible as you want on these platforms, which means you can say or do anything without people knowing that it’s you. So in that sense, the digital space allows people to be more discriminatory, to be more racist, to be, all of these things exaggerated because there, there’s no types of social boundaries that might limit those inhibitions.

Jill: Right. So what we’re seeing then is a reproduction and perhaps amplification of discrimination in these digital spaces.

Chris: Yeah.

Jill: Because people who already have power in the non-digital world continue to take that power and that privilege into these digital spaces. And it’s amplified by the perceived safety of anonymity.

Chris: Yup, and it’s anonymity is one, there’s numerous affordances that we’re getting into, like science and technology studies, media studies. And this is where my, my research sits. It’s a very fun intersection of these different domains. But yet completely the affordances of online spaces really amplifies, it can, it can, it doesn’t have to, but it amplifies these discriminations for sure. But I do want to say one more thing about racial fetishization, specifically as it relates to the example that I gave around the BBC. I specifically want to emphasize that when people fetishize bodies, what it really does, it not only objectifies the person, but it completely removes any type of historical or political meanings that are embedded in people’s identities. So again, if we’re looking at Black people as an example, this completely ignores hundreds of years, centuries of, of violence and racism. And so it really, it completely removes the context of identity, the political, the historical, the violent histories that have existed. Again in the relationship, not with the identity of the person themselves, but the relationship between a white man and a Black man, for example here. That relationship, that history of violence. So when we’re thinking about white MSM who interact with racialized or Black MSM in this specific example, these fetishization actually are, are informed by white men’s construction of Black men as animalistic and savage. This idea that Black men could only be tamed under white men’s discipline and control.

Jill: Yeah.

Chris: Who they could then domesticate through slavery and through violence. So once again, racial fetishization erases all of these histories and not only objectifies, but ignores really important aspects of a person’s identity.

Jill: Yeah, I think that’s a really important thing to highlight. And these sexual scripts that we see reproduced online, reproduced in pornography, reproduced in mainstream media, they didn’t occur in a vacuum, right? We have a history of white people constructing racist scripts and applying them to the bodies of people of color, different scripts for different people. And as you’ve said, there is this sexual script that has existed for a long time placed on the bodies of Black men.

Chris: This is one of the many reasons that I find it so important to do this work is as a white person, I have a responsibility. I’m part of these communities. I can’t say that I will ever fully understand what a racialized person, what a person of color is going through. But I have a responsibility by being part of a society to do better. This is why I want to have these types of conversations and I want to challenge my students and other people to think about these types of things is because whether or not it impacts us directly, we share a society that expects some things from one another. And a very obvious example, right now is of course with COVID. You know, even if you yourself decide not to take the vaccine, that has implications on everybody around you. So I think that race and racism is just a whole, it, it’s the same type of idea that even if you choose not to engage with this or if you decide to be not racist versus  anti-racist. There are implications to all of our actions, have consequences on other people.

Jill:  And a lot of what we’re seeing here is that the social context and the social consequence is often downplayed, ignored or erased. So if I say, “you’re just not my type.” Hey, that’s just about me. Right? It like it’s not about wider context of racism. Or if I say, “Oh, I have this fantasy and I would like this person to be a part of it.” Again, I’m trying to say that that’s about my own sexuality and my own sexual desire. And I’m not considering the context in which this fantasy was born, for example.

Chris: Right, or how it impacts another person who’s actually happening with emotions and feelings and their own wants and desires and needs and boundaries, et cetera.

Jill: So I want to talk about the platforms themselves for a moment.

Chris:  Sure.

Jill: We noted earlier and said We’re going to come back to it, that Grindr, for example, has in the past offered users and ethnicity filter that allowed a user to filter the app such that the only potential matches they would see would be of a specific ethnicity. I believe this is a filter. people had to pay for it. So it wasn’t part of the original free package that you get when you download the app?

Chris: Yeah.

Jill:  So can you speak a little bit about this filter?

Chris: Yes. So Grindr, like many apps, has a free version and a paid version. And so prior to June 2020 and Grindr wasn’t the only one Scruff is another app, there’s been other apps who’ve had a version of this, but prior to June 2020, Grindr and Scruff both have an ethnicity filter that allowed people to sort and view MSM based on their race and ethnicity. And so it was a paid filter, which we can talk about in a moment. But with the ethnicity filter, MSM could cleanse dating sites of racialized bodies, so that they wouldn’t ever see a non-white body online or that they could only see a particular type of body. And so, you know, if you’re excluding people of a particular race or just racialized people as an entire category, then this can be referred to as whitewashing, which is the social exclusion of racialized MSM from gay culture.

