Wokefishing, A Dangerous Flirting Technique
There are many women around the world who are being victimized by a type of relational cyber-deception, a practice that’s as annoying as it is outrageous. In wokefishing, the offender often poses as someone with a progressive and feminist mindset to gain attention. These subjects are attracted by a false social conscience and sensitivity in many areas.
They’re able to build a solid, credible, and even inspiring “persona”. However, what’s behind it is a dark deception. After a few months, the mask falls and what many young women experience is profound humiliation. They feel used and manipulated. In the following article, we’ll give you all the information you need to know about this new trend.
When you’re meeting someone new, it’s best not to reveal all your concerns, private matters, values, or ideological leanings.
Wokefishing: Origin and characteristics
Wokefishing is a term that defines the practice of a cybercriminal who studies his victims and captures them, pretending to have similar ideologies. This concept first appeared in a New York Post article, under a cautionary headline “‘Wokefish’ dating trend: Shady men are pretending to be progressive on apps.”
It was the writer Serena Smith who echoed this dynamic, giving voice to the experience of thousands of women; especially young women. In this same medium, the case of a 19-year-old Arab girl was described. After a brief relationship with a man, she ended up discovering that he despised her origin and her religion. In fact, this individual was a white supremacist who was only looking for sex with her.
A person who makes use of this technique is called a wokefisher, and his modus operandi is to demonstrate false progressivism and attunement to achieve sexual encounters. These are practices that are very painful for the victims because the impact doesn’t end when they move away from these individuals. The most painful part comes later, during the process of healing the wounds from having been used and deceived.
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What does it consist of?
The wokefishing technique is based on the very specific premise that having the same political affinity increases the probability of starting a romantic relationship. This is a popular idea that floats around among the population. Despite this, works such as the one published in the journal Couple & Family Psychology highlight that there are exceptions and that it’s not a variable that’s true in all cases.
However, it’s clear that when it comes to connecting with someone through dating applications, having the same ideology is a point in favor. It attracts us, gives us confidence, and increases the probability that we’ll match with someone who seems to think the same way we do. However, you must be careful, because you may become the victim of a relational cyber-scam.
According to the information that has been collected on this technique, the following mechanism of action has been suggested:
- The wokefisher detects its victim. The subject searches dating applications or social networks for those women who are most attracted to him because of their physique.
- The next step is to study them. The perpetrator tries to get all the information he can on them in the digital universe : The internet, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.
- Next, he contacts them showing himself as someone who’s very progressive. He shows himself as a man who’s highly cultivated in feminism and women’s rights, is sensitive to minorities and the environment, and is very concerned about social rights.
- A wokefisher doesn’t have an economic interest. Rather, his goal is to have a new sexual partner. In general, it’s common for them to capture several victims through this modality.
The most frequent victims of a wokefisher tend to be millennials and young women from Generation Z.
What’s a wokefisher like and where does he work?
A wokefisher moves through the digital universes of dating platforms like Bumble and Tinder. They’re especially interested in these applications because they give the option of filtering according to political and ideological affiliation. This is their particular territory and where they cast their sophisticated hook.
If we ask ourselves about the personality behind these manipulative profiles, we can intuit that many of them are defined by a dark tetrad. That is, they present strong traits of psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism, and, on occasion, sadism.
Because this phenomenon is similar to catfishing, we can cite a study published in Computers in Human Behavior, where the characteristics of its practitioners are analyzed. In general, they’re individuals who apply a tricky strategy to win over their victims, without worrying about the effects of that deception. In addition, the following characteristics were also associated with them:
- They’re skilled in the mastery of lies.
- Their primary goal is to find a sexual partner.
- They frequently present sexist and racist traits.
- They present low empathy and clear instrumental purposes.
- In general, they don’t share any of the ideologies that they claim to defend.
- They’re meticulous. They don’t hesitate to mold themselves to certain ideological positions to captivate their victims.
Wokefishing harms women’s fundamental values and is a clear exploitation of their bodies.
