“Wokefishing” – What Is it & How To Spot This Dishonest Trend

By 26 August, 2022 January 16th, 2023 Blog

Wokefishing – What is it and how do you spot this dishonest trend?

It has been a while since a new dating term has come up but there are two new ones – wokefishing and stone-fishing. Today I am going to let you know what wokefishing is.

You can add it to the list – catfishing, kittenfishing, ghosting and breadcrumbing. — all terms for bad behaviour!

What is “wokefishing”? 

VICE journalist Serena Smith came up with the term wokefishing. A wokefish, is anyone online who says they have liberal views but, they don’t take any action on those views in real life.

Someone who is wokefishing gives the impression or vibe they are woke but they have conservative social and political views.

The meaning of the word woke is aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).


Let me give you a couple of examples of wokefishing:

  • Someone who posted #BlackLivesMatter and then continues to use words that are racist.
  • Someone who wants to save the environment and posts a photo of themselves using a reusable coffee cup with the caption #savethedolphins. Yet, buys coffee in a disposable takeaway cup every day.

Unlike catfishing where people are deliberately pretending to be someone they aren’t, a wokefish may not realise they are doing this and it isn’t always a sinister act! They will often think they care about the issues, however, they don’t back up that care with action.

A wokefish lacks the real awareness to be woke!

Even though it isn’t always malicious it is frustrating to see.

Of course, when you see this with family, friends or work colleagues you can have a range of reactions from annoyance to being seriously offended, yet dating is a whole different ball game.

Most singles want to meet someone real and not who isn’t pretending to be someone they are not.  They look for someone who shares the same values, especially when it comes to those all-important social issues. They know this is important for long-term happiness and that dating someone who isn’t a match for their values is a recipe for a failed relationship in the long term.

How to Spot Wokefishing

So, how do you spot wokefishing especially when you don’t want to compromise on social/political views?

First, you need to realise that when you meet someone, it takes time to get to know them and this is one of the challenges of spotting a wokefish. You can be sucked in before you realise they don’t feel the same way about social issues as you do.

1. Words Need to Match Actions

A wokefish will say what they think you want to hear. This can be in person or on dating apps.

On a dating app, they may highlight that social issues are important. For example, they may have a tagline that Black Lives Matter. The reality is that Black Lives Matter isn’t a movement that was created to be included in a dating bio.  Including it in a profile can show a lack of real understanding of the movement/issues.

In real life, they may say they care about the future of the planet and want to take care of the environment for future generations. Yet, don’t take any action to back this up.

A wokefish uses these important social issues to get swipes on apps but does little more.

2. Talk about it

I am sure you have heard that you shouldn’t talk about religion and politics on a date. However, it does help to find out what your date thinks of the important issues, especially if they have mentioned those views in their dating profile.

Talking about those views mentioned on the app allows you to find out how real they are.

If your date has said they are into social justice, climate change, are a feminist, or anti-racist you can use it as a topic of conversation. If those issues really matter to them, then they would want to talk about them, right?

You can also ask them what action they have taken to support the issue/movement that they are passionate about.

3. Notice How They Treat People

When you are on a date it is normal for the other person to want to make a good impression and treat you well. However, take the time to notice how they treat the people who they aren’t trying to impress! That will always give you a clearer picture of who they are!

Notice how they treat people of different backgrounds, genders, and races. When you observe how they are it will show you who they really are, not who they are claiming to be.

The Bottom Line

Dating is hard enough without people trying to mislead you about what they stand for.  Be real, be genuine – be yourself and be kind to others! Oh, and if you do catch a wokefish release it as soon as you can!

Debbie Rivers, Dating/Relationship Coach




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