Jill: Okay, So other dating apps already had this Grindr is not exclusive here. And it exists on these mediums because this kind of racism exists in society as well.

Chris: Completely. And this is one thing that pride celebrations have been criticized for, for numerous years is that it tends to be a very like, white, cis oriented and gay versus Queer space. Like we can tease these types of identities out. And not just pride celebrations, but also companies. And we see this not only with whitewashing, where we’re privileging white bodies, but also pink washing where some businesses might be appealing to LGBTQ+ communities only for a specific month of the year, et cetera. So again, once again, with the things that we’re seeing online are not unique to online spaces. It’s just that they have certain implications in those online spaces.

Jill: Right.

Chris: Going back to the ethnicity filter, this was a practice that participants in my study shared, but had been well-known for numerous years, is that these were that the ethnicity filter really allowed users to remove racialized MSM from the app. And it wasn’t just the filter that allowed people to do so. There’s other ways to do it, such as like, blocking people. So, blocking, it was a affordance that was that’s intended to stop harassing or violent people from interacting with you. But who’s to say that you can’t use this affordance for something else? So once again, people might be blocking somebody based on their race, which would remove them from their app entirely.

Jill: Right. I think it’s interesting, problematic, lots to dig into that the ethnicity felt there was something you had to purchase.

Chris: Oh, yeah. Let’s get back to that. I do want to talk about that. And so this is once again how online speech be very, I like how you said it before. It can amplify what we see happening in society. And so these apps were able to capitalize on racism by putting it behind a paywall. Which meant that if you wanted to act in a racist way but not be visibly racist, what you could do then is access the ethnicity filter and look for exactly who you wanted to.

Jill: And other people wouldn’t know that you had activated the filter, right?

Chris:  Exactly. Right. And that’s exactly what I was just going to say, is that it doesn’t demonstrate this to other people. It only shows up on your interface and not in terms of how other people interact with the app.

Jill: So it even removes the need for you to perform a speech act, right? You don’t have to tell someone you’re not my type.

Chris: So yeah, and this is the interesting part with filters is it, it doesn’t remove people like blocking would the filter just it, it allows you to see certain people. So somebody else who’s outside of your filter could still contact to you.

Jill: Oh, okay.

Chris: So you might still engage in those speech acts. You just they’ve just by, those people might not be visible. Those where you don’t want to see might not be visible. But it did allow for these apps to, to truly monetize the fact that they knew people would categorize and look for others based on certain criteria. And age, I think if we want to talk about discrimination, that’s a whole, another one that we can have long conversations about, when we have age-based discrimination to be much more socially acceptable in society. And so the age-based filter has continued to be free. But then the ethnicity the filter was, was paid. There was a paid filter which commodified the dating app experience. So that users social relations, how they interact with the app, might encourage people to think about each other as objects that can be consumed and thrown away based on race or ethnicity.

Jill: Wow. So the filter has now been removed?

Chris:  Yes.

Jill: What, what are your participants thoughts about the removal of that filter.

Chris: Yes. So the filter was removed in June of 2020. The removal of the filter was a direct consequence of the Black Lives Matter protests that were happening during that time. And so the BLM protests successfully pressured Grindr and Scruff to remove the ethnicity filter. And to answer your question, some people might think of the removal of the filter as a good thing because now it doesn’t allow people to filter based on race. But what’s also really interesting to think about is that so far in our conversation we had, we have had a white-centric conversation around this ethnicity filter or, not necessarily white-centric, but centric around white supremacy. So people who subscribe to white supremacy, which are typically white people we would filter based on, on race. However, what’s interesting, you know, what many people said once the filter was removed in June, July of 2020, was that the ethnicity filter could actually be used for good.

Jill: Okay.

Chris: And so we recenter ourselves around the experiences of racialized people. What then the ethnicity filter allowed for was for racialized folks to find other people like them. So this could create, in some sense, is a safer space so that people of color could only see, and if they wanted to only interact with other people of color, it turned to space that could be potentially violent or harmful or if they crossed an profile that said “no fats, no friends, no Asians,” it helps them remove the visibility from there. Again, it doesn’t say it doesn’t exist, but it, it, it filtered it in a way that would then allow the app to feel safer to be more comfortable for those who are using it.

Jill: So your could limit, the amount of exposure you have to sexual racism and potentially racial fetishization begin by limiting your exposure to the profiles of people who may be posting these kind of harmful things on their profile.

