What’s the worst thing about modern-day dating? The fact that there’s always a new cringy trend. From breadcrumbing to love bombing, in today's day and age, there are just so many toxic relationship trends that we constantly need to be on the lookout for them. One might say that these behavioural patterns always existed, that we just happen to be better equipped and more vigilant to detect them now.
But how did we come here? How did we become so skeptic about love, the purest of human emotions? Well, it's a full cycle and it takes us back to where we started: modern-day dating and its fleeting intensity. While the new-age technology and the internet have made it way easier for us to find love, it's also easier to manipulate love and the lover at our whims. And speaking of manipulation and whims, we have a brand new toxic dating phenomenon to add to an unceasing list: wokefishing!
Now, what's that you ask? Read on:
Remember when we had a crush on someone and pretended to like everything that they did. Think of ‘wokefishing’ as the more extreme and potentially toxic extension of the same behaviour. Today, while the internet has made it way easier for us to stay connected and updated, it has also made it really convenient to fake it. Thus, now everyone can be "woke" without having to put in the thought or efforts that actually go into following say a movement or an ideology. Thus, you can pretend to be secular while gloating in your caste hierarchy or to be a feminist without really believing or understanding the idea of equality. And this is exactly what wokefishers do.
Here’s how the Urban dictionary describes it: “Woke fishing is when a man, who is talking to a woman, starts asking her vague questions regarding progressive causes, in an effort to determine her interest level, and then mirror her responses. Said man has no interest in the same groups or causes, and is just trying to find commonalities with the girl to get into her pants.”
But let me help you with an example here. One of my friends Riya (name changed) who happens to be a gender activist ended up falling for a guy she met online after listening to his refreshing views on gender. She was really, really proud of him and all that he was. Consequently, they started dating and very soon an engagement followed. However, the world came crashing down when the guy's family ended up asking for dowry and he watched the show unmoved. When Riya questioned him about the same, he replied nonchalantly, "Hey, don't make such a big deal out of it. It's a matter between our parents. Let them handle it." After realising that she has been wokefished by her fiance, Riya promptly called off the wedding.
Blame it on Google or Wikipedia, but in the world of internet and online dating, there’s hardly a foolproof way of telling if someone has hoodwinked you into believing that their ideologies align with yours. That said, you can still follow certain steps to find out if you are being wokefished. Here's what to do:
If you suspect that the person you are dating might be wokefishing you, then try asking them indirect questions. For instance, if someone is acting like they are feminists then don't ask for their views on feminism but ask for their opinion on topics like women working after marriage, the prowess of women in certain fields, or even parenting instead. This will reveal their core values and tell you if their wokeness is a mere sham or a true reflection of who they are.
When you suspect someone of wokefishing then don't have these conversations over chat because this will give them the time and space of browsing the topic over the internet. For instance, if you really want to know someone's opinions on the cast system and reservation in India then have a detailed chat about it over the phone and dig deeper while you are at it.
More often than not a wokefisher can be identified with the kind of content they consume and follow online. Try scouring their follow list on social media and see if the kind of pages they follow are aligned with what they have been preaching you all this while.
Lastly, it is important to realise that wokefishers are manipulators and they might manipulate you into believing them once they have been called out for their wokefishing. However, it is always wise to let go and move on in such cases and stop dating these people. Love out of all the things in the world shouldn't be manipulated!
Featured Image: Instagram