Singletons looking for a date online are pretending to be more politically progressive to attract new partners, in a new trend that’s been dubbed ‘wokefishing’.
The term, coined by writer Serena Smith in an article for Vice, is a portmanteau of ‘catfishing’ where a person pretends to be someone else online and ‘woke’ which describes someone who is socially conscious and alert to injustice in the world.
Smith, from Leeds, claims she herself was a victim of wokefishing, as her former partner had lured her in believing the pair had similar beliefs, but revealed his true self when she decided to become vegan, sending her patronising texts with derogatory language.
In one case, a woman of Arabic descent found herself dating a man who discussed his disgust at the ‘whiteness of his education’ and wanted southern England to be more diverse, only to later discover he was a member of neo-Nazi groups.
Singletons looking for a date online are pretending to be more politically progressive to attract new partners, in a new trend that’s been dubbed ‘wokefishing’ (stock image)
‘He introduced me to his home friends as ‘”his dirty Arab girlfriend” and passed it off as a joke,’
‘He said before he’d met me he wouldn’t have wanted to marry a non-white person because he’d thought – quote – “mixed race children were impure”,’ Hannah, 19, told the online magazine.
What is wokefishing?
Serena describes ‘wokefishing’ as a term used 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’.
She adds that in reality they are the opposite.
In another incident, a man identified by the pseudonym Tom told Vice he went on dates where he and his partner talked about diversifying the school curriculum, only to later hear him use racial slurs.
Earlier this year, FEMAIL reported the story of a young black woman from Arizona revealed she was shocked to discover that the white man she had been dating for several months was writing racist messages about her to his friends.
Tatum Patrice, 21, was spending time with the man recently and playing music off his phone when she discovered the group chat he kept with friends.
Scrolling through their messages, she discovered that he talked about wanting to call her the N word, said his grandfather would have ‘owned’ her, and proclaimed ‘f*** black women’ — all to the encouragement of his friends.
Tatum shared the disturbing racist messages on Twitter on May 27 after taking several screengrabs.
She explained: ‘So I’ve been talking to this white guy for a few months now. I gave my all to this man [for real]… come to find out, he’s been racist this whole time. THIS is how he talks about me to his friends.
‘I can’t make this s*** up. I — I have no words…’ she wrote.
The man, addressed as Graeme by one of the other members of the group text, wrote: ‘Sorry not sorry, but I have this black girl over again… and everytime she says something stupid as f*** I want to call her the N word lol. Is that bad? Or is she just acting her part?
Graeme said his grandfather would have ‘owned’ her, and both he and his friend wrote ‘f*** black women’
The man, named Graeme, kept referring to her as ‘this black girl’ and said he wants to call her the N word — and his friends encouraged him
‘This stays between all of us,’ he added. ‘I really want to call this girl the n word and have her leave…is that wrong? I swear wtf.’
A friend named Colton eggs him on, writing: ‘You call her that lmao if she’s acting the part she can’t get mad when you say it.’
While many studies show that similar political positions to a partner are important to most people, ‘wokefishing’ appears to be a modern phenomena.
Smith said that recent protests over the murder of George Floyd has placed a greater emphasis on individual responsibility to stand up to opression.
She said that this has led people to consciously look for partners with the same political beliefs, morals and values, but this simultaneously leads to a rise in people ‘adapting to circumvent this’.
A survey conducted by eHarmony last year found that political divisions led to the breakdown of 2.7 million UK relationships following the general 2016.
Tory MP Jon Bercow is married to Sally Bercow, who campaigns for Labour (together left). Samantha Cameron previously revealed she ‘sometimes voted Green’ despite being married to a Conservative Prime Minster (together right)
Brexit had a similar impact; the ‘leave’ vote led 1.6 million Britons either splitting up with their partner or failing to progress things with a date.
Last year, YouGov polled 2,380 people found more than one in 10 (11 per cent) remainers would describe themselves as ‘very upset’ if their offspring dated a Brexiteer, while another 28 per cent said they would be ‘somewhat upset’.
The research also showed a third of Labour supporters would be upset if their child married a Conservative.
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