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In this regard, this finding shows the digital divide regarding the ownership and usage of a certain technology. Ethical procedures on data collection Participants were provided with a consent form regarding the research design in order to ensure ethical procedure.
This form also included information about anonymity and ethical details related to the research. They were also informed that they were free to leave the study at any time.
In addition, identities of the virtual community members were anonymized so that participants would feel free in responding to questions and understood that the researcher did not infiltrate the community with a false account.
Findings This researcher opened an account on Wapa to make ethnographic observations and discover sexist patterns on the app. The researcher used the account several times a day for two months to obtain details about the lesbian MDA environment and to ensure adequate examination of gendered communication practices.
The study was conducted in both Ankara and Istanbul where the large population favors visibility to other users of Wapa. There were no significant differences between the interface experiences of users in these two cities, which could be defined as the metropolises of Turkey.
However, Istanbul can be regarded as a cosmopolitan city so there were more foreign accounts from that area. This research focuses only on users from Turkey and did not include foreign accounts in the sample. Interestingly, a number of participants believed that Wapa was not valuable for academic research and asked a number of questions about the aim of the study. They expressed the thought that they did not want to be part of a commercial research study that would only focus on developing the MDA technology.
The importance of the study for social policy regarding gender was very important for them; therefore, the focus of the research on gender issues was briefly explained. Upon learning that the researcher was not, they stated that they would not make advances to her and would simply answer the questions. This was also significant for reducing the possibility of sexual attraction.
The participants responded in a generally positive way, though a small number of users claimed that they were not experimental objects and refused to participate.
Capitalization, spelling mistakes, punctuation and long awkward spaces sometimes seemed random at first glance, but they may have had different and important meanings. Therefore, in detailing the data, the text is presented as written on the screen with no correction. The data were divided into diverse categories under two headings: Statuses and Profile Photos and Online Interviews.
Statuses and Profile Photos The status and profile photos of Wapa users from Turkey will be discussed under this subhead. They use English words, phrases, and abbreviations that non-members of the community may have difficulty understanding. Half- Turkish and half-English expressions are also widely used.
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Besides, Turkish President has publicly criticized the West for prioritizing gay and animal rights over those of refugees Sims, In this context, both religion and politics are the targets of lesbians in Turkey. Especially butches, transsexuals, and users who share a random niche without photos may elicit negative reactions from lesbians.
This is a typical example of Cartesian dualism. If we do not recognize the gender of a bathroom user, we openly ask about it. The person is exposed to questioning and mistreatment because of physical appearance; sometimes police or security agents are even called for verification.
Similarly, Wapa is seen as a place of refuge against sexism in theory; but in reality feminine users cite female masculinity as grounds to exclude butches and transsexual women. Popular jokes and amusing words are used to give a cheerful image. As shown in Figure 2, this expression is supported by an image of a covered anime character. In doing so, the user makes fun of Islamic women's social media profiles, because many devout Islamist women believe that talking with a strange man on the Internet is a sin.
Figure 2. An analysis of profile photos shows that many do not want to use photos to avoid malicious users although others clearly share theirs. Some prefer showing blurry photos. Among other popular profile photo categories are graffiti, coffee, book illustrations, animal pictures, body features such as hair or eyes, cigarette and ashtray figures, human shadows, lesbian animations, and lesbian-themed movie posters such as the poster for the Todd Haynes movie Carol The responses indicate that the varied interests of participants included the desire for the following: a long-term or romantic relationship, companionship, one night stand, flirtation, sexual encounters, intimacy, spending time together, distraction, amusement, chatting, socializing, sharing experiences, and stalking ex-girlfriends.
Furthermore, it was found that some of the users heard about the app from their friends, LGBT associations or ex-girlfriends, while others found it at one of the online app stores i. Most participants uninstall and re-install the app many times with different nicknames, often because of relationships that are painful or ended badly. The mobile version of the seeking process Women who seek a suitable partner on Wapa have specific characteristics. Participants feel they are marginalized by society so they take the chance to meet others with similar characteristics on the Internet or in other mobile environments.
We have to live with secret identities. I believe that there are highly educated women who use the same language as I do. U2 There is a high rate of homophobia in our country so we have to hide our sexual identities.
Talking to people who have similar difficulties is a relief. U4 Some participants emphasized that they have a limited social circle, and that using Wapa as an MDA expands this circle. The fear of exclusion, non-acceptance, and marginalization mostly causes quietness in their real life. In this context, MDAs are platforms that transcend the existing relational network in real communal relationships through a mobile screen.
Besides, MDAs are vital for homosexuals because they cannot initiate a relational talk as most heterosexuals can. In this respect, Wapa can be defined as a facilitator app. U12 As specified in the answers, getting in contact with someone on an MDA is more of a necessity than just an option for lesbians in Turkey. This particular mobile environment circumvents the dangers of direct personal contact, especially in an environment of social oppression.
