By Charly LesterFebruary 25 2015
Tinder user? Female? You’ve likely seen your fair share of cock shots, then. The meteoric rise of the swipe-left, swipe-right dating app since 2013 may have alerted a whole generation to the potential of finding a partner online, but it has also given a certain kind of man the opportunity to share a certain kind of selfie with millions of unsuspecting women. As a result, empowering female users is increasingly becoming a key element of the apps seeking to knock Tinder off the top spot. Check out the current contenders here:
Arguably the most successful female-centric app, Bumble was set up by Whitney Wolfe, the Tinder co-founder who famously filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company. Her new app has already raised millions from investors, and is active in 30 countries.
Matching on the app works in a similar way to Tinder. However, once connections are made, only women can start conversations. There is also a 24-hour deadline to start communication, or the match is lost – a form of conversation control designed to move away from stereotypical gender roles.
Wyldfire is a dating network where women are described as ‘gatekeepers’. Male members can only join with the approval of at least one woman on the site. Any men who don’t have friends currently using Wyldfire are encouraged to join the ‘election’ pool, where female members can vote to decide whether they join or not. User behaviour is carefully monitored, and the site’s catchphrase is ‘Ditch the creeps’.
Lulu is marketed as a ‘research tool’ for girls to ‘share experiences and make smarter decisions.’ The experiences they share are of the men on the site – allowing women to anonymously rate the men out of 10. Female members can write reviews of any man on the site, provided they know him. This means women can rate family members, ex-boyfriends, and friends. What follows is a series of multiple-choice questions about the guy’s manners, looks and commitment levels. Finally, girls choose positive and negative hashtags – which could include #PornEducated, #Boring, #StillLovesHisEx, #DoesHisOwnLaundry or #PantyDropper.
Despite very mixed responses to their service, Lulu explain that men have to sign up in order to feature on the site, and that women are not able to write free-text comments.
Both the American app Siren and new UK app AntiDate offer an ‘asymmetrical’ experience, where men and women see the app in different ways. ‘It’s a very different experience for the guys and the girls,’ says AntiDate co-founder Hatty Kingsley-Miller. ‘Girls can see the guys on a map, and they can see all the men’s profiles. The guys just see a stats screen, showing how many women are nearby, how many are looking at their profile, etc. If a girl contacts a guy, then the guy will see that girl’s profile.’ Interestingly, rather than putting men off, AntiDate initially attracted more men than women.