What Is Wokefishing In Dating, And How Can You Avoid It?

As anyone will tell you, when it comes to dating, most people want to find someone who shares the same core values and beliefs. Because let's be honest, an atheist and a devotee of any religion will probably struggle to make things work, especially in the long run if kids become part of the equation. The same goes for politics. If you're trying to date someone on the other side of the political spectrum in this politically charged environment, you may want to reconsider.

In fact, according to a 2020 survey by Dating.com, 84% of daters won't even consider dating someone who doesn't have the same political beliefs as them and 67% have ended a relationship because of opposing political views. With the United States more divided than ever in regard to politics, it makes perfect sense that liberals want to steer clear of the MAGA crew and vice versa.

Now, what happens when you meet someone online who claims to be liberal, but once you start chatting you realize something isn't quite right? Well, welcome to wokefishing.

What is wokefishing?

Wokefishing is when someone presents themselves as having progressive views as a means to get ahold of partners, explains Vice writer Serena Smith. In these cases, a wokefish can claim to be sex-positive, anti-racist, or pro-choice, among other things, and might even claim to have attended protests that align with these beliefs, which they don't actually have. It's sort of like catfishing, but it is based on politics, as opposed to trying to scam you out of money or just amusement.

In recent years, the term "woke" has made its way into the conversation despite being used as far back as 1972, according to Merriam-Webster. To be woke essentially means being awake to what's happening in our society in regard to systemic injustices. In fact, it's been a recurring topic with the term being used to inspire Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to initiate the Stop Woke law, which key parts of were recently blocked by a judge (via The Guardian).

So why would someone who probably voted for Trump and hopes DeSantis will run in the next presidential election want to date someone woke? Turns out, it's all about manipulation. "Manipulators will tend to gain control by pretending to be everything you always wanted," love coach Sophie Thomas tells Cosmopolitan. "...that includes seemingly aligning to what you care about — until they have you under their spell and the façade shatters."

How to avoid being wokefished

It can be tricky not getting wokefished. When we're given information, we take it at face value because, honestly, it's hard to believe that someone would lie about their political affiliation, especially in this political environment. In fact, it can take months or even years for someone's true political identity to emerge, then you're standing there realizing you've officially been wokefished (per Refinery29).

"Many people are struggling with the realization that they are not actually as progressive or open-minded as they once believed they were," dating coach Damona Hoffman tells Refinery29. "This cognitive dissonance has some surprising behavioral side effects, including wokefishing. I tell my clients to look for matches based on shared values. However, if someone is misrepresenting their views just to bring in dates, the connection is starting off on a lie and people could be subjected to a lot of go-nowhere conversation about the issues, and a broken heart."

The best thing you can do to avoid being wokefished is to pay close attention. For example, if someone claims to be anti-racist, but makes a racist statement, perhaps dismissing it as a joke, that may be a red flag. If you also notice them rolling their eyes during a conversation about women's reproductive rights, that could mean something too. It really comes down to looking for clues as to who your date really is and being ready to move on if it becomes clear that they're a wolf in sheep's clothing.