No, Bumble, It’s Not Okay to Discriminate Against Men

by Evil HR Lady on March 4, 2019

Imagine a company sending out a press release to announce that they have a new networking tool that only allows men

Bumble has just done that–except it only allows women. Is there a difference? Nope. When we want to check our biases we can do a simple test created by Kristen Pressner, in her viral TedX talk: Flip it to test it.

Is it okay to have a men-only business networking app? Of course not. Then it’s not okay to have a women-only app, but that’s exactly what Buzz Bizz has done. CNBC reports that Buzz CEO Whitney Wolf Herd said:

“Representation is critically important for women, especially in traditionally male-dominated industries. We’re helping women connect with other women to show them what’s possible and give them resources as they build their careers.”

That sounds warm and fuzzy, and helpful to women, but you need to be really careful with networking apps. Why? Because this makes it easy for recruiters to exclude men from their searches.

To keep reading, click here: No, Bumble, It’s Not Okay to Discriminate Against Men

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

grannybunny March 4, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Affirmative action programs that favor previously-disfavored groups are legal.

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MariaRose March 4, 2019 at 2:46 pm

First of the company that started this app is Buzz which is notorious for making things like this right by mere statements because they are the elite political correct, which explains how the wording got passed their attorney. This generation group likes to push the buttons using how they perceive words as the basis.

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Kathy March 4, 2019 at 3:36 pm

I would have thought that programs to help women would boost them toward equality with men. But when I’ve seen such programs in action it seems like the backlash from men, who see women getting a special privilege that they do not, make matters worse instead of better.

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Chris Hogg March 4, 2019 at 5:24 pm

I reply to “rare cases in which gender is a bona fide occupational qualification–like an actress for a particular role.”

Evil, this is America and it’s 2019 (not the 1990s), and where do you get off suggesting that there is ever a bona fide gender requirement? We’re all equal now, there is no gender / sex / age / race / or any other differences in anything, and if I as a 77-year-old man want a role in a play as a 5-year-old girl who are you to deny me?

Ths gender talk (what is gender anyway but what I decide it is, for me, for today?) has outlived its usefullness (if it ever really had any) and society has moved on.

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Goober March 4, 2019 at 7:55 pm

My father once had a woman testify in court that she had seen him (in his 50s, at the time) disguised as a 5 year old neighbor girl. So you may not be as ridiculous as you think.

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Semi-evil Tech Manager March 5, 2019 at 8:42 pm

Gender fluidity? How about race fluidity? It’s only fair, right? This pigeon-holing into a particular identity is so 5 years ago.

“Today, I feel and identify as a black man”.

Let’s see how far that goes.

Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out.

I probably just fed the troll. Darn.

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KD March 7, 2019 at 12:58 am
KD March 7, 2019 at 12:58 am

I suspect that she isn’t sharing her personal opinion about whether gender requirements are reasonable for certain jobs – she’s referring to a legal exception to Title VII that that comes up quite a bit in employment law called “bona fide occupational qualifications.” I’ll add a link with more information in a second comment if I can.

An example of workplaces where this has historically been upheld are women’s prisons: men have been prohibited from working in certain guard positions in men’s prisons because same-sex guards are considered necessary for the “essence” of the guard position.

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Rose Lee March 4, 2019 at 8:28 pm

But using the “flip it to test it” method assumes that women and men are by and large, systematically considered equal. This is not true. If it was, we would see numbers closer to 50/50 when it came to male and female CEO’s or even people in manager and director positions. Equality would mean we had already closed the gender wage gap. Equality would mean that women were protected from workplace harassment. None of this is – by and large in our country, in an institutional way – true. (This is something I read about a lot, both facts & figures, and women’s testimonials. If it surprises you, start Googling.)

Because men are still treated as the default and women are still trying to be heard and taken seriously in the workplace, I think anything that helps women network and helps their career is a great idea. It’s designed to give women a boost so that they can get UP to men’s level. With that context, I can’t be angry about this tool.

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Lee Rose March 5, 2019 at 7:04 pm

I am on the opposite side of this issue. My company actively promotes/pushes every special interest group except the demographic that I was born into. I have not been able to get a promotion or anything else for 10 years even though I am far more qualified than people who do move up…all in the name of equality. If someone from my demographic would say anything, their continued employment would be in serious jeopardy.

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KD March 7, 2019 at 1:00 am

> I have not been able to get a promotion or anything else for 10 years even though I am far more qualified

It’s worth noting that many people who are members of protected classes have experienced exactly this for decades. This is what affirmative action programs are designed to address. (Although, I wouldn’t identify what’s being described in the post as AA.)

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Anon March 8, 2019 at 4:02 pm

It’s worth pointing out that, not knowing Lee Rose’s actual name, position or company, his claim should of course be treated with a little bit of a grain of salt, but by the same token so should KD’s assertion that “many people who are members of protected classes have experienced exactly this for decades.” What people report about their own personal experiences is by definition subjective information. When Rose Lee asserts that “men are still treated as the default… in the workplace,” what in concrete terms does this mean?

And even when there is clear *cultural* discrimination, the subject’s sense of injustice may not quite reflect the actual situation. For example, I once was turned down for a qualitative marketing position with the interviewer explaining that while my profile and talents were interesting, they felt that my aesthetic sense was more informed by traditional values and they needed someone who would be a little more directly in touch with contemporary culture. Does the fact of being a practiing Catholic from a conservative rural milieu (the mindset of which still impacts me) inform such “traditional values” and tastes? I’m sure it does. From that I suppose I could claim “disparate impact” against conservative Catholics, but to what effect? Can I say I was discriminated against SIMPLY because I happen to be Catholic and conservative? Suppose a black woman who insists on speaking in “ebonics” is turned down for a sales position because the employer wants someone who speaks a more “standard” form of American English. Can she say she was discriminated against SIMPLY because she happens to be black?

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KD March 13, 2019 at 6:18 pm

Apologies for the delayed response! Must have forgotten to check the “notify me” box.

I think your points are excellent, and of course, it is almost worth considering the lived experience of people in situations and whether those perceptions line up with the “actual situation,” as you put it.

However, there is a long history of research (for example, check out I/O psych’s contribution to the discrimination and employee selection literature) that demonstrates that yes, in aggregate, people do experience systematic discrimination in employee selection (for jobs at all and for opportunities for training or promotion) as a function of belonging in protected classes. And affirmative action programs, when correctly implemented, can be an effective tool for addressing this and reaching something closer to parity.

I can see why my choice of the word “experience” was perhaps not the best. If I were to re-word, I’d probably say, “It’s worth noting… have been discriminated against in employee selection for decades.”

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Czar March 11, 2019 at 4:39 am

There’s the lopsided family courts figures with regards to alimony , maintenance and custody. Nobody seems to care. Western women use the examples of the poor countries’ women sufferings to correlate with their supposed discrimination when they are having the best of both worlds now. Men are left with the responsibilities and women with positive discrimination when young girls are doing better than young boys. Women have choices men don’t. Politicians favour women who have the greater voting power. Liberals favour women. Men in general are being judged by the bad behaviour of a few men while women are all angels.

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