Chris: Yes. And so once again, as is the case with all technology, with any type of affordance, there’s going to be goods, there’s going to be bads. It’s, that’s quite a simplistic way to answer this type of a question. But I think it’s important to recognize that technology and apps. These are tools that allow people to interact in certain ways. And sometimes there’s intended uses. In terms of blocking, it’s intended to protect from people who could be harassing. But then there’s also developed uses in terms of blocking people based on race or ethnicity. So once again, the ethnicity filter is a good example of this because it’s a tool that allows people to do with it what they would like. So it can be used for good, it can be used for harm. But what I want to emphasize is that the removal of the ethnicity filter didn’t remove racism. And once again, this comes back to a conversation is a theme that we’ve really reiterated numerous times which I’m happy about. Just that, we have to remind ourselves, as I’ve explained in my findings and there’s many other people’s experiences have demonstrated, racism manifests in numerous, numerous ways. You know, deleting the filter won’t stop people from being racist.

Jill:  I want to return to something you brought up earlier when we were talking about how different apps function and how different apps engage the user. And we talked, for example, about the match system that some of these apps employ and how you only have 24 hours to respond versus the way other things might work. Because I think one thing that you note in your research is that the user interface of these dating apps might actually be affecting the way users engage. So you have an interviewee, they’re pseudonyms for all the interviewees. So the synonym is Louis.

Chris: Yup.

Jill: And this is quoting from your chapter, Louis said, “So we’re fantasizing because we have a menu. We don’t like somebody? Next. We don’t like him? Block him even better.” And I found this response, as well as some of the other things that you discovered about users’ use of these apps, really interesting because I have heard dating apps being compared to a menu users describing it as casually browsing. And so I wondered if you could elaborate on some of the different user interfaces a bit more here and how they might affect user experience.

Chris: Yeah. And I’m really happy that you brought up this quote because as anybody who’s writing a paper or an article or chapter can relate to, you have to be very careful about word count and all these types of things. So Louis wasn’t actually the only participant who talked about apps as a man. And just because of space I had, I chose the most interesting quote and his made the cut. But there’s another one that I want to share with you now that was another participant, Diego, who specifically also used the word menu. And here again, I’m going to be reading word for word what Diego said.

Jill: Awesome.

Chris:  He said, “I know it’s a bit of a ridiculous thing, but the way I see it is really like you are in front of a shop or in front of a restaurant. You look at a menu, you browse and then “Oh. I have a craving for this. Today. I want fries, tomorrow I want ice cream. The next day I want the biggest hamburger.” Just to simplify things, what I look for first in this app is to satisfy my immediate need. Because I’m horny, I want to get laid. That would be my immediate need.”

Jill: Okay.

Chris: I really, I really appreciate how he, the metaphor that I use not to go beyond the menu. And specifically you can use foods. And even the, you know, the implications are like the pictures that could convert in your mind when you, when he says like, “and the next day I want the biggest hamburger.” Hey, I love, I love the visual imagery of this, but I think it’s so fascinating because it’s particularly relates to this point, your point about the interface is because with Grindr specifically because of how it’s designed, where you have all of these different squares in front of you. You’re truly looking at a grid of people’s faces or just a profiles, right? Not everybody has an image up, but so you get to tap on somebody and see if the information that you’re receiving satisfies your craving. If it, if it, if it will satisfy your desire.

Jill: Right.

Chris: And so in that sense, it is kind of like a menu. You truly have your choice of who you want to interact with. And based on what your taste is in that moment, you could pursue somebody or not.

Jill: I also think it’s kind of interesting that both these quotes, and particularly that second one you gave from Diego, center the user’s desires and the user’s needs. Rather than perhaps centering, I don’t know, a connection or reciprocity or a relationship or something like that. Is that a part of the interface of these apps as well?

Chris: Very much so. And I think, I think it’s emphasized further in apps that are catering towards men who have sex with men because of, once again, identity comes into play is that with a history of gay or Queer men’s identities. So often sexuality is, is emphasizing the immediacy of a sexual interaction. That, and this goes to a stereotype around gay queer men is that men are always looking for sex, are always seeking sex, are always open to sex. And this has implications on consent as well in terms of being perceived as always consenting to sex.

Jill: Right.

Chris: Which then mitigates the violence that somebody could experience. Because if they’re if they’re consent is implied, then they won’t be experiencing violence anyway. Again, that’s a whole other conversation. But to answer your point directly, yes, I think it certainly comes back to identity here. And in the case of gay men’s experiences, how we’re looking to feed a particular desire as quickly and as specific to the individual as possible. Like, I know what I want. And that’s a sexual interaction in X, Y Z way. I want it to be in these terms at this time. Is this person hosting? Are they coming over? Are we using a condom or are we not? There’s, we can really prescribe, we can negotiate all of those different aspects in the apps. And once again, I don’t want to say that this is necessarily a bad thing. In some senses, this can really like, the openness of apps can facilitate honest conversations about condom use, about people’s STI status. It can facilitate and encourage people have negotiations around the sexual encounter. So that rather than just showing up and not being able to voice that empower people to talk about what they really want. Once again, however, it’s not always in a good way because people might be empowered to act in racist or discriminatory ways, right?

