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With Its #EqualNotLoose Campaign, Is Bumble Perpetuating the Same Stereotype It's Trying to Shatter?

Illustration: Prianka JainWith Its #EqualNotLoose Campaign, Is Bumble Perpetuating the Same Stereotype It's Trying to Shatter?

Bumble has been talked up as a feminist app, one on which women initiate conversation. It might sound a tad gimmicky but hey, we'll take it. But when its first marketing push in the country came out with the #EqualNotLoose slogan, we were suddenly not sure anymore. As a response to women (and some men) taking down the messaging, Bumble replied to their tweets with this: ""Loose" is a term rooted in misogyny that is used to hold women back from achieving the independence they deserve and demand. Bumble's mission is to end misogyny in all its forms and our #EqualNotLoose campaign is another example of that commitment." Really? We thought it'll be best to ask Bumble's own TA- women between the ages of 18-35 as Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe categorises, and, we're assuming, living in metropolises-what they think of the communication.

Sahiba Sawhney, Chief Mover & Shaker, Dance Design
"Driven/focused/social/hardworking ka opposite 'loose' kyon hai (Why is driven/focused/social/hardworking considered to be the opposite of loose)? When I read the caption on that billboard, it immediately put me off. I get that having a super hectic life for a woman in India can be considered a thing people call 'loose' vaguely. But putting it on a billboard and synchronising it with so many more roles that we have is kind of not useful.

We are called so many things besides "loose": Easy, trying too hard, overdoing it, hyper, hysterical, etc. When actually what we are doing is being passionate, enthusiastic, driven or hardworking. Because they [Bumble] used the word 'loose' so many times, inspite of synonymous words for the good words, I focused on 'loose' a lot more maybe. That's why it irritated me, and I took back only that word from seeing that billboard."

Being an independent woman, I was looking forward to Bumble Bizz; it felt like a more chill, more functional LinkedIn, but the campaign really threw it off for me. Sorry Bumble, but what happened?! I was looking forward to a much more creative and fun campaign like the 112 real-life stories of "inspirational and relatable" users all over New York. I was made aware of so many inspiring people who were so relatable. India has many lovely people that could be represented well through a similar campaign. Instead, the current ads create a deeper stigma around the 'freedom to swipe'."

Who is loose? Can loose women/people not be equals? Why do they have to take off their sweatshirts while running in the gym?"