Women on Bumble No Longer Have to Make the First Move

As the sheen on dating apps dulls, more Americans are reporting bad experiences on them. Frustrated by bots, subscription costs and high effort-to-reward ratios, Gen Z is fleeing the apps in hope of real-life meet-cutes. Earlier this year, “Bustle” declared that dating apps are in their “flop era.”

Not all of the apps are taking this backlash without a fight. On Tuesday, after months of internal shake-ups and stock market woes, Bumble took a shot at winning back hearts and minds with a redesign, which includes a break with the app’s requirement that women make the first move.

A new feature, which the company has called “Opening Moves,” allows women to place on their profiles a question, like “What is your dream vacation?,” to which men who match can respond. (In nonbinary and same-gender matches, both sides can include these prompts.)

The shift is a major one for Bumble. Until now, a man who matched with a woman on the app had to wait for her to message him. If she did not initiate a conversation, the match would expire after 24 hours.

Whitney Wolfe Herd founded Bumble in 2014 because of her own personal experiences. She said that the idea was to give women more control. “I had a series of bad relationships, and I felt I was controlled by a man,” she added, “whether it was: Don’t wear this or, You can’t hang out with this person or, You need to be home at this time.”

But over the years, Bumble received feedback from women who found that making the first move was “a lot of work” or “a burden,” and Ms. Wolfe Herd began thinking about how to release the pressure. Opening Moves, she said, is a result of that process, a way to let women maintain control while not feeling the stress of initiating all of the conversations.

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