Why it matters that this dating app took a stand for one of its users.

Online harassment is a real problem. This dating app is trying to fix it.

Online dating can be pretty hit or miss, as this chat between Ashley and Connor shows.

Sometimes people click; other times, they don't. In the case of Ashley and Connor, two users of the Bumble app, it's pretty safe to say they didn't hit it off. Ashley initiated contact with Connor, trying to make small talk about work — as one does.



Screenshots from Bumble.

It didn't exactly go well. Connor took offense to Ashley's question, "What do you do?" and it escalated from there.

Put off by the (pretty standard) question, Connor tore into Ashley, accusing her of "shamelessly attempting to pry into [his] career" and his earning power.



Screenshots from Bumble.

Whoa, buddy! Later in the conversation, he called her an "entitled, gold-digging whore," and accused her of pushing "this neo-liberal, Beyonce, feminist cancer which plagues society" on him before putting her down for presumably making less money than him.


Screenshots from Bumble.

It was awkward, pretty uncomfortable, and sadly, pretty common.

According to a 2013 Pew Research survey, 42% of women on online dating sites reported receiving "uncomfortable or bothersome" messages. Bumble tries to make this better by requiring that women send the first message. In doing this, they hope to sidestep some of this sort of harassment.

Image from Bumble, used with permission.

But after that particular exchange got posted to Twitter, the team at Bumble decided to craft an open letter for Connor and guys like him. It was awesome.

The whole thing can be read on Bumble's company blog, but here's a pretty choice section:

"While you may view this as 'neo-liberal, Beyonce, feminist-cancer,' and rant about the personal wounds you are trying to heal from classic 'entitled gold digging whores,' we are going to keep working. We are going to expand our reach and make sure that women everywhere receive the message that they are just as empowered in their personal lives as they are in the workplace. We are going to continue to build a world that makes small-minded, misogynist boys like you feel outdated."

They ended the note by telling Connor they hope he comes around, but that for the meantime, he's blocked from using the app. Boom.

GIF from C-SPAN.

Bumble's message was about so much more than just Ashley and Connor. It was about what's wrong with dating culture as a whole.

"The entire exchange made our skin crawl," a Bumble spokesperson told Upworthy. "He so blatantly represents the misogynist voice that argues against equality, and in turn, holds back anyone wanting to be treated as an equal. We feel like, as a society, we should be past the point of sexism. We know as an app, we can only do so much, but we are taking every opportunity we can to have a cultural impact and shed light on the right way to treat people."

Image from Bumble, used with permission.

They explained that the company's goal (aside from, you know, helping people land dates) is to fight online harassment and hold people accountable for their actions.

"Our hope is that by highlighting negative behavior, we can somehow, at least in a small way, promote kindness and show that being friendly, upbeat and nice actually gets people a higher chance of getting a date through our app."

"We are trying to level the playing field for women and in turn, take the pressure off of men's stereotypical roles in dating relationships. Our hope is that by highlighting negative behavior, we can somehow, at least in a small way, promote kindness and show that being friendly, upbeat, and nice actually gets people a higher chance of getting a date through our app."

No one should have to endure that kind of harassment and abuse. Not in person, not online — not even in dating apps. Thankfully, the Bumbles of the world are trying to make that a reality.

Most Shared

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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