Bumble & The Problem With “So What Do You Do?”

June 7th, 2016

Bumble, Feminism, Moxie Rant, NEW!

So, here’s a follow up article on that Bumble post from a few days ago.


Click the link up top to see the full exchange. Bumble did not misrepresent Connor when they called out his misogyny. But this message exchange proves that Bumble, well, wasn’t being  totally honest when they wrote that blog post about Ashley and Connor.

Remember when Bumble said this?

It has been brought to our attention that you lost your cool on one of our female users named Ashley. She made small talk, you felt personally attacked. She mentioned her work day and asked about yours; you assumed that she was prying into your financial status.

Nope. No, that’s not what she did, Bumble. She didn’t “ask about his work day”, she asked him point blank, “What do you do?” And judging by the conversation, it was the first thing she asked him upon starting the conversation.

Now, I will give you that Connor’s rant was over the top obnoxious and misogynistic, but let’s stop pretending like, “What do you do?” is just an innocent conversation starter.

Because it’s not.

And remember when they said this?

“With that in mind — and knowing that Ashley simply mentioned work in the conversationwe can gather that she wasn’t hoping to figure out if your wallet was sizeable enough for her to move into your house and start cooking dinner for you after vacuuming your living room while you clock in a 9 to 5 work day,”

Orly? Tell me how you wizards and mystics were able to determine her motives when, “What do you do?” was the first thing she asked him and was part of her second message to him? Where is this alleged “conversation” of which you speak?

“What do you do?” is a loaded question, one often  asked of men not to initiate a dialogue but to ensure that the man is gainfully employed. If you’re going to brand yourself as “The Feminist Tinder” then first admit that there’s one societal standard placed on men based on their gender, and it has to do with money.  More specifically: what do they do, are they financially stable, and how much do they make. Let’s also stop pretending that asking someone what they do for a living right out of the gate isn’t socially inappropriate. Connor might be a tool, but Ashley clearly won’t be winning any etiquette or personality contesta any time soon, either. Surely all these sophisticated  and well-educated women using your app have better interpersonal skills than that, Bumble. The fact that Bumble wasn’t even the one to publish this exchange and that they misrepresented the conversation shows you that they probably knew Ashley was in the wrong, too.

While I certainly will not go so far as to say that men – white men especially –  are victims of oppression, I am going to call out the hypocrisy of perpetuating the idea that it’s okay to determine  man’s value by his job or his bank account. Whether or not you realize it (and I think you do) that’s EXACTLY what your app promotes when it culls a user base of an atypically high number of white Ivy League bankers, doctors, lawyers, and men who work in other prestigious and high paying fields. Stop acting like that’s just how it worked out for you, because it’s not. You know it. I know it. Everybody who has ever dated online ever knows it. So stop. You somehow sought out those men or you created profiles with photos of actors and models.

Please keep in mind that I’m IN NO WAY defending Connor’s douchebaggery. I’m criticizing the way Bumble twisted the narrative in their favor and how they use feminism as part of their branding. Because…no. Bumble, stop denying that you’re all about equality and empowerment because you’re not. At best you’re champions of white feminists and that’s it, considering the dearth of black men on your app. I’d be curious to hear from black women and other women of color about what their experience with Bumble has been.

In closing, that’s a mighty white staff Bumble has.   Notice how conventionally slender and attractive AND WHITE these women are.

You sure you’re the Feminist Tinder, guys?


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47 Responses to “Bumble & The Problem With “So What Do You Do?””

  1. Malienation Says:

    Seven out of eight of the Bumble women are wearing sunglasses indoors, four of which are wearing mirrored sunglasses. WTF?

    • Sarah Says:

      Say whatever you like about these women, but I’ll not have you malign mirrored sunglasses. I won’t stand for it.

  2. Snowflake Says:

    Read… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumble_(app)

    The co-founder of Tinder (Whitney Wolfe) is the founder of Bumble. She parted ways with her ex-bf (other co-founder of Tinder) took him to the courts when they split (ugly).

    She is an angry feminist from the sounds of how things are going over at Bumble. I did not like that app one bit. I found all the issues you had to be the same as mine. Brutal..

  3. Dark Sarcasm Says:

    Black Male here…

    I joined Bumble and gave myself a week of constant (and believe me, it was) swiping to see what I could come up with.