Jill: Right.

Chris: This is where it’s, you know, there’s so much nuance.

Jill: It’s complicated.

Chris:  Yeah. It’s complicated.

Jill: Yeah. You’ve brought up this issue of consent. And this is something you also raise in the chapter. You note that the racism and other forms of discrimination that exist on dating apps and in the world create a bit of a perceived power hierarchy. And that this can lead to marginalized men to agree to certain sexual acts or sexual encounters that they might otherwise refused to be a part of. So I wonder if you can talk about these issues and consent a bit more.

Chris: I just, I find this idea of consent to be so fascinating because it permeates so many aspects of our lives at how people experience violence, as well as enjoyment, like consent can facilitate in a positive way or a negative way the experiences that we have. And once again, it’s not unique to a sexual interaction. We’re seeing this play out right now, particularly around vaccines and COVID, et cetera, where the conversations people are having around what they expect of themselves and what they expect of others are truly conversations around consent and boundaries. What we feel comfortable doing, what we don’t feel comfortable doing it, in what situation with whom, et cetera. So to go back to your question around how, around the aspect of power in hierarchies and privilege and stuff. This also relates the question of intersectionality. And so what I want to actually do is start this off by once again reading a quote from one of the participants.

Jill: Perfect.

Chris: And I just, I find this to be so illustrative of this point in particular, that I want to use the participant’s words to capture this completely. So this quote comes from Jayden, who’s a Black male who was in my study. And he said, “For example, the white privileged male, so blond hair, blue eyes. They know they have an advantage over you because less people want to sleep with a Black male or less people want to sleep with an Asian guy. The white privileged male can message any number of people and get far more responses than the Asian guy who knows he’s not going to get as many responses. He knows that in messaging that Asian guy, there’s a power dynamic there where he is the one who has the advantage. Essentially whatever he wants, whatever he says, whatever he does, will fly more because well, the person without the advantage kind of have to take whatever’s biting up him. Like, lucky him. He’s the one who’s getting the attention, so he gives into it. And even if he recognizes it, he bites his tongue because at the end of the day, he needs to get his rocks off too.” And I think this is so powerful because it demonstrates this idea of power. And how the quote that I have in mind is that “everything is about sex except sex, which is about power.”

Jill: Right?

Chris: It’s this idea that in this sexual space, it is about power. And people have their sexual desires and what their sexual desires to be filled in an enjoyable and safe way. But at the same time, taken an intersectional approach, we have to understand how identity comes in. And so somebody who has more privileged in these spaces, intentionally or unintentionally, you might use that power to take advantage of somebody else, to coerce somebody else, to manipulate someone else. And again, whether or not they are aware of it, somebody who’s on the receiving end might be willing to accept that abuse of power because then they have access to somebody who has more social privilege than they do. Or because they are able to, to access a body or a person that they might not otherwise have access to. All right, so there’s a lot of implications here. But this is certainly around the question of consent, where, where consent can become so important but then also have so many nuances to it. That, is somebody actually even consenting to this type of thing, or are they being abused or coerced, manipulated in some way?

Jill: Yeah. And I think questions of coercion and manipulation, whether intended or unintended, are really important to keep in mind. That just just receiving a go ahead or a yes doesn’t necessarily allow us to dig into, these layers of power, privilege, marginalization, and how that affects whether or not somebody feels that they need to say yes.

Chris: And once again, I’m going to turn to Jayden to give another quote that will, illustrates this point. He continued and he said, “In the past, if someone was interested in me, I was like, ‘Wow, you’re interested in me.’ And that comes to self-esteem issues in regard to race and ending up in a situation like, ‘well, this person is interested in me, and since they’re interested in me, I’m going to go and do whatever it is that they want to do to be even if I don’t want to.’ In that sense, it’s not really consent because it’s highly influenced and manipulated.”

Jill: Yeah. And I do think that the point about self-esteem, perceived feelings of self-worth. Again, this goes back to the community issue, right? It’s not just about individuals. We, we do rely on each other to bolster our self-worth to bolster our self-esteem. And that also creates complications and power dynamics and power hierarchies, particularly for people who have been marginalized, who have not been recognized as having self-worth by dominant normative scripts.

Chris: Very much so. And once again, I would like to give one more quote.

Jill: Okay.

