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Bumble to users: you need sex. Bumble users: get lost.

Technology

“You know, some apps have a reputation for having a hookup culture. We all know that. I didn’t consider Bumble to be one of them.

A phone with an App Store selection of the dating app Bumble.

A phone with an App Store selection of the dating app Bumble is pictured Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in Oklahoma City. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, file

When dating app Bumble received backlash over the weekend following an ad campaign telling women that “the vow of celibacy is not the answer,” the anger came as no surprise.

Resisting sex for personal reasons, political reasons, or somewhere in between may seem like it’s gained momentum recently, but it’s not a new concept. In the classic Greek comedy “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes, the main character embarks on a mission to end the Peloponnesian War through strategic gender denial. She also persuades women in other Greek cities to deny physical intimacy to their husbands and lovers in order to negotiate peace.

Today, abstaining from sex may not be a commonly used strategy for negotiating treaties, but sex remains a powerful tool. More recently, the trend of choosing to abstain from sex, decenter men, or become “a sober boy” has caught on among women. Perhaps this is a way for women to seek peace within themselves after too many situations, ghosts, and other romantic difficulties.

On Monday, Bumble said in a statement that it was removing ads from its global campaign and would make donations to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and other organizations, providing those groups of display spaces.

“We made a mistake,” the company said. “Our ads referencing singleness were an attempt to tap into a community frustrated with modern dating, and instead of bringing joy and humor, we unintentionally did the opposite.”

Videos and photos of Bumble’s billboards in Los Angeles quickly spread across social media and were flooded with responses criticizing the company.

“The fact that @bumble has put out all these discreet ads aimed at women for our decision to not be on apps, not to date, to be single but which don’t address the behavior of men on these applications speaks volumes,” he said. the user wrote on the social platform

Even model and actress Julia Fox commented under a TikTok post, revealing that she’s also single and enjoying it: “2.5 years of being single and it’s never felt better,” she said. -she writes.

Jordan Emanuel, a DJ living in New York who currently stars on Bravo’s “Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard,” said his first reaction to the commercial was shock and confusion. She considered this statement to be “anti-choice”.

“You know, some apps have a reputation for having a hookup culture. We all know that. I didn’t see Bumble as one of them,” she said in a phone interview. “So unless that’s where they’re going, I don’t see it at all. what to refer to as sex, frankly, would make sense if you’re trying to find a serious relationship.”

Emanuel, 32, said she was single for about two years until about three weeks ago, after deciding she was ready to become intimate with someone else.

“I would say it’s easier in that I know exactly what I want,” she said. “Now I know exactly what I will tolerate. Now I know exactly which limits feel safe and which don’t.

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This recent effort by Bumble to re-attract its users is part of a larger rebranding by the company. Last month, the company rolled out a new visual identity and launched new features, including “Opening Moves,” which lets men make the first move on an app that has long put that ball in female users’ court.

Match Group and Bumble – whose market share represents almost the entire industry – have lost more than $40 billion since 2021, a sign that dating apps have lost their luster. Other dating apps, like Hinge and Tinder, also launched marketing campaigns last year to encourage more downloads, highlighting a shift.

Viewing celibacy and sexual abstinence as negative is not that different from viewing promiscuity and sexual freedom as shameful. After the negative reactions, it is obvious that what women want is autonomy over their bodies.

For Tobi Ijitoye, a program manager living in London, the campaign resembles the societal pressures women feel when dating or settling into a relationship.

“It’s like, ‘Oh no, you need to date, you need to try to find a man, otherwise you’re going to end up with cats.’ And I’m like, Why is this a threat? Ijitoye said in a phone interview, “You want me to use the app, but you’re threatening me by telling me the choices I made as a person. that being an adult human will make me unhappy?

Ijitoye, 32, hasn’t used dating apps since January, choosing, she says, to seek more meaningful real-life connections instead of being on apps, receiving random hookup requests and limping around in superficial conversations.

“I think that’s what bothered me: I was just getting super sexually explicit messages,” she said. “I’m like, could you just be normal?”

This article was originally published in the New York Times.

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