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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.

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

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 We are going to continue to build a world that makes small-minded, misogynist boys like you feel outdated."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.

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Some 75 years ago, in bombed-out Frankfurt, Germany, a little girl named Marlene Mahta received a sign of hope in the midst of squalor, homelessness and starvation. A CARE Package containing soap, milk powder, flour, blankets and other necessities provided a lifeline through the contributions of average American families. There were even luxuries like chocolate bars.

World War II may have ended, but its devastation lingered. Between 35 and 60 million people died. Whole cities had been destroyed, the countryside was charred and burned, and at least 60 million European civilians had been made homeless. Hunger remained an issue for many families for years to come. In the face of this devastation, 22 American organizations decided to come together and do something about it: creating CARE Packages for survivors.

"What affected me… was hearing that these were gifts from average American people," remembers Mahta, who, in those desperate days, found herself picking through garbage cans to find leftover field rations and MREs to eat. Inspired by the unexpected kindness, Mahta eventually learned English and emigrated to the U.S.

"I wanted to be like those wonderful, generous people," she says.

The postwar Marshall Plan era was a time of "great moral clarity," says Michelle Nunn, CEO of CARE, the global anti-poverty organization that emerged from those simple beginnings. "The CARE Package itself – in its simplicity and directness – continues to guide CARE's operational faith in the enduring power of local leadership – of simply giving people the opportunity to support their families and then their communities."

Each CARE Package contained rations that had once been reserved for soldiers, but were now being redirected to civilians who had suffered as a result of the conflict. The packages cost $10 to send, and they were guaranteed to arrive at their destination within four months.

Thousands of Americans, including President Harry S. Truman, got involved, and on May 11, 1946, the first 15,000 packages were sent to Le Havre in France, a port badly battered during the war.

Thousands of additional CARE Packages soon followed. At first packages were sent to specific recipients, but over time donations came in for anyone in need. When war rations ran out American companies began donating food. Later, carpentry tools, blankets, clothes, books, school supplies, and medicine were included.

Before long, the CARE Packages were going to other communities in need around the world, including Asia and Latin America. Ultimately, CARE delivered packages to 100 million families around the world.

The original CARE Packages were phased out in the late 1960s, though they were revived when specific needs arose, such as when former Soviet Union republics needed relief, or after the Bosnian War. Meanwhile, CARE transformed. Now, instead of physical boxes, it invests in programs for sustainable change, such as setting up nutrition centers, Village Savings and Loan Associations, educational programs, agroforestry initiatives, and much more.

But, with a pandemic ravaging populations around the world, CARE is bringing back its original CARE packages to support the critical basic needs of our global neighbors. And for the first time, they're also delivering CARE packages here at home in the United States to communities in need.

Community leaders like Janice Dixon are on the front lines of that effort. Dixon, president and CEO of Community Outreach in Action in Jonesboro, Ga., now sends up to 80 CARE packages each week to those in need due to COVID-19. Food pantries have been available, she notes, but they've been difficult to access for those without cars, and public transportation is spotty in suburban Atlanta.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook," says Dixon. For example, one of those calls was from a senior diabetic, she remembers, who faced an impossible choice, but was able to purchase medicine because food was being provided by CARE.

Today, CARE is sending new packages with financial support and messages of hope to frontline medical workers, caregivers, essential workers, and individuals in need in more than 60 countries, including the U.S. Anyone can now go to carepackage.org to send targeted help around the world. Packages focus on helping vaccines reach people more quickly, tackling food insecurity, educational disparities, global poverty, and domestic violence, as well as providing hygiene kits to those in need.

From the very beginning, CARE received the support of presidents, with Hollywood luminaries like Rita Hayworth and Ingrid Bergman also adding their voices. At An Evening With CARE, happening this Tuesday, May 11, notable names will turn out again as the organization celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the CARE Package and the exciting, meaningful work that lies ahead. The event will be hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and attended by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, as well as Angela Merkel, Iman, Jewel, Michelle Williams, Katherine McPhee-Foster, Betty Who and others. Please RSVP now for this can't-miss opportunity.

Anyone who has gone through the process of disentangling themselves from an addiction knows it's an ongoing, daily battle. It may get easier, and the payoffs may become more apparent, but it's still a decision someone makes each day to stay detached from their substance of choice.

Seeing someone who has a long record of sobriety—especially after a very public struggle—can be motivating and inspiring for others in different stages of their recovery journey. That's part of why actor Rob Lowe's announcement that he's reached 31 years sober is definitely something to celebrate.

"Today I have 31 years drug and alcohol free," Lowe wrote on Twitter. "I want to give thanks to everyone walking this path with me, and welcome anyone thinking about joining us; the free and the happy. And a big hug to my family for putting up with me!! Xoxo"

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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