Throughout my career in the online dating market I’ve stumbled upon all kinds of profiles, from my professors, to catfish, to the fetishizing of military power and gun girth. Granted I live in Brooklyn and rarely go anywhere besides California and the occasional trip overseas, I recently discovered a »type« of man I had only heard horror stories about. As I swiped left, left, left, left, right, I was a cyberflaneur roaming past artist types, financiers, socialites, but having never Tindered outside of a major city, I was shocked to find… the »type« of man who poses with a gun.
As gun ranges have begun to ban customers from taking selfies with weapons and instagram and bumble cracks down on images containing vaping and gun violence, I began to see the amount of Tinder Profiles photos of military men posing with guns in close proximity to me. Even Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs unveiled the safety selfie campaign, a public health program to reduce deaths and injuries caused by people taking dangerous selfie photos while holding guns. Each man pictured grasps his government-appointed phallus in order to trigger sublimated hyper-masculinity within their potential matches.
In this project, I will explore the dynamic of this glorification or sexualized attraction to constructs of power like the military and guns by having the men get their picture taken and read their bios. Together a platoon sergeant, an electrician, and a self-proclaimed army anime character flash their loaded »manhood« as they recite their self-written narratives to the genders they will admit to flirting with.