Chris: Because I want to again, emphasizing the intersectionality of all of this. I really want to recognize that this isn’t just like a an issue that Black MSM deal with. This is something racialized people that people with marginalized identities are non-normative identities experience in many different ways. So once again, today we’re focusing about, focusing on race, but this can come about in terms of body type or gender expression, all many types of different things. But the other quote that I want to share, which is totally along these lines comes from Ang of who identifies as an Asian male. And he said, “There’s a very clearly defined hierarchy of power preference, at least in Gay culture, There’s a high preference for cisgender white men are the lighter your skin color, or the more likely you are to pass as white, the more power you’ve got and the more attractive your seen, and the more that you can get away with it. So if you do something that is non-consensual, you could get away with it.”

Jill:  That’s yeah. I mean, that pretty much sums it up.

Chris: Yeah. And this is truly where when we’re talking about sexual racism, when we’re talking about sexual or racial fetishization. These truly are questions not only about race and identity, but also consent and violence. What is one person doing to another person? And how have the abused, again, coming back to this idea of power, how are they abusing that power to take advantage or to commit harm to another person.

Jill: And as you’ve said, the apps can be used to amplify this. But we’ve also seen ways in which people might use the apps to mitigate this. So, you talked about how we can have more open conversations about what I’m interested in or what I’m not interested in before anybody is in the room together. And that doesn’t necessarily erase the power dynamic. It’s still very much there. But it might help people feel safer expressing that they’re not interested in something if they’re not physically already in the space with somebody who has more power.

Chris: Right. If somebody comes across something like this that can close the app, they can delete their account. You know, there’s, there’s power, there’s power as well that’s embedded in the affordances of online technologies and digital apps. But it’s, and I don’t, I don’t want to prioritize experience in terms of what is more violent or less violent. But when you get into a physical space with someone, there’s there’s potential for a different type of violence, physical violence, sexual violence that can be very, very harmful to a person. And so if, if you are able to filter someone out, if you are able to use those, those, those cues online to be able to, to protect yourself a bit more before even getting to that physical space. Having these types of conversations could lead to having these open, honest conversations, these negotiations around consent and interests and pleasure, et cetera, can facilitate safer, more enjoyable sexual interactions in person. Not always because, you know, it’s not to say that what happens online is a, is a promise for what will happen in person.

Jill: Or that the power dynamics aren’t already there online.

Chris: Completely. Once again, there’s so much nuance here that maybe we could do another podcast to chat about other thing.


Jill: Cool.

Chris:  But this is, this is where once again, we have to understand that these technologies or tools that we can use for many, many different purposes, for  good for bad for in-between.

Jill: So is there anything else that you would like to leave our listeners with regarding dating apps, marginalization, racism today?

Chris: I would like to reiterate the point that I shared a bit ago is that regardless of your identity, we are all humans that have responsibility to one another. I think we should be held accountable to one another. And so we have to be aware that the communities and spaces that we occupy, and we must take action, each of us is responsible for taking action to address, to address discrimination, racism, and other him that exist online and in society in general. So, what I would like to encourage listeners to do is learn more ask these questions, especially for us as white people so often we, we shy away from conversations around race because we’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, or do the wrong thing and I, I can to relate to that. But just, just being afraid doesn’t get the, by being fearful of these types of things doesn’t get the problem to go away. And so I really encourage my fellow white folks out there to be courageous, to pick up a book, to, to do the learning, to do the work, to understand what these issues are and what, what your responsibility is in these situations. Because we can’t, we can’t nor should expect minority folks like folks with racialized identities or other marginalized identities to be doing all the work, you have to be there too. So that’s what I would, I would like to implore listeners to do is to do the work and to have those hard conversations work on that self-improvement. Because we all have a lot that we can do.

Jill: This episode of Gender, Sex and Tech, continued a conversation began in Chapter 5 of the book Gender, Sex and Tech: An Intersectional Feminist Guide. The chapter is called, “’I’m not your fantasy”: Sexual racism, racial fetishization, and the exploitation of racialized men who have sex with men,” and it was written by Christopher Dietzel. I would like to thank Chris for joining me today for this important discussion. And I want to thank you listener, for joining me for another episode of Gender Sex and Tech: Continuing the Conversation. If you’d like to continue this conversation further, please reach out on Twitter @tech_gender. Or you might consider creating your own essay, podcast, video, or other media format to continue the conversation in your own voice. Music for the episode provided by Epidemic Sound. This podcast is created by me, Jennifer Jill Fellows, with support from Douglas College in New Westminster BC, and support from the Mark Sanders Foundation for Public Philosophy. Until next time. everyone. Bye.

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