In the Eye of The Feminist Shitstorm

The first article about my Bumble experiences was published in The Conversation on July 28th (https://theconversation.com/love-lust-and-digital-dating-men-on-the-bumble-dating-app-arent-ready-for-the-queen-bee-120796), and whaaaat a nerve it has struck!! I knew it would ruffle a few feathers but didn’t think so many rufflestiltskins would reveal so much anger. About what, you ask? Not dating apps, which was the focus of the article, but feminism and me as a man-hating, probably lesbian, certainly ugly representative of that fair ideology.

As I’ve discussed in previous blogs, Bumble defines itself as “100% feminist” but really isn’t because women do all the work upfront while men wait to be contacted. Our ‘empowerment’ ends at the ask and in my case only 60% of my initial conversations were responded to.  Waiting to see what would happen and wondering how to up my Bumble game occupied a lot of my time during those five months in the hive.

Men also have to wait, to be asked out in the first place. This mutual waiting situation sets up a certain degree of animosity between users and can produce some pretty snaky behaviour among men. They behave differently on Bumble than on other apps, more aggressive and openly critical of women’s dating mojo (or lack thereof, according to many). They don’t seem to be ready for or accepting of the ‘women go first’ approach.

And, their perspectives don’t seem to have been considered by Bumble.  Maybe the Queen Bee et al. think that because men should be ok with women taking charge they don’t need to be consulted. But, their insights and those of other users should be consulted if Bumble truly wants to create equitable dating experiences.

These are the kinds of things I was talking about in The Conversation article, but they were read in a strange way by many a male reader. They get as far as FEMINISM and see red. I’m told to stop bitching about things men have experienced for decades and lie in my #MeToo bed that I’ve helped make. However, I wasn’t discrediting men by talking about my own experiences.

And,  I agree that my upfront labour and poor outcomes are similar to what men have gone through. This wholesale reversal of dating fortunes is new and weird, and I don’t think Bumble has thought it through…Those points were made in the article.

The angry comments also make it clear that feminism is believed to be the sin to end all  sins. SIGH. This is because it makes us psycho, man-haters who are fighting a losing battle because men will never find feminists attractive. Oops, ha ha. They’d turn over in their greasy trailers if they knew of my romantic successes off Bumble and in life more generally. Some of them even said that my Bumble results- meeting 10 men in 5 months- were good and better than many men average.

So, which is it? They’re pissed that I’m not a real woman, that I’ve had more dating success than them, that I’m trying to be a man, or that I’m a woman after all? Very confusing! I don’t think it’s really about me though, I’m just delivering a message they don’t like. But, I wish they would read closer and see that I’m advocating for greater involvement of men in the Bumbleverse, not their exclusion.

To be so triggered, as reflected in hundreds of very negative comments, speaks volumes. Yes, I identify as a feminist, not of the radical variety, but of the kind that supports and fights for the safety and care of everyone, including women and men. How can you argue with that?

I have been preparing for this shitstorm for some time and I feel grateful to be in the heart of it. It’s messy and a bit scary, but through the sad, mean comments I’m gathering strength. We can do better for and by one another in the world of dating and more broadly. Listening to one another is a very important place to start—so listen and watch and document, I shall…