An Open Letter to the Humanitarians of Tinder

An Open Letter to the Humanitarians of Tinder


I say “hey” because that’s how all tinder conversations begin. It’s a terrible opener for facilitating conversation, but hey, we’ve matched and I’ve engaged. I know there’s an entire enigmatic world of you for me to discover.

I’ve been flicking through your photos. So you like travelling…?

I know that’s what you want me to ask: now you can tell me about your latest three-week venture to Africa or Asia. You’ll describe various countries by their collective continents and use the distinct pronouns of I and they. Having looked through your photos, I see you’ve been spending time helping in a classroom, playing with children in a field, taking selfies with little ones who have, in your words, probably never seen an iPhone before.


So, you’ve been volunteering overseas. Your altruism radiates from the tiny little square I swiped to the right. It’s evident to me you’re a giver. Insert winky or water droplet emoji here?

And look! Is that you swinging a child around, her face in unadulterated glee? What a beautiful metaphor for your single-handed alleviation of her poverty and how the goodness of people like you makes the world continue spinning.

I think it’s great to see you’re so passionate; but you need to know this now: you won’t change lives by changing your Facebook profile picture.


You think you’re a bigger person because you’ve made the decision to be a corporatised volunteer? This doesn’t make your penis any bigger. Or are you naive about its impact on the world too?

You envisage a widening a gap between my thighs? I’m envisaging the widening gap between the world’s rich and poor. Worry less about my cycles and more about the poverty cycle. If your erection is as sustainable as the development you’ve been perpetuating, I’m not holding out for much…

Tinder missionaries don’t get missionary. But that’s okay, because I bet you like to be on top. The same way you view yourself on top of the world.

1Cultural imperialism isn’t sexy. Relationships should be reciprocal: you shouldn’t be the only one left feeling good. I can’t help but wonder whether your presence had a lasting positive effect on the community you visited, and if not, why would I ever think you’d have a lasting positive effect on me? Voluntourism is selfish and short-sighted.

I’m sorry if you feel I’m ripping into you. And I’m sorry if you feel that’s a little unfair because you’re supposed to be ripping into me. It’s probably best if I break it to you now, but the only thing you’re fucking [tonight/generally] is sustainable, locally driven development.

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I hope you’ve realised your tinder venture is going to be not-for-profit.

I’m sorry you’re sorry you swiped right,

Emily xx

Ps. Tell your drugged-tiger-loving friends they’re tacky and I hate them.

Pps. Yes, I took a screen shot your tinder profile. And yes, you probably should have read Tinder’s privacy policy before you uploaded that photo.

3Cover by Ferko, Tinder screenshots by Emily Westmoreland

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