Male hegemony on the users of Wapa On two occasions, two imposter users approached this researcher for dating. In other words, they were men disguising their gender. It should be noted that men users sometimes use illegitimately some women photos that do not belong to them as a profile photo.
A few days later these accounts were suspended, most likely due to complaints from other users.
Some said that the owners of the fake accounts unwittingly behaved like men during chats. One concluded that interestingly, as has been noted in the literature Zawinski,lesbians can be attracted to straight men.
Wapa: Lesbian Dating
Out of what may be curiosity, desire or a wish to be validated or to subjugate, men intrude on a sphere that is expressly part of lesbian culture. Most users are aware of this potential threat and do not share their personal photos or information in the profiles. Such details are given only after the chat progresses. However, it should be noted that one can easily obtain details about other users on various search engines.
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In fact, dedicated lesbian users are accustomed to this kind of difficulty and some have complained about it. They learn after extensive periods of texting that the person with whom they have been in contact is indeed a man.
They sense that they are objects of the male gaze, which is a form of surveillance. Male presence on MDAs was confirmed with the following statements: Men use this application because they are horny!
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U1, U3, U24, U Similar phrases were compiled A man was harassing me by sending me naked pictures of himself. U14 I came across a man once. It was very disturbing.
Many straight men think that homosexuality is an illness and they believe that it can be cured Bindel, This problematic identity awareness should be examined in more comprehensive studies.
The degree of concern about security on Wapa varies. While some accept this issue as controllable by personal behavior, others emphasize the holes inherent in MDA technology. As long as I do not reveal myself completely, I avoid security problems.
I do not think the app is responsible for this issue. The possibility of profiling would not be missed. U9 The application is not reliable at all.
Screenshots of profiles can be used by evil people. U19 I have a friend who was threatened. When she wanted to end the relationship, which began on Wapa, her partner reached her sister on social media and told the sister that she was a lesbian. Because of this, I concealed my identity. U40 The location-based feature of MDAs looks advantageous at first glance.
Wapa online dating
However, the same function also causes unfavorable experiences regarding security and privacy. Users are expected to assume full responsibility for protecting themselves from this kind of troubles. I accidentally opened Wapa and I closed it down after a short while. U2 Problems caused by the location attribute have been the subject of further research. Users may not wish to be immediately identifiable to those nearby using an MDA. Also, people can stigmatize MDA users as those just looking for sex Bumgarner, ; Blackwell et al.
These experiences reveal that there is a need for a mobile literacy education for all MDA users in terms of privacy and security. Although the stigma against homosexuals has declined in some parts of the world Hirsman,they are still seen in many societies as patients who must be treated.
Homosexuals themselves can discriminate against people of certain gender identities such as butches, transsexuals, and crossdressers as mentioned earlier in the Statuses and Profile Photos section of this study. This finding was confirmed again in online interviews: Crossdressers are very annoying to me.LITTLE BIG – SKIBIDI (official music video)
U23 The mannish lesbians, I mean butches, are very unattractive. They do not accept that they are women. If you remind them that they have a vagina, they cry!
I'm at peace with femininity. U34 Bisexuals and butches should use another application. They act kinky.
Wapa: A Popular Lesbian Dating App Now Available in 160 Countries
U33 As one can see, some queer identities are clearly marginalized on Wapa. Only one participant criticized this view. According to her, because of these discriminatory categorizations, homosexuals are not strong enough: The society has already excluded us enough. Real-Life Practices and User Types Most of the participants do not separate their virtual life experiences from the physical world.
They describe their identity in between real and virtual. Therefore, they manage both their real and virtual identities with a holistic approach. U4 There are people married with children who meet on social media. Nobody should underestimate that! This person is already bad in real life. U34 Some Wapa users think that communication in everyday life is more formal and even fake compared to virtual communication.
Andrei said he often hears lesbian women complain about fake profiles on other dating networks, and Wapa wants to eliminate that issue by building safeguards and authentication tools. Wapa has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years.
It burst onto the dating scene as the first lesbian-only dating app available in Europe, and it has been wowing women ever since.
Every month, overwomen browse Wapa in search of romance. The multi-national team fosters and promotes diverse perspectives on the dating world by picking the brains of lesbian singles and figuring out what these individuals need to be successful on a dating app. Andrei told us that most of the feedback the Wapa team gets is positive and encouraging. If they receive a bad review, though, a team member responds with a personalized message and works hard to address the issue. Currently, the Wapa team is exploring options to create an under-the-radar dating app for countries where the LGBTQ community is targeted by police.
Because being gay is illegal, being caught with a well-known gay dating app, such as Grindr, on their phones could get a person arrested.
Through a new LGBTQ-friendly app, the Wapa team hopes to give gay men and lesbian women a platform where they can mingle freely and discreetly with people they desire. Wapa is a positively beautiful dating solution for youthful lesbian, bisexual, and bi-curious women around the world. Although it has already grown to serve countries, this up-and-coming dating app is just getting started.