Popular dating app OkCupid is in some hot water this week after running a sexually suggestive ad campaign featuring a lesbian couple.
The campaign is known as “DTF,” which is a popular acronym for “down to f***,” used mostly by men to refer to women who are interested in them.
— Akanimoh Ikpe (@akvibesjr) February 15, 2018
The app has run several billboards, online, and public advertisements with acronyms like “Down To Fifty Five Hour Binge,” “Down To Fight About The President,” and “Down To Four Twenty.” The campaigns appeared just before Valentine’s Day in cities like Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon.
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— Larque G (@LarqueG) January 26, 2018
OkCupid’s Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Hobley explained the meaning behind the campaign. “The idea is OkCupid lets you say who you are. You are down to do a lot of sh-t – and you might be down to f–k, but you might also be ‘down to fight the patriarchy,’ or ‘down to fall head over heels,’” she said.
But not everyone’s pleased with the cheeky verbiage. Conservative advocacy group Citizen Go created a petition to take down the signs from public spaces.
“OkCupid’s ‘DTF’ advertising campaign promotes lesbian sex, prostitution, drug use, and promiscuity, and it will be viewed by millions, including children, in public spaces,” the petition, created on Tuesday, reads. So far, it has close to 4,300 signatures — just 200 shy of its 5,000 signature goal.
OkCupid prides itself in its gay-friendliness and is often listed as one of the best apps for LGBTQ women. However, this winter the site experienced a steep drop in female engagement after it mandated users list their real names — apparently causing many women to feel exposed and unsafe.
Or maybe it’s because the site’s using phrases most closely associated with heterosexual men. If you want to be a lesbian dating site, then go for it. It’s a free country. But don’t hit your users over the head with heterosexual phraseology and expect user engagement to spike. It seems like lesbians are using these apps to get away from that sort of vernacular.
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