What ‘feminist Tinder’ promised – The Verge
One of Bumble’s early slogans encouraged users to “be the CEO your parents always wanted you to marry.” Since its inception in 2014, the company has touted its app as the most empowering dating service for women — one where women’s message matches first and women are in control. This earned Bumble the nickname “Tinder feminist”. And Bumble has been more than happy to play into that marketing.
But nearly a decade later, Bumble can still feel as tired and broken as other dating apps. And it often seems like this feminist twist is more of a marketing ploy than a meaningful shift in how our apps handle our love lives.
Episode four of Land of the Giants: Dating Games explores how ex-Tinder co-founder and marketing executive Whitney Wolfe Herd created a company to rival Match Group using feminism as a branding tool. We dive into Bumble’s history with its backer, a Russian billionaire, and analyze whether the company delivered on its promise to create a less sexist dating app or simply capitalized on a time when feminism was highly marketable.
“She was the girl-boss-ification of dating, right?” says former Teen Vogue editor Samhita Mukhopadhyay, who is working on a book about the end of girlboss culture. “I’m working on my diet, I’m working on my exercise regimen, I’m working on my outfits every week. And now, with Bumble, I’m dating girls.
And at first, there was a feeling that the so-called “feminist dating app” would be a real alternative to the cesspool that was Tinder. But while Bumble is still hugely popular (it’s currently the second most downloaded dating app in America after Tinder – and its 2021 IPO made Wolfe Herd a billionaire), many users don’t think so. that he keeps that promise. In fact, Bumble may have just shifted more of the dating work onto women.
Listen to the latest episode of Land of the Giants: Dating Games, a co-production between The Cut, The Verge and the Vox Media Podcast Network. You can watch new episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.