Whitney Wolfe Herd

Civilizing online dating

Whitney Wolfe Herd is unashamed to admit that being labeled a feminist never used to appeal to her. But after the tumultuous end to her tenure at Tinder—the dating-app company she co-founded, and then sued for sexual harassment—the term seemed less like a slur and more like an admission of who she truly was: a woman who refused to be silenced by men and who is driven to succeed on her own merits. She left Tinder and soon became determined to put women in the driver’s seat when it comes to the world of online dating.

Enter Bumble. The genius of this app is that while both men and women can indicate interest, only women can initiate conversation, thus drastically reducing the number of shady come-ons and unsolicited nude photos that make online dating such a minefield for straight women. (Not that the rest of the Internet is a picnic for women, as my own experience with harassment can attest.) Some might doubt Herd’s mission, but they certainly can’t argue with her success: Bumble, which is run by a majority-female executive team, is now reportedly valued at more than $1 billion. As one part of a global effort to make the web more responsive to women’s safety, security and enjoyment, I can’t help but stand up and applaud.

Sarkeesian is the executive director of Feminist Frequency, a nonprofit educational organization

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