Will strangers find you more attractive posed next to a child from the developing world?

With his Tumblr "Humanitarians of Tinder," Brooklyn-based filmmaker Cody Clarke documents the uncomfortable mashups of study-abroad trip photos and hook-up profiles.

The main reason for the trend is that Tinder syncs to users' Facebook profiles.

So far, Humanitarians of Tinder hasn’t offered up any written commentary on the pictures.

“I’m mostly just archiving a phenomenon that’s occurring,” Clarke says.

It's not just women who post photos of themselves.

Clarke’s just started receiving submissions of male Tinder humanitarians, too. Instead of posing with large cats, they choose other people’s children.

Clarke hasn’t been the only one to document the rise of Internet-facing “voluntourist" photos, as they’re sometimes called.

The “Gurl Goes to Africa” Tumblr started documenting Facebook photos of white American college students flaunting study-abroad experiences next to African locals as early as 2010.

2014-02-25

Co.Exist

Meet The Super Sexy, Super Conscious Humanitarians of Tinder

If you have one chance to get a stranger to find you attractive, what's the best trick? A child from the developing world.

Two weeks ago, Brooklyn-based filmmaker Cody Clarke was casually flipping right and left on the popular hook-up app Tinder when he noticed a disturbing number of profile pictures of light-skinned women in travel gear posing with brown-skinned babies in (presumably) developing countries. He rejected five of these proposed love matches, then six, and then decided he should start posting their photos to Facebook and Tumblr.

"Humanitarians of Tinder" was born.

"I doubt they would grab those same pictures for a dating profile site. Obviously the original intent, is, ‘Hey, friends, look where I was,’" Clarke says. "If you see a lot of them in a row, it becomes a trend, and becomes a disgusting thing. It’s like they’re standing around props."

Clarke hasn’t been the only one to document the rise of Internet-facing "voluntourist" photos, as they’re sometimes called. The "Gurl Goes to Africa" Tumblr started documenting Facebook photos of white American college students flaunting study-abroad experiences next to African locals as early as 2010. Tinder, of course, syncs to your Facebook profile. As a result, children are now popping up in mobile hook-up applications.

But it’s not just women who post photos of themselves with an outstretched, Michelangelo-like hand to confused babies, as Humanitarians of Tinder documents. Clarke’s just started receiving submissions of male Tinder humanitarians, too. Instead of posing with large cats, they choose other people’s children.

So far, Humanitarians of Tinder hasn’t offered up any written commentary on the pictures. "I’m mostly just archiving a phenomenon that’s occurring," Clarke says.

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8 Comments

  • Maybe we shouldn't be so quick to judge others who actually go to a third world country to volunteer. It's easy bait to make fun of strangers based on their profile pics. We are essentially bragging about the cool thing we did, or the cool places we went in our profile pictures. So if these people find coolness and meaning in traveling and helping others, let them be proud of it.

  • Bo Percival

    This is possibly the worst idea ever. Do some research voluntourism has done a lot more bad than good in the world of development, and glorifying people with photos of small children is only making it worse. You should read this https://medium.com/race-class/b84d4011d17e.

    That's one of many many articles of the negative impacts of being a 'humanitarian' as you put it.

  • Great article! I think voluntourism can be good either way.
    While these tourists are collecting and competing for the most humanitarian pictures among their posse, they are also getting in touch with the third world culture, its problems, and its values.
    The little American girl has a bag of protein bars and shakes, but will experience hunger, even in a very mild, superficial way, even by just seeing it with her own eyes. It´s up to her to share. I know it won't solve the hunger problem, but when you are hungry, one protein bar will solve the problem for today. Tomorrow is another issue.
    I think this is the first wave of voluntourism. Soon it will become "sooooo 10's" to just go there and take pictures, and the second, third or fourth wave will be really engaged in changing the scenario.
    I live in the third world. In my opinion, we shouldn't point the finger on someone who chose to embark to Zambia instead of Whistler, and even very superficially, make the good.