Background Bumble is a self-declared "feminist" dating app that gives women control over initiating conversations with potential matches. Analysis Through a material-semiotic analysis of Bumble's software and online media about the app, this article critically investigates how gender, sex, and sexuality are produced and given meaning by Bumble's programmed infrastructure.

Conclusions and implications Since the epistemological underpinnings of Bumble's design centre gender as the solitary axis of oppression, the authors argue that the app's infrastructure generates an ontological relationship between gender, sex, and sexuality that narrows the capacity to achieve its creators' stated social justice objectives. Several infrastructural failures are detailed to demonstrate how control and safety are 1) optimized for straight cisgender women, and 2) contingent on the inscription of an aggressive form of masculinity onto straight male bodies.

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Canadian Journal of Communication
Communication & Media Studies

Bivens, R, & Hoque, A.S. (Anna Shah). (2018). Programming sex, gender, and sexuality: Infrastructural failures in the "feminist" dating app Bumble. Canadian Journal of Communication, 43(3), 441–459. doi:10.22230/cjc.2019v44n3a3375