- Several OkCupid users told Insider they choose who to date using the app’s pro-choice badge.
- The badge has soared in popularity as the US limits abortion rights, including overturning Roe v. Wade.
- Gen Z in particular bases sexual attraction on alignment with key issues, OkCupid told Insider.
Natalie Fields once cut a date short after a man she met on a dating app called her a “disgusting murderer.”
Fields, 38, decided to leave when the man said his ex was “evil” for terminating a pregnancy.
“He was very upset with me, and following me to my car, and told me that [if] I was okay with abortion, then I’m just as bad as a murderer,” Fields told Insider.
That experience is one reason that Fields now uses OkCupid’s pro-choice badge to choose who to date. The badge is a label on a person’s profile on the dating app that reads: “I’m pro-choice” in pink typography next to the female gender glyph.
“I really, really appreciate [the badge] especially now with what’s happening in the US with Roe v. Wade,” said Fields, referring to the historic decision that granted people the right to an abortion and which the Supreme Court overturned Friday.
OkCupid launched the badge in September 2021, in response to Texas’ particularly punitive bill banning abortions. Since then it has soared in popularity, as a number of Republican-controlled states have introduced increasingly restrictive legislation, and as the overturning of Roe v. Wade will likely make abortion illegal in half the country.
In fact, the badge has been so popular — it is found across about half a million users’ profiles — the dating app company has left it on its app, when it would otherwise have been a temporary feature.
“We will unapologetically support this issue,” Melissa Hobley, OkCupid’s chief marketing officer, told Insider.
Hobley said the app first introduced a pro-choice filter in 2017, during Donald Trump’s presidency when funding for Planned Parenthood was under threat. According to OkCupid, men who had the #ISupportPP got nine times more likes than those who didn’t.
The app has also found that people with “pro-choice” in their profile are nearly two times more likely to get a reply than those who don’t. OkCupid tracks peaks and bursts of people talking about reproductive rights on the app — and saw a 77% increase of their mention on the app from April of last year to April of this year, said Hobley.
Fields not only has the pro-choice badge but has indicated her stance on the abortion debate by answering one of OkCupid’s thousands of profile questions, which asks users: “Are you pro-choice?”
Despite the two pro-choice indicators on her profile, she’s still had messages from men on the app who don’t share the same view, indicative to her that men are simply interested in her because of her pictures and not her profile’s other content.
One man sent her a long message expressing his interest. When Fields went to check his profile, he had answered the “Are you pro-choice?” question with a no, and the explanation that “the female body is a host organism,” she said.
“So clearly he did not pay attention to the fact that I am pro-choice,” said Fields. “I’ve just noticed, a lot of men simply don’t care … They think that they can have conflicting views on something like that and still have a chance.”
“For me, absolutely not. I would never date someone who is not pro-choice,” she added. “I want to be with someone who agrees that my body is my choice.”
For Sarah Lynn Robinson, 30, the pro-choice badge is also a way to weed people out.
“This isn’t a difference in where we like to eat, our budget, or any of the other things couples typically disagree about,” she told Insider. “This is women’s intrinsic rights and healthcare being stripped from us.”
“Your life partner shouldn’t disagree with you on something as fundamental as reproductive rights. At least my husband won’t,” she added.
The badge has also been used by some on the opposite end of the debate, to similarly weed out people they wouldn’t date.
Rod Jones, 20, indicates on his OkCupid profile that he is “pro-life.” The pro-choice badge helps him determine those he would disagree with on the issue, and therefore find difficult to date.
“I’m willing to date someone who doesn’t have a strong opinion either way but if they are strongly pro-choice, I’m not going to date them,” Jones told Insider.
While other dating apps have been reluctant to take a stance on social and political issues, OkCupid has even incorporated reproductive rights into their advertising, Hobley said.
“We want you to bring your issues,” said Hobley, adding that this could be everything from climate change to LGBTQ+ rights.
The OkCupid executive said that’s in tune with how young people are dating nowadays.
“Gen Z, even if they’re looking for [something casual], they are not sexually attracted to you if you do not align on certain issues,” she said.