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“We are 100% feminist” Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe on why her app is changing the rules for women and dating

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If dating apps were famous personalities, this one would be Beyoncé. 

Since launching in January this year, Bumble, the dating app where women make the first move, has fast gone up the rankings in the dating world.

As an antidote to other more misogynist platforms, it boasts an almost equal ratio of women to men (which is rare in the business) and by June more than one million conversations were sparked by female users.  

“I always found it bizarre or strange that there was this unwritten set of rules around how a woman could interact with a man, in terms of starting a conversation,” co-founder, Whitney Wolfe, tells VF.com, in a new interview this week.

“If you look at where we are in the current heteronormative rules surrounding dating, the unwritten rule puts the woman a peg under the man—the man feels the pressure to go first in a conversation, and the woman feels pressure to sit on her hands...When you impose a restriction, and you say one party or the other must speak first, it does something very fascinating.”

Women's issues are at the heart of what Wolfe, 26, does (she famously sued Tinder for sexual harassment and sexual discrimination). She says, "We are 100 percent feminist. We could not be more for encouraging equality.”

Ex-Tinder and Bumble co-founder Whitney Wolfe

Ex-Tinder and Bumble co-founder Whitney Wolfe

“For the first time in the tech space, the woman has been encouraged to be on an even playing field. In terms of how these conversations play out, how women feel on the [app] and how they feel about themselves on the dates, it’s really crazy the level of respect they’ve garnered from the men, and the way the men behave in such a different way...On Bumble, by having the lady make the first move, [the man] doesn’t feel rejection or aggression—he feels flattered.”

“That one little shift, that one little change, makes all the difference. It guides the conversation in a very different way, and that sets the tone for that conversation, that relationship, that friendship, whatever that is, to be a confident one.”

She adds: “For young women right now, we work crazy hours, and we’re busy, and we’re exhausted, and we’re also motived and ambitious. And, sometimes, we just want to go home and get in our pyjamas and sit on the couch and do work from our laptops while eating take-out. For our mothers, traditionally, that was unacceptable. If you wanted to meet a nice man, you were expected to socialize often, and work was guarded in a different way—it was a different era. Now, women are expected to be equal to men in so many capacities—financially, career-wise, in education—yet the one disconnect was, and is, with relationships.”

Bumble can be downloaded to iOS for free on iTunes.

Read the full interview at vanityfair.com

Words: Sejal Kapadia, Images: Bumble, Twitter @wlwolfe

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