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Romantic networks

Romantic networks

May 6, 2021

Romantic networks begins by conjecturing, through the example of the movie You have an e-mail (1998), that cybernetic romances, by shedding "the limitations of bodily interactions (...), would allow a more complete expression of the authentic self".

But if such were the case that the Internet annulled the body, one might wonder what possibility there is to experience through the technological path some emotions (romantic or not) that are inseparable from the body. On this issue is that it is the third of the conferences that compose frozen Intimidades.

Romantic networks and dating websites

Starting from the constant increase of users of dating websites, we understand how economically profitable these online payment contents are. But What is the way in which you operate on these websites?


The dating websites ask users to create a profile through a questionnaire that aims to reveal the personality of each one in order to facilitate compatibilities. "Thus, in order to know another virtual, the self is required to go through a vast process of reflective self-observation, introspection, self-classification and articulation of tastes and opinions." Therefore, the participation in the webs of interpersonal compatibility implies at least three psychological assumptions:

  1. The construction of the self from a summation of categories related to taste , opinion, personality and temperament.
  2. The conversion of the private self into a public representation .
  3. The textualization of subjectivity by means of externalizing and objectifying the self from representation and language supports.

In turn, the consequences that derive from the transit through the cybernetic emotional compatibility devices are:


  1. The knowledge of oneself as precedes an awareness of the other.
  2. The knowledge of the personality of the other precedes the physical attraction that is on him.
  3. The meeting between people is made from the liberal paradigm of the "election".
  4. Each person is in competition with others in the open market that the dating website supposes.

Cybernetic disembodiment

The author argues that the body, absent in the rational logic of cybernetic relationships, is the largest depository of sexual attractiveness that a person possesses, because the tone of voice or its gestures will proceed a transmission of attraction unable to be recognized by means of the rational procedures that operate through the web in the exchange of disembodied textual information.

On the other hand, by expressing incompletely the reality of the beloved person, the body allows the idealization of the person who loves to unfold around it unconsciously . So we can hardly love in the absence of an existential context that involves us with the beloved.


This is why the Internet increases the gap between expectations and experience, because romantic love is mobilized when the person who loves, not having all the information of the loved one, but mainly of that information offered by his body ("knowledge contextual and practical "), idealizes the latter through the imagination.

On the contrary, since the dating websites have a file of the characteristics of the users, there is no longer that which the imagination is romantically responsible for making present.

Uniform management of abundance

Also, the descorporeización that demands internet is compensated by means of, on the one hand, a frozen image through the photographic support that shows our beauty "in a competitive market of similar photographs", and, on the other hand, a series of linguistic conventions that facilitate mediation between people who interact cybernetically.

With regard to this second point it can be said that, due to the large number of diverse contacts, the interaction is carried out through standardized rituals (presentations, questions, jokes, conversation topics, etc.) and reproduced "over and over again in the course of their meetings via the Internet".

This is how the linguistic elements that mediate between contacts are standardized in a limited repertoire. Thus, the self-representation of singularity that allows creating a profile tailored to oneself, paradoxically, is suspended by the uniformity that requires the use of attributes that, on the one hand, are conventionally considered positive, and that, on the other hand, , they facilitate the management of many different interactions.

The economizing management of abundance

Dating websites use psychological categories to maximize and sophisticate within the logic of consumerism the encounters between users, although romanticism fades in calculation, and everything that has the love of unexpected and ineffable becomes the product of a rational choice as a consequence of an accumulated knowledge about the attributes of the other.

It is in this sense that Illouz affirms that "the spirit that presides over the Internet is that of the economy of abundance, in which the self must choose and maximize its options and is forced to use cost-benefit and efficiency techniques". Consequently, the interaction loses its surprise aura and, with it, its charm and its magic. This is how "the internet literally structures the search for a couple as a market or (...) as an economic transaction: it transforms the self into a packaged product that competes with others in an open market regulated by the law of supply and demand".

It seems as if the rationality that operates in the psychological technologies of emotions divided the ego between a public sphere in which the representations of oneself and a private sphere imprisoned by fantasies subjected to the requirements of a market without corporal heat are commodified.

Bibliographic references:

Illouz, Eva. (2007). Frozen Intimacies. The emotions in capitalism. Katz Editores (p.161-237).


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