'Circle' Jerk: Grindr Feature Attempts to Broaden the Conversation, but Dick Pics Prevail

Monday August 3, 2020

Earlier this year, Grindr introduced a new feature that allows users to talk about all kinds of topics — from "RuPaul's Drag Race" to LGBTQ activism to sharing their queer art and photography, the website Dazed reports.

In the "Circle" feature, users can pick what topics they want to discuss with others on the hookup app. But while "the art section invites users to 'share, celebrate, critique and give friendly advice' on one another's art, many have reported that it is mostly full of... well, nudes," writes The Art Newspaper.

"Supposedly it's group chats about specific topics, but this being Grindr they're all just streams of unsolicited dick pics," writes one Reddit user.

When Dazed's writer went to the "Share Your Art" sub-channel, what they found first was someone asking: "Any hung alphas want a masc sub to use as a human flashlight?" Adding, "in fairness, be an art performance piece."

Looking further, the writer switched to "Queer Photography," where they are "bombarded with a deluge of dicks, butts, and the occasional clothed selfie. Technically these images could be considered queer photography but I'm not sure Grindr's users are embracing the channel's full potential."

But some, according to The Arts Newspaper, are finding the feature useful. One anonymous user wrote: "I love the idea of art-sharing among my fellow gays. I've had some genuinely lovely conversations with people about it. We've shared ideas, appreciated each other's work, given notes where necessary. It adds a certain frisson when these lovely, engaging conversations are interspersed with photographs of cocks and arseholes. After all, who can truly say what is or isn't art?"

While another told The Art Newspapers how the feature isn't that different from attending a gallery opening: "To the lesser informed, parallels between Grindr and the art world might seem scant, but any size queen or rugged bear knows that the experience of using the app is not unlike attending a gallery opening—you're usually drunk, being sized up in every direction, you speak to lecherous guys and come away feeling hollow and debased."