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Dating Apps: Men on ‘Bumble’ aren’t Ready for the Queen Bee

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(The Conversation) — When love, lust and all things in between come calling, dating apps appear to be the only way to meet new people and experience romance in 2019.

They’re not of course, but social media and popular culture inundate us with messages about the importance of these seemingly easy and effective approaches to digital dating.

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.”



Being a tech Luddite, I never dreamed of using a dating app. However, when other options were exhausted, I found myself selecting photos and summarizing myself in a user profile.

I chose Bumble because it was rumored to have more professional men than other apps and I was intrigued by its signature design where women ask men out. Self described as “100 percent feminist,” Bumble’s unique approach has generated significant social buzz and it has over 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.

But what is Bumble all about? What does it reveal about feminism and gender in contemporary dating culture?

Love, Lust and Digital Dating: Men on the Bumble Dating App aren’t Ready for the Queen Bee

The female worker bee does all the work

Established in 2014, Bumble is branded as a feminist dating app that puts women in the driver’s seat and takes the pressure off men to initiate dating conversations. In a 2015 Esquire interview, Bumble CEO and co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd explained the honeybee inspiration:

“Bee society where there’s a queen bee, the woman is in charge, and it’s a really respectful community. It’s all about the queen bee and everyone working together. It was very serendipitous.”

However, a honeybee hive is less about sisterhood and more about gendered inequity. Just as female worker bees do the heavy lifting as they care for larvae and their hexagon lair, Bumble women perform the initial dating labor by extending invitation after invitation to potential matches.

Bumble men, much like male bees, largely sit and wait for their invites to come.

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. Here’s just two examples:

Hi X! I like your photos, they’re attractive and interesting. You’re a personal trainer, it must be rewarding to work with people to achieve their goals …

Hey, X. Your photos are hot … want to connect?

Will he respond? Will this one like me? Putting myself out there repeatedly made me feel vulnerable, not empowered.

Sure, there was some short-lived excitement, but much of my time was spent wondering if they would respond. Only 60 per cent of my opening lines were answered and I met just ten men in five months, which is a nine per cent “success” rate.

Of my 10 encounters, four rated as very good to excellent, three as quite bad and three fluctuated in the middle: not terrible, but not something I’m keen to repeat.

Like the attractive guy with the prickly arms (because he shaved them) who twirled me around in my dining room but could barely tie his shoes up because his pants were so tight. Or, the guy who talked obsessively about being 5’6″ but really, really wasn’t.

A girl-power bubble

My digital dating journey was not the effective, empowering experience I hoped for. The discrepancy between Bumble’s sunny narrative and my stormier encounters stemmed from the app’s outdated brand of feminism.

The women-taking-charge-for-themselves model assumes that we live in a girl-power bubble. It ignores men’s feelings about adopting a more passive dating role. This creates tensions between users. I learned the hard way that despite our feminist advances, many men are still not comfortable waiting to be asked out.

Some Bumble men view the app’s signature design as a way for women to rob them of their rightful dating power. Many openly critiqued us for acting “like men” and I was ghosted, sexually degraded and subjected to violent language by men who resented me or what I represented as a feminist.

This was confirmed by several of my matches, who discussed women’s acquisition of socio-economic and sexual power as a problem. These insights not only shocked me; they impaired my ability to have meaningful dating experiences on Bumble.

The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements continue to illuminate how much unfinished business we have ahead of us before gender equity is a reality. 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. Bumble needs a serious upgrade it if truly wants to empower women and make room for men en route to more meaningful dating experiences.

One suggestion would be to remove the “she asks” and “he waits” design so both partners can access one another as soon as a match is made. Bumble might also consider having users answer questions about gender equity and feminism before matches are generated. This could make digital dating experiences less of a bell jar and more of an equitable mess.

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. The app could add a forum where users can share their various Bumble experiences in ways that encourage safe, engaged dating-related communication.

My personal feeling is that instead of depending exclusively on dating apps, it’s best to use multiple dating methods. This means having the courage to act on our desires as they surface in the grocery story, the art gallery, or at the subway stop. It can be terrifying but also much more exciting than swiping right. Go for it!

The Conversation publishes knowledge-based journalism that is responsible, ethical and supported by evidence from academics and researchers in order to inform public debate with facts, clarity and insight into society’s biggest problems.

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Health

County Hospitals Receive 300 iPads for Patients to See Family

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LOS ANGELES – 300 iPads have been donated to Los Angeles County hospitals to facilitate patient-family communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. The gift is through a partnership with the Annenberg Foundation, Brilliant Corners, and the Los Angeles County Center for Strategic Partnerships.

“The engagement of loved ones during hospitalization has been shown to improve clinical outcomes,” said DHS Director, Dr. Christina Ghaly. “Clinical staff identified a role for virtual visiting through technology in order to facilitate this family involvement. The generous donations by the Annenberg Foundation and MobileDemand will help support this critical element of our patients’ care.” 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, patient visitation by family and loved ones is limited at facilities in order to prevent exposure and the spread of disease. While there are some exceptions, such as the birth of a child or death of a patient, visitation is not permitted for the vast majority of patients and not allowed at all for COVID-19 patients. 

The donation provides 300 iPads to ensure patients and their families are able to connect, despite restrictions in access to the hospital. A second donation, by MobileDemand, provides rugged, protective healthcare iPad cases to protect against damage and loss. The rugged case also has an adjustable easel attached, providing effortless viewing for patients who are too weak to hold a tablet. Additionally, it frees health care staff from having to hold the device for patients.

