Even my male friends acknowledge it happening among their peers. Speaking to Oliver, 26, he recounted how he had been sitting with a friend who, flicking through Tinder, had matched with two girls in quick succession.
Instantly he sent them both a pornographic message. What kind of person is he? Why the messages then? According to one developer, this has been perpetuated by the fact that dating sites and apps still make most of their revenue from men. Therefore men have always been the focus, which has just perpetuated the problem. A new generation of app developers, many of them women, are launching a digital fightback through a wave of female-orientated dating platforms.
From apps where women are the gatekeepers to initiating conversations, to others where men can only be invited by women, the movement to ensure digital dating is no less fun for women is quickly gathering momentum.
And the woman leading the charge is not who you might expect. The chatty waiter who comes to take our orders opens with: We are 1, miles away from Los Angeles, the home of Tinder, and 1, miles away from Silicon Valley, but frankly we could be in another world entirely.
Dating app Tinder facing sexual harassment lawsuit from co-founder Read more Wolfe, 25, lives here partly because it is the home of her oil tycoon boyfriend, but also because it signifies a distance that is both physical and metaphorical between her and her former life.
Last year, she found herself the reluctant subject of a notably unpleasant media furore after she launched a lawsuit against Tinder — the company she had worked at as both co-founder and head of marketing for almost three years. After Rad allegedly refused to deal with the situation, and even threatened to fire Wolfe, she resigned from the company.
The saga was eventually settled out of court last September with no admission of wrongdoing from either party. Open, warm and endearingly verbose, Wolfe becomes a closed book at the mention of Tinder: It was about being recognised for my work. Bumble , which she set up just over six months ago, has swiftly established itself as one of the pioneering new dating apps designed to improve the experience for women.
Sexism in Silicon Valley: Profiles are connected to your Facebook to prevent the use of fake profiles you have to have a certain number of friends to sign up and users can scroll through pictures, swiping left to dismiss and right to match up. The game element that makes Tinder so addictive remains. But it has a few fundamental differences, mainly that once a match is made it is only the woman who can strike up the conversation.
The thought behind it, says Wolfe, is simple. Having spoken to so many women who had been put off dating apps by a constant stream of creepy, uninitiated and often abusive messages from men, there seemed an obvious need for a platform that offered some level of female empowerment in the digital dating sphere. Revealingly, Wolfe admits she has never once used Tinder. I tell her I have some less admirable male friends who swipe right on everyone, without any discretion, just to increase their matches and chances of a hook-up.
But Bumble gives the man a chance to not feel like the aggressor, and gives the woman a chance to take a little more control than society says is OK and steer the conversation from the beginning. This is all about women reclaiming that online dating space.
Bumble is about establishing equality. So if we eliminate the rejection, what is there to be aggressive about? Wolfe laughs and shakes her head. Having met Wolfe while she was working at Tinder, he got in touch with her last August to discuss a new joint business venture.