    A LOT of the profiles on Bumble I previously saw on Tinder.
    A LOT of the profiles were obviously fakes. White women with perfect looks, perfect smiles, perfect poses and high prestige jobs in high profile fields, all wanting the same generic things.
    I ran out profiles in my age range (31-51) within a 30 mile radius in THREE DAYS.
    I live in BOSTON.
    After being told, “It appears you’ve run out of matches!” I, out of curiosity went back thirty minutes later, and lo and behold, a miracle, as at least 10 more beautiful Boston area women who work as lawyers, Fortune 500 Consultants, and other high profile jobs with at least 7 pictures all with model like poses popped up.
    I think I saw a handful of profiles of people ‘of color'; a few Asians, one Hispanic, one Black.
    Those few were all also obviously fakes.

    Oy Vey

  4. Brad Says:

    Connor was certainly an ass (just ghost women who misbehave), but Bumble edited Ashley’s responses.

    The Ashley taking credit for it (at the link) is a hottie, have to credit that.

    Am I out of it that I have no idea what a ‘neo-liberal’ is?

    • Jesse Says:

      At its strictest, Neo-Liberal refers to an econmic theory, currently popularized by former Senator Ron Paul. What the fellow from the OP story means by it is anyone’s guess.

  5. Katie Says:

    The interesting thing about the whole Ashley-Connor exchange is that Ashley never even offered up what she did for a living until near the end; she just went straight into the “what do you do” without even trying to pretend. Not that I’m defending Connor, cause his whole response shows that he is either a tool or a crazy db or both, but I agree with Moxie’s comments on the whole thing. I don’t think anyone is really a winner in this exchange, despite how Bumble is trying to paint things.

    (That being said, I unapologetically hate the “what do you do” question, so take my comments with a grain of salt)

    • Jesse Says:

      I don’t get this. You people must be burned out, jaded, or plain on edge. For 19 out of 20 dates, the woman asks me this question within the first 2 minutes. I’ve taken “what do you do” more as a pleasantry and a way for the date to show they are interested in you. Just like saying “so tell me about yourself”. What difference does it make if they ask in the first minute or the thirtiest? You know the question is coming.

  6. Zaire Says:

    Most women care what a man does for a living. Men don’t have to like it, but it is what it is. However,, Ashley’s question was pretty blatant attempt to size this guy up. She didn’t try to hide anything and reading it I’m sure she only mentioned work as a cover (bad one at that) to learn this guy’s occupation. He overreacted but I don’t feel bad for her at all. She has no social grace at all and lacks self awareness (seriously who makes this type of thing public? Not a good look)

    • Goldie Says:

      I agree. This wasn’t “mentioning work in a conversation”. There was no conversation. He asked her “how’s it going”, and she couldn’t even bother to reply with the requisite “fine, how about you?” Instead she went straight for “so what do you do?” That’s pretty transparent.

      • Yvonne Says:

        Clearly, my reading comprehension isn’t always the best, but re-read the first 4 lines of the conversation.

        • Goldie Says:

          OK you’re right, she asked him first. Which makes it kind of a bit better than my worst-case scenario… but still, the fact that this was the first question she asked him about himself, before he asked her anything about herself, is imo pretty telling.

    • Eliza Says:

      I agree with Zaire…plenty of people lack social grace, and they ask within seconds of meeting…”so, what do you do”? I get that question all the time. Then, the next question is: “So, you live in Manhattan”? Talk about “sizing someone up”! lol

  7. Yvonne Says:

    I can’t speak for other women, but I have often asked men what kind of work they do, and it’s not because I’m a shameless gold-digger. It’s simply a conversation-starter and a way to learn about the other person. After all, most of us have spent years getting an education so that we can have a career and then we spend years working at that career. We ladies have been earning our own bread for quite a while now and are not all waiting for some guy to give us a hand-out.

    In fact, when Connor wrote that he was “pretty slow at work”, Ashley’s, “What do you do?”, seems like a perfectly logical response, and probably what I would have also asked. It’s called “making conversation”, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that Ashley had a hidden agenda.

    Connor’s response, however, was completely out of line. Calling Ashley an “entitled, gold-digging whore(s)” is just as offensive as any racial or ethnic slur. He topped it off with saying that he “…doesn’t fall victim to this neo-liberal (what DOES that mean?), Beyonce, feminist cancer which plagues society…” According to Connor, this misogynist rant is merely “constructive criticism”. How ironic that he has become the “victim”, and that his abuse is constructive, while her follow-up response to his being slow at his job automatically implies “gold-dogging whore”.

