In 1973 Richard Serra and Carlota Fay Schoolman, writing about another ostensibly free technology, broadcast television, made the point that, “It is the consumer who is consumed. You are the product of t.v.” In a market economy, if we’re not paying to use a service then someone else is paying the service for access to us. Dating apps have been designed so that the more we engage with them – the more data we give to them – the more we turn ourselves into their product (for sale to other tech companies, and also to each other, via premium service tiers). It’s certainly a dispiriting thought, but one tempered by the stories of joy and intimate connection that I heard while making the film.
Filmmaker: Interestingly, out of all your searchers the young gender-nonconforming participant, and also the young cisgender woman and her friend looking for sugar daddies, appeared most satisfied with their dating encounters. Perhaps because they are freed from having to explain themselves, of judgment. (The former seemed downright liberated, maybe the ability to filter allowing for a semblance of protection; while the latter don’t have to pretend to be looking for anything other than an online shopping-like business transaction, for which the internet is the perfect conduit.) Did you find that online connection is just better suited to some segments of the population more than others?
In Fresh, a young woman, Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones), is plagued by the horrors of online dating
Velez: The thing that really connects the two interviewees you mention (Caroline and little_sailor) is that they’re young, 23 and 20. I teach college students at The New School, and they have told me that they would find it “weird” and “uncomfortable” for a stranger in a bar to ask for their phone number.
For older users online dating rituals are less intuitive. I admire the courage of people like Helene. who at 88 years old is trying to date for the first time since she was a teenager. If I reach her age, I hope that I’d have that same energy and positivity tackling new experiences.
Hulu’s newest original film directly addresses the dangers related to dating in the 21st century, here are some crucial takeaways.
Just because many of us meet potential companions in the real world while also living in the center of a highly digitalized era does not mean they are necessarily trustworthy people. As a devoted skeptic who routinely preaches the sentiment never to trust any person, the realm of online dating unleashes any person’s worst fears possible. Women are always told to be aware of ongoing human trafficking rings, potential abductors, and murderers. However, cannibalism is steadily becoming a threat that should also be taken into account. From early films such as Hannibal (2001) to the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), the threat of being eaten alive has always been present, spanning back over decades.
If a man seems perfect from the very beginning, the relationship is too good to be true
As Noa becomes unsuccessful in her quest to find a partner, she unexpectedly meets Steve (Sebastian Stan) at a local supermarket, where the two begin their blissful romance. But is Steve really who he says he is? The comedy-thriller heavily integrates cannibalism into its storyline, intentionally targeting women due to the claim that the gender “is in high demand from its large-scale customers.”
Through many of Noas mishaps in Fresh, viewers can take away valuable life lessons in their own lives. Understanding the crucial dos and don’ts of dating, whether after meeting someone online or in the real world, these learnings are essential and could potentially save real lives.