Digital dating in Kelowna, BC : examining how women experience online dating in a small, Canadian city

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McCluskey, Melissa K.
Canadian women
Digital dating
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Life course
Online dating
Social scripts
Today, many individuals seek to establish intimate relationships using various forms of computer-mediated communication, including online dating sites and mobile applications. Investigating the ways in which location, in this case a relatively small, Canadian city, affect the online dating experience was a primary purpose of this study. The researcher incorporated social script theory and the life course perspective to gain an understanding of how age, gender, and technology intersect for women dating digitally in the Kelowna, B.C. Census Metropolitan Area. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to explore and interpret the lived experience of a small, homogeneous group of women. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 women, aged 21 to 60+, who were predominantly using PlentyofFish and Tinder. Using IPA’s analysis process, themes were identified deductively by using the theoretical concepts mentioned above; other themes arose inductively. This study found many of the experiences of women in Kelowna were similar to those found in existing research, such as having control in the online process, encountering unwanted interactions, and facing misrepresentation or deception. That being said, Kelowna’s size and characteristics did impact the women’s experiences; the online pool was limited at times, with too many matches who the women already knew being presented, and with a transient dating pool being noted by some of the women. Traditional, gendered dating practices were present online due to various dating scripts and age norms. While there were differences among the experiences of women at various stages of life, there were also numerous similarities.
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