Like the female worker bee, women do all the work on Bumble. Putting myself out there repeatedly made me feel vulnerable, not empowered.Courtesy of Bumble In my five months on Bumble, I created 113 unique opening lines, each of which involved not just work but also a leap of faith. Sure, there was some short-lived excitement, but much of my time was spent wondering if they would respond.Drawing upon my personal experiences and academic insights about sexuality, gender and power, this article explores what happens when dating apps fail on their promises.Being a tech Luddite, I never dreamed of using a dating app.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.
Or, the guy who talked obsessively about being 5'6" (167cm) but really, really wasn't.Self described as "100 per cent feminist", Bumble's unique approach has generated significant social buzz and it has more than 50 million users.As a medical anthropologist, I explore sexuality, gender and health experiences among people in sex work, Indigenous communities and those affected by HIV/AIDS.I had no intention of writing about my socio-sexual experiences, but as soon as I started my Bumble journey the words began to flow.Writing helped me cope with the bizarre things I encountered, and my anthropological insights told me that my observations were unique as well as timely. What does it reveal about feminism and gender in contemporary dating culture?Just as female worker bees do the heavy lifting as they care for larvae and their hexagon lair, Bumble women perform the initial dating labour by extending invitation after invitation to potential matches.Bumble men, much like male bees, largely sit and wait for their invites to come.If you’re not in a committed relationship, you are probably talking to multiple romantic interests. With the abundance of ways to meet people, including dating apps and social media, friends, work, or mixers, it’s hard to figure out the rules of engagement when you’re dating around or seeing someone who might be.The blurred boundaries of modern dating often lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings.My Bumble experiences reflect the same unfortunate truth, as do other studies about the complex relationship between gender and power relations on dating apps.Using a feminist dating app in a patriarchal world is messy, but also fascinating for what it reveals about sexuality, gender and power in the digital dating universe.