Whitney Wolfe: Feminism and Online Dating

August 30 - On The Dot
It’s a great day to be a woman! Melinda Garvey here as your voice, with the mission to give women everywhere a place to be heard and tell their stories. We’d love to hear from you!

FIRST THOUGHT: Dating Then Versus Now

Dating has changed significantly in the past century, heck, even the last several decades. In the 1900s, men had to “call upon” women they fancied, awkwardly sitting in the woman’s house as her parents chaperoned every move. In the 1950s, the phrase “going steady” became popular, and a woman would wear her beau’s letter jacket or class ring to signify the relationship.

Of course, things are different now. Many of us women are asked to “hang out,” and left totally baffled as to whether that means Mr. Dreamy is asking us on a date. We also reserve the right to wait to get married until we’ve established a career, or opt to not settle down at all. The beauty of being women in the modern age is that we can make our own rules.


In a hilarious episode of Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler, has her bestie, Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), help her create an online dating profile. When Leslie highlights facts about herself, like having a penchant for eating waffles and organizing her agenda, Ann turns Leslie’s profile into something a little sexier so it might attract more guys.

It turns out this situation is a lot more common than you might think. Thirty percent of online-dating women have help creating or reviewing their online profiles, while only 16 percent of guys seek such guidance. Hmm, maybe that’s why you see so many guys flexing in their profile pictures.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Whitney Wolfe, Founder and CEO of Bumble

Ladies, if you’ve employed online dating to find a male soul mate, you’ve probably noticed that once you sign up, tons of guys message you from the start. Now, thanks to Whitney Wolfe and her hip platform called Bumble, you can make the first move instead.

Whitney launched this female-focused dating app in late 2014, and it’s unique in that it’s geared specifically toward women. Bumble ensures women make the first contact. If an interested guy is shady or creepy or just not your type and you don’t respond within 24 hours, your connection with Mr. Stranger Danger disappears. The app gives women some much-needed control in the often intimidating online-dating world. And the app is definitely catching on. Bumble has seen its user numbers grow by as much as 65 percent a day.

While her idea for Bumble is certainly groundbreaking, Whitney is no stranger to the high-tech realm of online-dating apps. Before Bumble, she was the only female of the founding team that launched the startup dating app Tinder. More recently, she landed on Elle’s 2016 Women in Tech list, a well-deserved nod.

In her mid-20s, Whitney has already lived many lives. She called Paris her home during her pre-teen years, started a successful tote-bag business in college to benefit the victims of the BP oil spill and traveled across Southeast Asia, sleeping in cheap hotels and volunteering long-term at a Northern Thailand orphanage before finding herself in the California startup scene.

Moving forward, Whitney hopes to develop Bumble into a go-to lifestyle brand for making connections, whether that means connecting with a mate or business partner, or even a friend. In March, she launched Bumble BFF, a mind-blowingly brilliant concept that allows users to search for new friends, which can be super tough once women are living in the real world. And in July, she launched Bumble Bizz for making those important business connections we’re always talking about.

This queen bee has learned a lot about what true joy is. She says it’s not about eating at an expensive restaurant or being in the hippest city; it’s about caring about the people in your life and making the most of what you’ve got.


The co-founder and chief marketing officer of the shopping app called Spring, Ara Katz, said:

“There is no recipe, there is no one way to do things. There is only your way. And if you can recognize that in yourself and accept and appreciate that in others, you can make magic.”

That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.

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