Feminists are ridiculous. Here’s exhibit 35,624,127,249.
That’s a column by Treena Orchard, an Associate Professor at Western University, whose research interests include “sexuality and sex work, gender, marginalization, and the politics of health.” She decided to try out the Bumble dating app, which has as its claim to fame that it’s 100% feminist and allows women to take the lead on asking men out. Being a super woke feminist, Treena thought it was a better app for her than the other well-known match-making sites, and liked the fact that it was reported to have more professional men as members than other apps.
She spent five months on Bumble, and proudly came up with 113 pick-up lines, citing two specific examples:
Hi X! I like your photos, they’re attractive and interesting. You’re a personal trainer, it must be rewarding to work with people to achieve their goals …
Hey, X. Your photos are hot …want to connect?
She was disappointed that she only received responses 60% of the time, and only personally met 10 men in her five months on the app, which according to her calculations means only a 9 percent “success rate.” Of those ten men, she rated them as follows:
Of my 10 encounters, four rated as very good to excellent, three as quite bad and three fluctuated in the middle: not terrible, but not something I’m keen to repeat. Like the attractive guy with the prickly arms (because he shaved them) who twirled me around in my dining room but could barely tie his shoes up because his pants were so tight. Or, the guy who talked obsessively about being 5’6″ but really, really wasn’t.
To her dismay, Treena’s dating journey was “not the effective, empowering experience I hoped for. The discrepancy between Bumble’s sunny narrative and my stormier encounters stemmed from the app’s outdated brand of feminism. The women-taking-charge-for-themselves model assumes that we live in a girl-power bubble. It ignores men’s feelings about adopting a more passive dating role. This creates tensions between users. I learned the hard way that despite our feminist advances, many men are still not comfortable waiting to be asked out.”
Mmm hmm. THAT was her takeaway – that men are comfortable waiting to be asked out. It couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with the fact that maybe dudes just didn’t want to go out with her.
She wrote, “Will he respond? Will this one like me? Putting myself out there repeatedly made me feel vulnerable, not empowered.”
YOU DON’T SAY. I’m sure there are probably plenty of dudes out there right now who are thinking, “Um, welcome to what it’s like to be the one waiting for women to respond to pick-up lines.”
But Treena insists her experience was all part of the “unfinished business” there is before “gender equity is a reality.” Her proof? Guys were seemingly turned off by her feminism.
Many openly critiqued us for acting “like men” and I was ghosted, sexually degraded and subjected to violent language by men who resented me or what I represented as a feminist. This was confirmed by several of my matches, who discussed women’s acquisition of socio-economic and sexual power as a problem. These insights not only shocked me; they impaired my ability to have meaningful dating experiences on Bumble.
It didn’t occur to Treena, not even for a moment, that the reason her experience wasn’t as positive as she would have liked was because of who SHE IS, or who SHE CHOSE. Nope. It’s gotta be the patriarchy.
Treena says Bumble “needs a serious upgrade” if it really wants women to be empowered, and by golly she has some suggestions:
One suggestion would be to remove the “she asks” and “he waits” design so both partners can access one another as soon as a match is made.
Umm…..that would make it exactly like every other dating app, Treena. Good job.
Bumble might also consider having users answer questions about gender equity and feminism before matches are generated. This could make digital dating experiences less of a bell jar and more of an equitable mess.
I love this idea, actually, because it would be a GIANT RED FLAG to guys that they’re about to enter batsh*t territory and to beware of pussy hats.
Another idea is to have Bumble refresh its narrative to support women’s desires and to help diverse dating roles be more readily accepted by men. The app could add a forum where users can share their various Bumble experiences in ways that encourage safe, engaged dating-related communication.
“Refresh its narrative to support women’s desires,” she said. And she wonders why she didn’t have success on the app. MAYBE STOP WITH THE WORD SALAD and talk like a normal person. Bumble doesn’t need to “refresh its narrative.” It’s not like dudes get on there not understanding how it works.
But Treena’s got a “Go get ’em!” attitude at the end of her piece and so props to her for not letting that mean ole patriarchy get her down too much:
My personal feeling is that instead of depending exclusively on dating apps, it’s best to use multiple dating methods. This means having the courage to act on our desires as they surface in the grocery story, the art gallery, or at the subway stop. It can be terrifying but also much more exciting than swiping right. Go for it!
That’s right. You go, girl. But maybe leave the pussy hat at home.