As you probably know, this year is a leap year. Meaning that February had 29 days instead of its standard and short-lived 28. In Irish tradition, that one extra day is an important one for feminism, because it is the one day every four years when a woman is encouraged to propose to her boyfriend, instead of waiting for him to make the move.
For the women who think four years is too long to wait, Bumble agrees. The mobile dating app connects users based on geographic location, let’s them make the match, and then sets the women up to send the first message. So with Bumble, every day is a leap day. The idea came from Whitney Wolfe, who served as VP of Marketing at Tinder, until a sexual harassment suit and later a settlement, sent her off in her own direction. Her time at Tinder had given her a firm grasp on the online dating scene, but Wolfe knew that a female perspective was needed to fix a lot of the issues at hand. So she enlisted the help of a few of her former colleagues and set out to modify the dating game.
Why is it called Bumble?
Wolfe admitted to Esquire that she had spent weeks on a Russian word generator, but in the end a board member simply suggested the name. “At first we all rolled our eyes,” she confessed. “But then we thought about it. Wait a second. Bumble—like the bee society. 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.”
The app works in very much the same way as Tinder. It recommends matches based on proximity, which Wolfe shared with Hello Giggles as key to their algorithm, saying, “If we see a pattern in your location, that actually plays in significantly to who you see.” Still, Bumble bees retain control over their pairings by swiping left or right to match with one another. Once connected, the woman has just 24 hours to pollinate a conversation, while the males are allowed to extend the countdown for one match per day.
In theory, the design is meant to remove the likelihood of unsolicited messages or harassment women are often met with on other apps. It also benefits men who may not always enjoy being the one to reach out, or those who worry about rejection after doing so. Though the strategy has seen mostly praise for its forward and feminist thinking, the controversy came predominantly from the LGBTQ community, where same-sex relationships might not necessarily have one female designated to make the first move. In response, the app removed the female-first rule for same-sex connections.
With a reported 3 million users, its customer base seems to have gotten past any complaints. One thing that certainly helps Bumble’s growth is their vow to remain a free download and monetize instead through feature upgrades, so that interested daters can play without paying. Some of its newest features include a BFF friend-finder, for strictly platonic relationships, and political filters to show who you support, in case that’s a deal-breaker.
Whether Bumble will successfully change the face of dating permanently remains to be seen, but it has undoubtedly generated a lot of buzz. Thanks for reading Why is Bumble called Bumble! #WhyisitCalledBumble
Annelise Schoups is a contributor at Rewind & Capture. With a degree in journalism, experience in public relations, and an education in travel, she is passionate about cultivating knowledge and storytelling.