Bumble’s profile creation process remains similar to that of Tinder

Bumble’s profile creation process remains similar to that of Tinder

Although user profiles are presented to potential matches based on what binary sex the user chose as their search presentation, the requirement for photos allows for users to demonstrate their gender identity implicitly or explicitly. This structure also exemplifies how Tinder’s interface was built within binary perceptions of gender identity, as the concept of gender expression and presentation was assumed to align with cisgender norms, catering profile creation to cisgender male and female users.

– B. Adams

When regarding gender non-conforming users especially, selecting pictures is heavily influenced by the perception of potential matches. When asked if they were comfortable outwardly presenting their nonbinary identity on Tinder, Adams (personal communication, ) responded, “Tinder makes me feel like I have to put my own gender aside until I find someone who is willing to accept that I am not a woman. [. . .] I feel the need to present more feminine, to only post feminine photos because I get more matches that way.” This obligation to align with a binary gender while navigating Tinder is consistent with commentary from nonbinary-aligned participants who sought matches with men in a 2020 study conducted by MacKenzie Christensen, a student at the University of California, Irvine: “As Tinder directs all users, regardless of their indicated gender identity, to choose between man or woman, nonbinary femme users chose to align themselves under the category of woman.” This directly correlates with Tinder’s structural inaccessibility to gender identity outside of the binary (Christensen, 2020). Despite methods to reassert nonbinary-aligned gender identity through photos and profile biography, transgender and gender non-conforming users feel the need to obscure their identities and re-insert themselves into binary sex-gender-sexuality regimes in order to successfully navigate Tinder’s interface. In this way, Tinder enforces and promotes the ver este site cis heterosexual matrix as individuals are pressured to realign with the gender binary for the sake of success, safety, and/or functionality.

Bumble offers users the option to create a profile based on their Facebook information; yet as aforementioned, Facebook’s representation of gender is deeply entrenched in the binary and requires a user’s full legal name, forcing individuals with chosen names to negotiate with their comfort and identity (Duguay, 2015). As explained by MacLeod and McArthur (2018), this reliance on legal documentation for confirmation of identity:

removes users’ ability to make their own risk-management decisions, as information pulled from Facebook onto a dating profile may divulge more to strangers than the user would choose to if they were given full control over what to present to an audience of prospective partners.

Furthermore, if using Facebook to create an account, Bumble pre-selects a binary gender for the user based on information inputted in the respective Facebook profile. The user is allowed to change that preselected gender once to the other binary-aligned option, and any subsequent changes can only be achieved through contacting Bumble’s customer service (MacLeod & McArthur, 2018). This process is a clear depiction of how Bumble operates as the cis heterosexual matrix, presuming and policing the idea that gender is not only binary but unchanging.

“Tinder makes me feel like I have to put my own gender aside until I find someone who is willing to accept that I am not a woman.”

If users decline using Facebook, they are brought to a gender selection page with the options ‘female,’ ‘male,’ and ‘more options.’ This design choice, much like Tinder, suggests that male and female are preferred and the default. There are approximately 40 selectable genders in the ‘more options’ category, but once again there is a mandatory field where users must select whether their profile will be shown to those who are looking for men or looking for women, nullifying gender selection outside of the binary and forcing gender non-conforming individuals to pick how they would like to be perceived and categorized on a binary scale.

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