    There may well be problems with Bumble as a service, but I can’t speak to that as I’ve never used it. I can identify an asshole is, though.

    • ATWYSingle Says:

      In fact, when Connor wrote that he was “pretty slow at work”, Ashley’s, “What do you do?”, seems like a perfectly logical response, and probably what I would have also asked.

      Conor didn’t write that it was slow at work. Ashley did. You didn’t read the string correctly.

      • Yvonne Says:

        Yes, you are right. Even so, I don’t find her question unnecessarily prying or offensive.

        • Yvonne Says:

          Certainly didn’t warrant the response she got.

          • Selena Says:

            I think Ashley asking “What do you do?” immediately in a message to a stranger was tactless. But what if she had waited a beat after she wrote “Pretty slow at work” and Conner responded with “What do you do?” Seems like a natural response and there wouldn’t be any brouhaha over it.

            Conner appears to be a very unpleasant fellow and once he started his tirade, wouldn’t most women have simply cut him off and blocked him?

            What’s curious to me is why the Bumble staff blew this whole exchange up and the position they took about it. Makes me wonder if it might be some kind of effort to get more women to join. “Bumble protects women!” “Bumble will ban men who write snarky messages!:

            The whole thing just seems juvenile and stupid to me.

            • Katie Says:

              The funny thing is, which I had forgot about Bumble, is that your occupation and college is plastered on the front with your profile pic when you are swiping left/right. So technically, she would have already known what he does for a living……at least in a sense. And vice versa.

              Honestly, just wondering if Bumble is doing this to get some “good” PR and press? I don’t know many of my friends who use the app, and I got annoyed when I tried to use it long ago and gave up. Still, not sure how many guys are going to want to use the site after this whole thing?

              • dee Says:

                Not necessarily. I see quite a few users who edit their occupation and/or college to reveal less personal information.

                • Katie Says:

                  Really? Hmmmm, interesting. Maybe that’s why there are so many “lawyers” and “doctors” on the site? :)

          • Goldie Says:

            Can’t argue with that. The response it should’ve gotten is “oh no, I have a call coming in, talk later”. The response she did get is pretty far out there.

        • freddy Says:

          No…his response was crazy, but she was both transparent in her questioning, and ridiculous with her denials. He should have ended the conversation with her and moved on. She was an ugly woman in a pretty wrapper.

  8. Zaire Says:

    I’m black and I recently started using Bumble. Personally I like Tinder better because there’s more diversity in the types of men present, and I’m not just talking about race. Most guys on Bumble (I’m in TX) are “good ole boy types”. Nothing against them, just don’t see that kind guy taking me seriously. That being said I do get a lot of matches. I message a few of them and had a date last week, with a guy who extended the message period. It was pretty good but I have a feeling he will fade. Typical online dating so nothing new.

  9. BRM Says:

    I think the dating apps mostly suck along with dating in general these days because as moxie has said it breeds shallow connections where not only is it hard to get a first date, but impossible to get a second because unless there’s perfect chemistry and everything is right you don’t get a second chance with people these days. It’s like you have one chance and a small window to make a great impression. I predict there’s going to be a lot more older single people because of the app mentality because I think you only get so many matches in life. You might have to settle for someone whose not the prettiest of most perfect but the current dating culture breeds a “go ahead and cut them lose because a better person is one swipe away.” Before you know it old fashioned committed relationships will be out of style. It’s just sad as I don’t see that many people succeeding these days.

  10. Howard Says:

    Even if you don’t like the question, there is no need to go to that rant. Judgement is a really difficult thing. We do indeed have to somehow get a sense of where someone is going by some comment made, or question posed. My advice, when in doubt, err on the side of light. If that person is going in directions incompatible to us, it will rear its ugly head rather quicker than we expect.

    And really there is no need to confront people that we barely know. It’s not our job to constantly lecture people about their faults, because often enough, our imaginations of “their faults” is nothing more than our false perceptions. It’s a time waster that ensures we ourselves don’t look in the mirror.

  11. Jake Says:

    Where do I start? Yes, Connor handled this badly. It is clear that Ashley was trying to size him up and see if he met her dating or “bf qualifications.” Of course, she had to do this so that she could safely introduce or tell her very white ex-sorority sisters about the Thurston Howard XIII clone she just went out on a very expensive dinner date etc. Connor should have just stopped communicating with her or gone along with it. Also, he could have had fun with it and replied he was a freelance professional couch sitter or mowed lawns. However, I don’t think it would have gone anywhere with Ashley.

