Prof. dr. Janssen, Dr. Ward and Wu receive China Scholarship Council grant

The use of gay dating apps in China has grown remarkably in recent years. China's biggest gay dating app Blued has more than 15 million users, surpassing the Western equivalent Grindr. Media scholars Prof. Susanne Janssen, Dr. Janelle Ward and Shangwei Wu have received a grant from the China Scholarship Council to study Chinese gay dating apps and processes of identity formation in their new project 'Impression Management on Gay Dating Apps in China'.

Shame and pride

Despite the increase in gay dating apps, cultural factors complicate the use and acceptance of both the lifestyle of Chinese homosexuals and their use of this technology. Traditionally, homosexuality is not openly accepted in China. Nevertheless, as consumer culture rises, homosexuals are more and more represented in popular culture texts, gaining sympathy and support in literature, films, and cartoons.

Chinese gays are faced with a tension between shame and pride, which plays a role in their impression management in both the real world and the virtual community. This research examines the use of gay dating apps in urban China and hopes to better understand the factors impacting this use. How do users represent themselves on the app? How do they negotiate between the virtual and the real world? How do dating apps shape their identity, as well as their expectations for intimacy?