Sex & Dating | January 28, 2021 12:31 pm

Feminist Dating App Bumble Bans Body Shaming

Dating apps can breed body shaming. Bumble isn't here for it.

Bumble dating app
Bumble is saying bye to body shamers.
Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dating apps, on a pretty core level, are a place we go to judge potential romantic and/or sexual partners almost entirely on their appearance, and to be judged by them in turn. Naturally, this is an environment that almost inevitably tends to breed body shaming. It’s not uncommon to see dating app users outlining their aesthetic preferences in their bios, whether it’s women announcing men under six feet need not apply or men reminding female swipers to keep their pics “recent.”

Fortunately, dating app Bumble wants to make its corner of the online dating landscape a little more habitable. The “ladies first” dating app, which has always branded itself as a feminist, woke alternative to other mainstream platforms in the online dating space, is now targeting body shamers.

“Bumble’s mission has always been to build a platform rooted in respect and kindness, and we’re taking another step to make our app safer for our community,” the dating app announced in a blog post. “We’re doing this by updating our terms and conditions to explicitly ban unsolicited and derogatory comments made about someone’s appearance, body shape, size, or health. This includes language that can be deemed fat-phobic, ableist, racist, colorist, homophobic or transphobic.”

Bumble defines body shaming as “forcing your opinion of a ‘good body’ onto others,” explaining that body shaming on dating apps can include “sending a message to someone that’s critical of their body or health, or by stating in your Bumble bio that a certain kind of body is unacceptable or undesirable.” This includes “fat shaming, health shaming, criticizing skin or hair, thin shaming, unsolicited opinions, and mocking someone’s physical features.”

The app will use an algorithm to flag certain terms thought to be in violation of the app’s new anti-body shaming policies. Body shamers will first receive a warning, and repeat offenders may find themselves banned from the platform entirely.

Worried about accidentally setting off Bumble’s body shaming alarm? Don’t worry, the app has a foolproof suggestion for staying in the clear: “A good rule of thumb is simply not to comment on another user’s body or health at all.” By the way, this is also a good rule to keep in mind for pretty much all situations all the time. Whether on or off dating apps, there’s pretty much no reason to ever talk about anyone’s body at all, so maybe just don’t!

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