A big swipe to the left for Tinder

by Kalah Siegel, Staff Columnist

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The men behind the dating app Tinder are totally clueless when it comes to women. This is hardly a headline, considering they’re the face of an app that lets users hide behind a screen to flirt.

But Tinder’s real disgrace is revealed in the lawsuit filed against the company. Once again, we’re reminded that in 2014, we’re surrounded by sexism and we it’s to combat it.

Whitney Wolfe, Tinder’s co-founder and former vice president of marketing, is suing the start-up for a “spree of misogyny and sexual harassment,” among other violations, mostly at the hand of Chief Marketing Officer Justin Mateen, also known as Wolfe’s ex-boyfriend.

Many media outlets and Tinder supporters have given Wolfe the misguided title of the “crazy ex-girlfriend.” TechCrunch, a “respected” tech media outlet, gave a completely one-sided report (Mateen’s side) on the situation without so much as asking for Wolfe to comment.

This wouldn’t be so outrageous if there weren’t horrendous text messages sent by Mateen to Wolfe strewn about the Internet, proving her claims about sexism and racism valid. It’s painfully obvious he is both possessive and aggressive. Anyone who so much as glanced at the messages would be able to reach that conclusion.

“So pathetic. I even imagined a life w u. I actually thought u would be a good mother and wife. I have horrible judgment. He can enjoy my left overs,” Mateen writes to Wolfe in one text message regarding her new relationship.This is a mild script considering the majority of Mateen’s texts use profound amounts of profanity aimed at Wolfe.

To make matters worse, Tinder’s CEO Sean Rad also engaged in inappropriate messages with Wolfe, essentially bullying her into quitting her job. The lack of professionalism at this place is astounding.

The office culture at this tech company hardly seems to be an anomaly in the industry. Months ago, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel faced controversy over leaked emails he wrote that were extremely embarrassing to the company and degrading to women.

The bad news is that these examples are still disgustingly common. However, the good news is that our generation has the power to make a positive change.

We have to come to terms with the fact that the war on sexism is far from over. Some of the most prestigious companies fostering some of the most brilliant minds can’t even adopt basic standards of equality for their employees.

It’s not like the delusional movies we grew up on, where the brainy, geeky guys like Mateen, Rad and Spiegel are charming and win over the girl in the end. The reality is that brains and money don’t necessarily translate into “game.” Just because you create a popular “hook-up app” doesn’t mean you automatically have any insight on how to treat people of the opposite sex. You can’t talk to girls like they’re your property in this country; we’ll sue you for that and win—just ask Wolfe.

The silver lining is that while certain, misguided media outlets encourage repression of this issue, (cough, TechCrunch, cough) media as a whole allows awareness to thrive. With awareness comes support, and with support comes change.

My hope is that with the attention that Wolfe’s lawsuit is receiving, the educated, future workforce will start implementing change.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I like to think Gandhi was including the act of battling sexism in this quote. If not, I’m including it now.

Be the change, and change will follow. After all, as we Aztecs know best, “leadership starts here.”

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