    Anyway, many women ask this question off the bat. However, most tend to be more tactful about it, such as waiting for you to ask her what she does first then reciprocating. Other women will be more direct and ask how much money you make. However, this is rare. I have only had two girls ever ask me that. Ashley has no social acumen. Perhaps it is because it’s online dating which is a barren desert of etiquette. Bumble defending her is no surprise. Do you think that any women who probably do the same thing are going to dump over a fellow sista being called out?

    Connor may be an angry and a bitter guy, but he dodged a bullet. He would be paying out the nose to date Ashley. And clearly, Ashley thinks a lot of herself and would be high maintenance. Connor just needs to get offline and regroup. Bumble did him a favor

    In final comment. the picture of all those women was amusing to me.(Yeah, don’t understand the wearing of the sunglasses. And what’s with the one wearing the hat and pouting?). It seems the photo was taken during sorority rush. In my city, there are carbon copies of these types of girls everywhere. They are very white, overprivileged, high maintenance, love to shop and rather racist. They only hang out with their fellow white sistas. Also, a few that I know have already voiced their support of Trump. Girls like this don’t know the first thing about diversity. They believe being white and female is diversity. This is probably why Bumble lacks diversity.

  12. ATWYSingle Says:

    According to posters in the Bumble sub-reddit and reviews of the app on Google Play Store, Bumble doesn’t delete profiles even if the user removed the app from their phone. That could explain why so many people on both forums (and here) never receive a response from their matches. The user deactivated their account.

    • Katie2 Says:

      If that were the case how would you be matching with the person to begin with, though – if someone deactivated their profile, they presumably aren’t swiping – and if they’re not swiping, they can’t be matching with you. I don’t see how this accounts for the low response rate. I think men swipe right indiscriminately and then take a closer look when they actually match.

      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        “I think men swipe right indiscriminately and then take a closer look when they actually match.”

        Yeah well, speaking for myself, I wouldn’t say I swipe indiscriminantly but I don’t usually look in detail or read the text until after matching. And I’m definitely overinclusuve. I assume women do the same because why would’t you? After a match, I will review more carefully. I agree this is the likely reason for the alleged low response rate. Or sometimes someone will say something clueless and off-putting in their opening message. But no women here would ever do that, I’m sure.

        • Selena Says:

          “But no women here would ever do that, I’m sure.”

          Gotta love the little blue dude. :)

  13. Brad Says:

    I’ve never been offended by the ‘what do you do’ question, so I don’t see the big deal. But I also am not affected by racial slurs such as guinea either.

    Maybe if I was a street sweeper I’d see things differently.

  14. Jonathan Says:

    “What do you do?” is not a loaded question. It’s innocuous small talk, getting to know you. For men or women. If a woman asks me that I never take it as she’s trying to determine my income. I take it that she’s interested in me, at least to the point of making polite conversation. I see it as about as safe a question as there can be. If you can’t answer that, then you truly are an ass and you shouldn’t be trying to be dating, because you’ve got way too thin a skin.

    You’re really going to go through a whole conversation or a whole date without asking “what do you do?” Really? Especially nowadays when one’s work identity is such a huge part of one’s identity as a whole?

    • ATWYSingle Says:

      “You’re really going to go through a whole conversation or a whole date without asking “what do you do?”

      A whole date? No, the question either gets asked by me or the guy brings it up himself. But I manage to be able to get through a series of emails or several minutes of conversation before I ask a man what he does for a living. Usually the guy alludes to it in his profile or in conversation and I don’t have to ask.

      Asking that question right out of the gate is not “small talk.” It’s a way to size someone up.

      • Sarah Says:

        It absolutely is a way to size someone up, but I’m kind of ok with it. I mean, why waste time? Look at how quickly Ashley and Connor learned they weren’t a match.

    • Selena Says:

      The question “What do you do?” IS a socially acceptable thing to ask by both men and women. It’s Ashley’s timing of the question that comes across as awkward/suspect/crass.

      I don’t think she was trying to be “nice” by asking it immediately, and if she was a golddigger I think she would have more finesse.

      Thoughtless? Yeah.

  15. ATWYSingle Says:

    I love how this idiot says she was “being nice” by asking him what he did for a living. She was just being nice, guise.

    • The D-man Says:

      He should’ve responded “I’m a self-made millionaire. BTW what’s your bra size?”

