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Significant Others and the Significance of Ethnicity

While most spaces within contemporary Western society are striving towards goals of equal opportunity regardless of race or ethnicity, the online dating app scene is not one of them.

Many apps include a race filter, allowing users to narrow down matches according to ethnic and racial preferences. There also exist ethnic specific dating apps such as Coffee Meets Bagel, which pairs you up initially according to ethnicity. While this system of apparent segregation might not accord with contemporary notions of political correctness, such ideas become less relevant in the context of the pragmatic reality of dating, where most want to find a significant other with whom they share similar values.

Annabelle, a Vietnamese-Australian, who met her boyfriend on Coffee Meets Bagel says “I’d like to think I’m impartial to cultural background in dating, but the reality is that it’s easier to relate to someone who’s had similar experiences to you.”

Tim Tam, a Chinese-Australian user of Coffee Meets Bagel had a similar experience regarding the app. “I have always had more success on Asian dating apps than generalist ones. My match ratio is higher which means more opportunity to talk to different girls and gauge compatibility through chat.

I specifically used Coffee Meets Bagel because it seemed to capture a market niche of users who were Australian/Western born Asians looking for more than a one night stand - essentially the group of users I most identified with and would most likely be compatible with.”

“I actually think it’s interesting for couples with different backgrounds to learn about each other’s cultures while dating,” says Annabelle. “I can see the advantages to both sides and am not opposed to either, but think it’s just more likely for two people with the same cultural background to spark the initial flame.”

Photo credit Freepik


Bio: Aaishah Janif is a multilingual South East Asian-Australian with a dry sense of humour. She holds an undergraduate degree in Commerce and is currently studying a Master of Journalism. She’s a published journalist, producer, host and content creator, who wears many hats in the digital world and has a penchant for fashion and finance. She’s innately curious and fascinated by the world.

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Instagram : @aaishahjanif


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