For better or worse, we're living in the age of Tinder. And Bumble. And Hinge. And OkCupid. And Coffee Meets Bagel. And Happn. And Plenty of Fish. And...
Okay, you get it. It's a swipe-or-be-swiped world out there, and a full 15 percent of American adults report using online dating sites or apps (this writer among them).
We'll spare you the diatribe, but this seems to us like a double-edged sword. With the proliferation of online dating comes decreased stigma, to be sure, and increased access—theoretically leading to more connections and more relationships, perhaps even with people you'd otherwise never encounter in the fourth largest city in America.
But with more access comes, well, more assholes. For every right swipe, there's at least two Michaels.
Who's Michael, you ask?
We all know a Michael. We've all matched with a Michael, sent a flirty GIF to a Michael, exchanged numbers with a Michael, Instagram-stalked a Michael, only to have it blow up in our faces.
Michael reared his ugly head, and Bumble–oft hailed as "the feminist dating app" for its trademark requirement that women send the first message to initiate contact with a match—was not. Here. For. It. After learning of abuse (and receiving screenshot evidence of said abuse) from one user by another—you guessed it: Michael—the app wasted no time banning the offender and publicly calling him out, emboldened by the recent reckoning of powerful, abusive men borne of the #MeToo movement and the collective power of indomitable women's decisions to expose them for their indiscretions.
Here, as a sign of the times, is Bumble's open letter to Michael, in its entirety.
Dear Michael,We got wind today that you criticized one of our users for her appearance. Apparently, you thought you knew best about how she should look. Once you were done offering advice on self-development, you decided to hop up on your high horse and assume following all of this, she’d still want to hang out (once she’d put the effort into "looking tip top").Who taught you how to talk like that? Do you think that the "security" of hiding behind a screen gives you permission to degrade people you don't know? Maybe you didn't know, but we hold people accountable for their actions. We care tremendously about our community and our users' well being. Harassment and misogyny don’t belong on Bumble - and therefore neither do you.Listen, you've caught us in a moment where we are particularly aware of harassment and are ready to stop it dead in its tracks. You see, you attacked someone who belongs to our community, and in doing so you attacked more than just one woman - you ultimately attacked our values and philosophy as a community.Whatever it is that motivates you to act this way, we encourage you to rewire your thinking, quickly. You claim your friends hijacked your account, and if that's the case you should immediately disassociate from your friend group. Here's a tip: It’s the 21st century. Small minded, sexist, shallow people aren’t welcome in a progressive society anymore, and in the end, only you will lose out. Times are changing, women are speaking up for themselves, and people are no longer going to be getting away with this sort of behavior. Things are getting better, our world is working toward harmony, and you will miss out on all of the incredible beauty equality has to offer.We're not here to hate you or to punish men as a whole for your immature actions, but we do want to help you to understand how outdated and unacceptable your behavior is.And while we are at it, we'd like to give a shout out to all of the stand up, good men on Bumble and in our lives. To those good men: Thank you for setting an example, thank you for being decent, thank you for treating the people of our community with respect and kindness. You, along with all of the wonderful people in the world who share the same beliefs, are our motivation to keep working. Because of you, we know there's hope for equality. Because of you, Bumble is a platform to practice compassionate behavior. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to kick a wasp out of the beehive. In no way is this one person’s actions a reflection of you and your standards.To the brave woman that brought this to our attention: We are so proud of how you’ve stood up for yourself. We know you didn’t want this attention and we hope that this is a reminder to all women (and men) that no one should encounter this sort of degradation. If you do, we encourage you to let us know. We have your back.Goodbye forever, Michael. You’re officially banned from Bumble. If you begin a journey to self-discovery, we recommend starting it by finding new friends and developing a new outlook on life.See you never,Bumble