Names and ages were seen as mandatory information to collect from Facebook. Additionally, a user can only alter their gender once. Supported by a cisnormative logic, Bumble retained regulatory control over gender by dislocating it from the digital delegation process. FAQ does not shy away from noting who its unique feature was in- tended for: As soon as homosex- uality emerges in the app, the design strategy shifts. Same-sex users are presumably not at risk from aggressive formulations of masculinity.
Since Bumble is operating in a cisnormative universe, there is no conception of different performances of gender being attached to differently sexed bodies. For instance, there are no distinctions be- tween femme, or butch, or dyke lesbians.
Neither are there distinctions among gay users. If masculinity is attached to the proclivity for aggression, fears of rejection, and hypersexuality, this is only within a cisnormative and heteronormative epistemological understanding of dating and hookup practices. For the time being, instead of attempting new design solutions within Bumble, the company has decided to invest in a separate app called Chappy, which is set to serve gay men Tepper, As explained by Wolfe, this reversal of stereotypical gender roles ought to encourage better behaviour among men in and of itself: As Bumble has continued to develop, new features continue to be added.
One of these is the BFF feature, introduced in March Yet, since a heteronormative logic dictates the design of this feature, friendship is impossible between male and female bodies.
Yet it ap- pears that this restriction has only been adequately tested for heterosexual users: In an article in New York Magazine, Kircher explains her own experiences alongside several anecdotes from other lesbian Bumble users: Yet I keep matching with women who, it appears, are looking for female friends, rather than looking for female, well, friends. In fact, if we assume that this problem is not restricted to women but likely emerges for gay male users as well, then all queer users are at increased risk. Due to this error, and given that dat- ing apps like Bumble rely heavily on location data to create matches, queer users can be inadvertently exposed to straight users who are simply searching for a BFF.
Living in a heteronormative society, queer users are naturally aware of the risks imposed by exposing their non-normative identity online e. Once the problem is revealed, however, it is not surprising, as Kircher describes here: These types are also actionable in that users can gain entrance to VIBee if they are good or be excluded if they are bad. Given its proprietary nature, only some information is available about the algorithm that drives the VIBee program. Users struggle to see the measur- able type and turn to sites like Reddit to discuss it; see, for example, Viconahopa, , but are not granted access to the inner workings of the algorithm, which is a cri- tique of algorithmic worlds more broadly Pasquale, Marketed as an alternative, cleaned up space, Bumble seeks equality by decisively and explicitly handing over control to straight cisgender female users for the initial activity of deciding who to converse with.
Other features, like the VIBee program and standard reporting mechanisms, are incorporated as additional socio-technical features that support identity regulation. Masculinity is only viable for male bodies that are sexually attracted to female bodies, which are, in turn, the only legible containers for White femininity and opposite-sex attraction. The jour- nalist then sums it up: When an intersectional lens is replaced with a solitary focus on one axis of op- pression, infrastructural failures are bound to occur.
The major infrastructural failures we investigated stem from binary logics: By legitimizing straight White cisgender women as worthy of control and safety mechanisms, all other users were put at risk. Marginalized groups cannot be asked to wait—and accept in- creased risk—while identity categories are dealt with one at a time.
Identities always interlock and intersect; they cannot be pulled apart from one another. Making universalizing assumptions based on one category while insisting on seeing only one small piece of that identity position is extremely problematic Moraga, Designers motivated by good intentions and social justice objectives ought to be mind- ful of such infrastructural failures, including increased risks for marginalized bodies, and the ontological re generation of oppressive identity categories.
Perhaps if we ex- pand our strategies for social change beyond a narrow focus on marketable products that offer technical tweaks, we might be better positioned to achieve them. Notes 1. The app is free to use but also includes in-app purchases. Thank you to Dr. Sarah J. Jackson Northeastern University for this feedback during a presentation about this article at the International Communication Association.
Consider just one example in the Canadian context: Whitney Wolfe wants to beat Tinder at its own game. Alter, Charlotte. Balsamo, Anne Marie.
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New York, NY: Carby, Hazel. White woman listen!
(PDF) Mobile Masculinities: An Investigation of Networked Masculinities in Gay Dating Apps
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Race and racism in 70s Britain. Cheney-Lippold, John. We are data: Algorithms and the making of our digital selves. New York University Press. Chilcott, Joely. Taking the sting out of dating: Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: The best dating apps for LGBT women. Screened intimacies: Tinder and the swipe logic. Diamond, Kelly. DiAngelo, Robin. White fragility. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 3 3 , 54— Social justice—oriented interaction eesign: Outlining key design strategies and commitments. Duguay, Stefanie. Dressing up Tinderella: Interrogating authenticity claims on the mobile dating app Tinder.
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Gilchrist, Kristen. Feminist Media Studies, 10 4 , — Gillespie, Tarleton, Boczkowski, Pablo J. Media technologies: Essays on communication, materiality, and society. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. How would you describe the stigma associated with gay dating apps, and why do you think it is so pervasive? Not anymore. Do you think a dating app is the ideal way to find a relationship and build meaningful connections?
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Mobile Masculinities: An Investigation of Networked Masculinities in Gay Dating Apps
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