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Interview with Aileen Barratt - The woman behind Tinder Translator

Interview with Aileen Barratt - The woman behind Tinder Translator

People complain a lot about Social Media, and I agree, there are so many toxic things happening, it is definitely addictive and the algorithms are twisted and cruel. That said, thanks to social media we can share a laugh, feel connected, challenge what we believe in and be better. I know that the TInder Translators account has made me both laugh hard and be better! So I am thrilled to have discovered more about the woman behind the account and to have the privilege to shout about her!


What is Tinder Translators?

Tinder Translation is all about decoding the subtext of Tinder bios and highlighting red flags. There is so much innuendo and so many phrases used over and over dating apps, so much of what is said masks a deeper (or often shallower!) meaning. People send me bios, which can be horrendous, laughable, arrogant etc and I 'translate' them into what they really say about the person (most often man) writing them. So much of what men write on dating apps is laced with misogyny, it's my mission to unmask it!

Who is the person behind the account and how did you come up with the idea?

I am the person! Aileen Barratt, I'm a writer and digital marketer based in Manchester, UK. I like in a lovely house with my son, who is almost 7, and I was on dating apps (well, on and off them) for about 3 years. At times it can be soul destroying being on there - so much grossness, line-crossing sex talk when you haven't consented, and general dullness. I started Tinder Translator because I kept noticing patterns of language, common phrases that don't mean what they say. A prime example of this is "just looking for some fun" - fun means casual sex with no further expectations. And there's nothing wrong with casual sex, but just say that's what you want! It also made it less depressing when I'd come across an awful profile; instead of despairing about the state of men I could think "this will make great content". I think that some of the people who send me bios feel that way too now, they can screenshot and send them in, and share in the despair/laugh at it all. Laughter is powerful!

What is the biggest impact of what you do?

It's funny to think of my page having an impact, but I know it does. A pleasant surprise has been the message I receive from women (and it is almost exclusively women) thanking me for the page. I have had quite a few people say that it makes them feel less alone as they negotiate the wasteland that is 'modern dating'. I think the page builds solidarity and has created a sort of community of excellent feminists. It's also, if you'll allow me to use the old feminist term, a good 'consciouness raising' space - where women can share openly the ways in which the patriarchy has harmed and oppressed them. Those spaces are so important.

What is the big vision? Is there any ambition or further plan and how can we help to make it happen?

Bloody hell, what a question! I suppose the biggest vision is to smash the patriarchy, but I don't think Tinder Translators can do that on it's own, obviously! So I guess the big visions for me is to build the page, and through it continue to critique the appalling low standards cis het men think they can bring to the table whilst demanding their own misogynist brand of perfection from womankind. The flipside of this is helping develop "f*ckboy resilience" in women; when we know our worth we won't feel the need for a partner, though it might be nice to have one; when value ourselves we don't accept anything but someone who values us just as highly. So I guess I would like to instill in more people that self-love is key - you are your own soulmate, in the words of Lizzo.


And now our questionnaire for everyone!


What is Feminism for you?

Feminism for me is the fight to dismantle patriarchal structures that impose false gender binaries, which privilege cisgendered heterosexual men whilst oppressing women and other marginalised genders. The patriarchy is intertwined with white supremacy (not to mention ableism, transphobia, homophobia etc) so feminism must be intersectional if it has a hope of dismantling these systems of oppression.

Which “everyday sexism” really bothers you?

The praise fathers get for doing the very bare minimum - playing with their kids, picking them up from school, reading to them, taking a general interest in their development as humans. These behaviours are expected of mothers, who receive little to no celebration of their labour (and certainly no compensation for it), whilst men get a parade thrown for them if they push their kid on the swings a few times (I exaggerate, but also, do I??). When my husband and I broke up I would get people saying to me "it's great he still wants to be involved" - with our son, who was born to a married couple who planned to have him? It's not 'great' it is as it should be!

Do you remember when you started identifying as a Feminist and why?

I don't remember because I don't remember a time when I wasn't one. I was born into a very left wing household and brought up by a wonderful single mother, who cared for me solo from the age of 6 weeks (to no fanfare, may I add). When I was two years old it snowed for the first time I wouldn't build a snowman - it was a snow girl (they looked the same but I was adamant) - I was very hardline back then!

Who is your biggest feminist role model?

In real life? My mum? Her life has never been defined by men, she has largely done what she wanted and she's generally a very wise badass! In terms of 'famous' feminists, Ruth Bader Ginsberg is pretty amazing.

What is your favourite Feminist quote?

"Be gentle with yourself.
The world is always looking
for ways to break a woman's back.
There's no need to do it for them."
Salma El-Wardany

What is your proud feminist victory?

Good question! Maybe creating Tinder Translator?

What is your feminist recommendation?

What is your feminist call of action to whoever is reading?

Question everything, including your own gendered responses - we all have a lot of work to do!

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