  16. Lynn Says:

    I am online dating newbie and have been active on Bumble less than 2 months. While I have never asked a match what they did for a living (without being first asked), I don’t see the big deal as to asking about the person’s work. It’s often one of the first questions people ask you when you meet someone new in person – so why should it be any different online? Someone’s work tells you a lot more than “income potential”…but also sheds light on the person’s schedule, interests, etc. I am not saying that everyone asks this question with the same good intentions, but I think it is a harmless question most of the time.

    When I first read this exchange on social media (before Bumble’s response),I interpreted Ashley to be bored at work and inquiring about Connor’s work just to make conversation or to see if he too was experiencing a slow work day. Maybe her lead ins could have been better, but his reaction was clearly over the top. Her mistake was not in asking the question but continuing the exchange. She should have simply unmatched him after his first response instead of adding fuel to the ranting Connor’s fire.

    While I don’t ask guys that I match with about their line of work (as there are many other questions that are more interesting to me), almost all of the guys have asked me within the first three questions about my work. Although I have a great corporate marketing job, my job title is a bit vague in my profile; so, while many of the guys are just curious about my work (probably like Ashley was with Connor), I got a strong feeling that some were definitely checking to make sure that I had an actual job and was not a starving artist looking for a meal ticket.

    • Allison Says:

      Some of my fave vague job descriptions I’ve seen include “attainment guru,” “getting shit done,” and “your mom goes to college.” Amazingly it never got to the point where we matched and I had to stoop so low as to offensively ask more about them.

  17. Jake Says:

    I don’t understand how some of can find Ashley’s behavior okay and acceptable. Look at the exchange again. Any person with half a brain and average social skills would know not to jump right into the “what do you do” question right away. She could have eased into it by responding,”Yeah, same here, it’s slow. (silence-wait for it) So what do you do?”

    From just this exchange, I can tell that this Ashley girl believes the rules don’t apply to her and she can do or say whatever she wants. And that she expects the guy to prove himself to her. Screw that.

    Hey, but you guys who are fine with being sized up in this fashion keep doing what you are doing. Just don’t come to this site to complain and bitch about the gold-digger that only wanted a free meal.

    • Katie2 Says:

      JFC. Has anyone considered the fact that this is a ridiculous amount of over-analysis of a situation that – at its core – seems to involve 2 online daters who both seem a little bit socially inept? It hardly seems that Ashley was calculating and mercenary- trying to size anyone up or figure out the source of her next free meal. A minimal amount of googling on the hubbub this stupid Bumble “open letter” has generated reveals that this is a 24 year old girl in LA who works for Sugarfina, a company that – no lie – sells overpriced “bento boxes” of gummy champagne glasses and Jordan almonds. And that’s probably her day job so that she can finance her true dream of being a Hollywood “MAW” – Model/Actress/Whatever. Most socially adept people don’t ask another person what they do in an online dating context as awkwardly as she does; most secure, well-adjusted men don’t lose their shit over it if someone does. Online dating is filled with socially awkward and insecure people. Is this really more complicated than 2 such people colliding and all hell breaking loose when they do?

    • Katie2 Says:

      Right… Because speaking for myself, as a woman who makes a six-figure salary on my own, I know that my first concern when I get a Bumble or Tinder match is whether a guy will be able to comfortably subsidize the cost of my glass of Sauvignon Blanc or my butternut squash ravioli. What era are you living in?

  18. Dalia May Says:

    I tend to hate the “What do you do?” question. Even more so I hate “What do you do for work?” Something about that last question really hits my ear wrong. I can’t quite place why.

    While Ashley’s question may have had an ulterior motive I’m a female and am asked that question near immediately in about 70-80% of exchanges online.

    I dislike the question because what I do for work (as in to pay my rent and bills) is in no way what I want to do as a career. That’s what I do on the side, in hustle mode, hoping to become my true and most financially lucrative career. So, when someone asks me what I do for work I get an immediate feeling of disconnection with them. I immediately feel cornered to go into a discussion about a job that is exactly that… a job. It’s not my passion. It’s not who I define myself as. And, I usually do this weird thing of shrugging off what I do “for work” in writing that comes off flippant and weird.

    I’ve come to understand “What do you do?” is just one of those simple conversational things most people ask. It’s akin to asking “How’s the weather?” It’s also a sign of people who are socially awkward or lacking in a higher quality conversational skill and ability.

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