Dating in a time of social upheaval has its downfalls according to a recent report from Vice News, which says that authentic leftists now fear being “wokefished” by potential dates who try to snag hookups on social media and dating apps by posing as dedicated progressives.
”Wokefishing,'” the outlet notes, “is when people masquerade as holding progressive political views to ensnare potential partners. A wokefish may at first present themselves as a protest-attending, sex-positive, anti-racist, intersectional feminist who drinks ethically sourced oat milk and has read the back catalogue of Audre Lorde, twice. But in reality, they don’t give a sh*t. Or, as is often the case, they are actively the opposite in their personal lives.”
The term “wokefishing” is a derivative of “catfishing,” a common term, at least among younger generations, used to refer to situations where a profile or person on an internet site isn’t who they seem, and lures their target into a relationship, only to somehow take advantage of the situation.
In this case, it seems, fake progressives are looking to snag easy dates with leftists, particularly leftist women. The practice, Vice notes, probably began well before the recent, national anti-racism movement — it may go as far back as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) doomed bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination — but in the wake of the George Floyd protests, the phenomenon has only gained steam.
“Crises such as the tragic murder of George Floyd and the coronavirus pandemic have thrown societal injustices into even sharper relief over the past few months, and as a result, there’s been much greater emphasis on individual agency when it comes to the urgent dismantling [of] oppressive systems,” Vice posits. “It’s no surprise that singles are now consciously choosing partners who are on the same wavelength as them – just as it’s no surprise that others are adapting to circumvent this.”
Vice gives a number of examples of “wokefishing,” but not all of them seem deliberate — at least on the part of the person being accused of catfishing their progressive date. While some are clearly deceptions, in at least one example, the “wokefisher” appears to have evolved somewhat in his political views without the consent of his romantic partner.
He wanted “to debate every argument and play devil’s advocate the whole time,” she claims. “He didn’t accept that some things are fundamental to people’s identity and not up for questioning…Once he tried arguing with my queer best friend that straight people were as oppressed as gay people. I found the incessant need to debate exhausting and often upsetting, and he never acknowledged his own privilege.”
Ultimately, most of the “wokefish” relationships ended badly, and Vice points out that experts believe common beliefs on things like religion and politics are key to a strong partnership. The outlet did not say, though, if any of the “wokefish” situations resulted in conversions.