“This is a wonderful example of how philanthropic organizations, nonprofits, government, and businesses can collaborate and meet an immediate need in our community,” said Wallis Annenberg, Chairman, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation. “Being able to offer an opportunity for comfort and connection to those suffering and to alleviate some of the stress from our frontline caregivers is of utmost importance.”

While social distancing has been successful in flattening the curve of the COVID-19 surge in Los Angeles County, it is anticipated that it will continue for several months. With this gift, physicians and nurses will be able to place an iPad in the room of COVID and other critically-ill patients for the duration of the admission and reduce potential exposure and use of personal protective equipment going in and out of the room. Having a stationary iPad helps relieve medical staff who would otherwise have to hold the phone for a patient or search for the person’s personal phone. It also will allow patients who do not have a personal mobile device to communicate and “visit” with their family.

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) is the second largest municipal health system in the nation. Through its integrated system of 26 health centers and four hospitals – LAC+USC Medical Center, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center – and expanded network of community partner clinics, DHS annually provides direct care for 600,000 unique patients, employs over 22,000 staff, and has an annual budget of over $6 billion.

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Processions to Cedars Will Salute Healthcare Workers on National Nurses Day

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is putting a strain on essential workers such as first responders and healthcare workers who are on the frontlines in the effort to care for coronavirus patients so the City of West Hollywood is setting out to recognize them in a special way on May 6.

National Nurses Day is a day of recognition to celebrate and honor the contributions that nurses have made and continue to make in our communities and throughout the nation. National Nurses Day is celebrated annually on May 6, which marks the beginning of National Nurses Week, a week-long celebration to raise awareness of the value of nursing and educate the public on the role nurses play in meeting the healthcare needs of Americans. National Nurses Week concludes on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, or as she was more commonly known, “The Lady of the Lamp” and founder of modern nursing.

The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is coordinating two motorcades to honor healthcare workers on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, which is nationally recognized as National Nurses Day. The processions will begin at 9:45 a.m. and at 7:15 p.m. on Santa Monica Boulevard at La Cienega Boulevard and the motorcades will head west and then travel southbound on N. San Vicente Boulevard passing multiple medical center locations in West Hollywood en route to a destination outside the emergency room entrance of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Gracie Allen Drive. First responders will briefly stop, exit their vehicles and applaud healthcare workers while wearing face coverings and practicing appropriate social distancing.

“Our nurses and healthcare workers are nothing short of heroes,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore Lindsey P. Horvath. “The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us just how critical their work is to our everyday health and safety. This National Nurses Day means so much more to all of us — the City of West Hollywood and our LA County Sheriff’s West Hollywood Station and LA County Fire Stations; the City of Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills Police and Fire; the City of Los Angeles and LAPD and LAFD; the California Highway Patrol, and more — and we will honor these heroes in a special way for the care that they provide, which often goes unseen and unrecognized, in carrying us through this crisis.”

“As the worldwide response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, the critical importance of nurses in our society has been brought sharply into focus,” said City of West Hollywood Councilmember John Heilman. “More often than not, when a coronavirus patient ends up in a hospital, it is the nurses at the frontlines who are responsible for their care and treatment, putting themselves at risk in the process. We can’t say ‘thank you’ strongly enough.”

The City of West Hollywood encourages residents and community members to participate during this day of celebration while still adhering to LA County Safer At Home Orders and social distancing requirements. Suggested forms of participation include amplifying posts on social media channels, making yard or window signs and banners, participating in a coordinated daily applause or shout out for nurses and healthcare workers, and donating to organizations that are addressing the emerging needs of nurses and healthcare workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) health pandemic.

According to the American Nursing Association, nursing is the nation’s largest healthcare profession, with more than four million registered nurses in the United States. Registered nurses comprise one of the largest segments of the U.S. workforce and are the primary providers of hospital patient care, delivering most of the nation’s long-term care. In nursing, where workers are on the front lines of patient interactions, women make up more than 85 percent of the workforce. This year, with the onset of coronavirus, nurses have stepped up and shown the incredible impact they have on our healthcare system. It is more important than ever that we recognize National Nurses Day and celebrate the significance of nurses every day.

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Health

Texas & California Wet Markets Show Full Extent of Vile Conditions

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Texas & California Wet Markets Show Full Extent of Vile Conditions

(TMZ) — It’s becoming more clear by the day that wet markets are NOT just a China problem — it’s an American problem too … just take a look at these latest clips from Texas and California.

TMZ has gotten a hold of even more graphic videos of two different live animal shops in TX and CA — where people pick out the animal, have it slaughtered on the spot and then sold to them right then and there — and you see the mixed-in livestock runs the gamut.

There are pigs in pens, goats and sheep hoarded together … and, of course, as we’ve seen in New York and elsewhere — chicken and rabbits cooped up in cages — all in the same area within earshot of each other, and all getting butchered.

Ya got pigs hanging from hooks out in the open, chicken beaks, feathers and guts all over the floor and in an exposed trash can — this while customers (including kids) come in and browse the freezer for whatever cuts of meat they want. It’s downright dirty and gross.

As we’ve been told by the experts, these one-stop-shop slaughterhouses/storefronts can be breeding grounds for disease — including new viruses, like COVID-19, which supposedly got started at a wet market in China.

We already know of lawmakers in Cali and New York working to get these things shut down, but it’s pretty apparent there needs to be federal legislation rolled out to address this. Can’t call the kettle black when we’re swimming in the freakin’ pot.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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