Dating is a challenge in 2019 – and it shows. In fact, romance as a whole has taken a backseat in the new millennium, with North America’s millennials marrying far later than their parents did – often after growing up living with the highest divorce rates on record.
In short, romance kind of sucks these days. But that doesn’t mean we’re giving up. After all…there really isn’t an alternative, is there? Thankfully, we have new technology that takes a lot of the stress out of dating – at least, that’s the theory.
Dating sites and matching services have been around for a very long time (arranged marriages, anyone?), but the game really changed in 2012 when swiping dating apps hit the market. Using location-based matching technology, the app was netting over one billion “swipes” per day in 2014. And millennials loved it – making up almost half the total users in 2015. Since then, the app has spawned an untold number of imitators.
With so much activity, it’s hard not to notice some stereotypes with its users. The truth is that most people aren’t very creative when posing for their profile photos, and a lot of user-written bios are pretty replaceable.
So, if you count yourself among the millions of swipers, you’ve definitely noticed a few trends – skydiving pics, close-ups of a family pet, or maybe even a height requirement line in the bio.
The data we collected painted a pretty clear picture of what you can expect to see if you jump into the swiping game – and where they come from. Let’s take a look.
Female Stereotypes – Part 1
Our first set of data examines female swipe dating app users in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, and Chicago. As you may have expected, some stereotypes were impossible to avoid. Half of the users in Austin had “kissy face” photos, with 70 percent of ladies in Austin having swimsuit photos.
Interestingly, roughly a third of all users have bathroom pictures – which may seem odd until you consider that there are over one million hashtagged bathroom selfies on Instagram.
Female Stereotypes – Part 2
Our second set of data looks at female swipe dating app users in Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, and Philadelphia. Of course, pictures of users at the beach are far more common in places like Miami and LA. Americans just seem to like the beach in general – 58 million of them made a visit at some point in 2010 alone.
While there’s no beach close for them to enjoy, women in Denver seem to be hitting the pool a lot for their selfies – with as many as 68 percent of them having swimsuit photos in their profiles. That is unless they’re just hanging out at home in bikinis…which isn’t impossible.
Male Stereotypes – Part 1
So, gentlemen, how manly is your profile?
Our next set of data turns to the other sex in Atlanta, Austin, Boston and Chicago. As before, these are blatantly stereotypical masculine traits – which seem to hold up pretty well.
One of the more shocking (or not) things here is just how many men are flashing their beards for the camera. A full 91 percent – almost every male swipe dating app user in the city – sports facial hair in Atlanta.
Considering that a 2018 study found that men with beards are more attractive to women, perhaps this is a solid strategy.
Male Stereotypes – Part 2
Going into Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, and Philadelphia, the majority of men are still convinced that showing scruff is the way to go. We also notice men are going out of their way to show off their pecs, with at least a third of all profiles here having shirtless photos. Curiously, they don’t seem to be fitness-related, as you can see in Los Angeles.
We’re not sure why guys are still doing this – an earlier study found that women respond more positively to tuxedo pictures than they do shirtless ones.
The Final Cities
Here, we explore more swipe dating app profile tropes for both male and female swipe dating app users in San Francisco Washington DC. Again, we see facial hair being pretty popular for guys – especially in San Francisco. Women living in the same city seem to be pretty fond of showing off their tattoos – which appear to be far more popular with Americans today than in the past. A 2018 report found the art form has come to be considered a luxury item.
Now, we’re going to look at male and female swipe dating app pictures in the aggregate. This is especially interesting, because it gives us some insight on what the sexes like to show about themselves. Women are far more likely to be on Snapchat, more also more likely to sport an adult beverage in their pictures.
When it comes to pet pics, women again take a lead, but the gap closes if it’s a dog. This might have something to do with the fact that millennials – who again comprise most of swipe dating app user base – are basically replacing babies with pets.
Dating apps are a fascinating way to observe people. Also, if you’re in the market for a date yourself and you’re trying to stand out on the app, the data we just showed you can be helpful for deciding how to do it – or more accurately, how not to.
LawnStarter scraped over 100 male and female users in each city represented. Then through visual and textual scrapes we analyzed the data. All users that were scraped were manually confirmed afterwards and vetted. Each profile that was analyzed was a heterosexual profile and must have included more than 3 photos to qualify
Want to use our study?
Please feel free! All that we ask is that you include a link back to this page so readers can learn more about the study.