The effects of wokefishing: Sequelae and treatment
The practice of wokefishing began approximately in 2020, as a result of the pandemic. Since then, it has left behind thousands of victims. Whoever thinks that this reality doesn’t leave behind consequences is wrong, because it’s not a simple hoax or an insignificant joke by someone who pretended to be someone else. These are concrete actions that damage the trust and mental health of another human being.
A woman who has suffered this dynamic suffered an attack against her fundamental values and was used sexually. This, as we can assume, has an effect on their lives.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that, as stated in a study published in the Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, scams on the Internet always use psychological manipulation, which has a cost.
What do victims of wokefishing experience?
Victims of wokefishing may maintain a relationship with these scammers for as long as a few months or a year. The consequences are more intense when they feel affection for these individuals, as mental sequelae such as those listed below may appear:
- There’s moral damage.
- She feels sexually used.
- There’s a combination of anger and shame.
- These experiences can lead to depression.
- The effect that always arises is the wound of betrayal.
- The victim question herself for having fallen for the deception.
- She regrets being with someone who represented the exact opposite of her ideologies.
- Some women are cyberbullied after breaking up with the wokefisher.
- There are young people who don’t dare to share their experiences for fear of being judged as naïve.
Similarly, it’s important to note that any woman can be a victim of these individuals who use a political or ideological position as a hook. It’s a dynamic that has been in operation for some years now and continues to deceive many young people.
Find out more: Women Talking: Remaking a Broken World
What to do after experiencing these situations?
If you’ve been victim of a wokefisher, you shouldn’t hesitate to discuss it with other women to raise awareness about this practice. At this time, relationship scams aren’t considered a crime, as there’s usually no monetary loss. To this day, lies and manipulation, unless they have a high cost to the mental health of the victim, aren’t punishable by law.
Talking about it with those around us and sharing the experience with other people who’ve gone through the same thing will be of help. At the same time, if the psychological cost of this experience is very high, don’t hesitate to request professional medical support.
How to protect yourself from wokefishing?
The most decisive thing is to know that this reality exists and to recognize that there are dishonest presences in dating applications, which are used by millions of people every day. While this is something we all keep in mind, the tactics are getting more and more sophisticated. It never hurts to follow the following strategies:
- Avoid giving immediate confidence to our “flirts” on dating apps.
- Try not to give detailed information about everything you like on social networks. Wokefishers study their victims’ profiles.
- If you’re matched with someone and they start conversations related to feminism, the environment, and social rights, you must be alert.
- Wokefishers are unmasked by questions, and the more, the better. Don’t hesitate to ask him the most diverse questions about their ideological position. It won’t take you long to detect gaps, ignorance, lies, errors, distortions, or discomfort.
If you’ve been a victim of wokefishing, don’t hesitate to share it with other women so that they take into account this type of deceptive practice.
Prevention, the best weapon against this technique
At present, we’re looking at a cybernetic manipulation mechanism that goes a step beyond classic catfishing. That’s to say, in catfishing, the perpetrator creates a false profile to deceive their victim, with wokefishing, a very sophisticated hook is used: That of an ideological or political position.
This should alert us to the ocean that social networks encompass, where there are those who leave hooks to catch us with their traps. So, be a skillful, suspicious, and agile fish who knows which currents to follow and which reefs to avoid.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Cost, B. (2020). “Wokefish” dating trend: Shady men are pretending to be progressive on apps. New York Post. Consultado el 20 de junio de 2023 https://nypost.com/2020/07/30/wokefish-dating-trend-shady-men-are-pretending-to-be-progressive-on-apps/
- Fangmeier, T. L., Stanley, S. M., Knopp, K., & Rhoades, G. K. (2020). Political party identification and romantic relationship quality. Couple & Family Psychology, 9(3), 167–180. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8266382/
- Lauder, C., & March, E. (2023). Catching the catfish: Exploring gender and the Dark Tetrad of personality as predictors of catfishing perpetration. Computers in Human Behavior, 140(107599), 107599. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0747563222004198?via%3Dihub
- Norris, G., Brookes, A., & Dowell, D. (2019). The psychology of internet fraud victimisation: A systematic review. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 34(3), 231–245. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11896-019-09334-5