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The app – which now boasts 12.5 million users (one million of those, and rapidly rising, in the UK) – is the brainchild of Whitney Wolfe, a 27-year-old entrepreneur.
‘I’m a very confident person, but I felt as if I was always supposed to be more submissive when it came to dating,’ says Whitney, former vice president of marketing at Tinder, where she was a co-founder.
‘When someone feels rejected, they become insecure and can lash out.
Remove that rejection and replace it with flattery – a woman has messaged them – and it leads, generally, to better behaviour.’What if, I venture, by doing all the running, women are emasculating men, robbing them of their innate hunter-gatherer nature?
The media reporting of the case was extensive and in the summer of 2014 Whitney was the subject of vicious trolling from strangers of both sexes.
‘Emails, texts, tweets, people showing up at my house – really weird and horrible stuff happened,’ she remembers, shaking her head.
Whitney met her fiancé, 29-year-old Michael Herd, heir to a Texan oil company, through mutual friends when skiing in Aspen three years ago. Whitney (and her younger sister Danielle) grew up in a small town outside Salt Lake City, Utah, where her father Michael is a property developer and mother Kelly was a housewife.
‘A lot of men suffer from insecurity and fear rejection, too.
Bumble removes that fear as they don’t have to make the first move, so it benefits both men and women.’ She believes this reversal of stereotypical gender roles itself encourages better behaviour.
‘I was mocked by the other kids because I was wearing things that were cool at my school in Paris – tennis shoes and jackets – and doing my hair a certain way,’ she says.
‘Three years later, they were wearing the same – that was when I first understood how trends trickle down.’Whitney’s parents separated almost a decade ago (her mother is now in California, while her father remains in Utah) while Whitney was studying for a global studies degree.
Sean, his close friend, reportedly threatened to fire her.