First, what exactly is cyberflashing? Well, it’s what you probably think it is! The digital version of a dirty old man in a raincoat…showing his genitals to an unwilling spectator.
Those unwilling spectators, at least online, are overwhelmingly young females and Bumble thinks it’s time to stop allowing it to happen.
The dating app is launching a campaign called #DigitalFlashingIsFlashing and they want the act of showing genitalia to those who haven’t agreed to it, to be criminalised.
About time too. Research suggests that a massive 41% of women aged between 18 and 36 have been victim to non-consensual photos of male genitalia in the last year alone.
Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble is going in strong on this and since she’s already succeeded in criminalising this behaviour in Texas, there’s every reason to think she’ll succeed in the UK.
After all, she’s not a woman to take lightly. She was recently named as the youngest ever self-made female billionaire and she didn’t reach that milestone by taking nonsense from people!
Wolfe Herd, who is also pushing the changes in California and New York, made it clear in a statement that this is serious and she’s doing everything in her power to make change.
“Cyberflashing is a relentless, everyday form of harassment that causes victims, predominantly women, to feel distressed, violated, and vulnerable on the internet as a whole. It’s shocking that in this day and age we don’t have laws that hold people to account for this,” she said. “This issue is bigger than just one company, and we cannot do this alone. We need governments to take action to criminalise cyberflashing and enforce what is already a real-world law in the online world.”
The #DigitalFlashingIsFlashing campaign is planning to call on the UK government next and wants them to recognize that there’s a real need for a new law to criminalize the sending of non-consensual explicit images.
It’s time for change and if anyone knows that, it’s Whitney Wolfe Herd. She was the victim of gendered harassment during her time at Tinder and she didn’t take that lying down either.
She planned to sue fellow co founders Sean Rad and her ex-partner, Justin Mateen for their despicable treatment of her during Tinder’s formative years.
Wolfe Herd was at time, responsible for marketing at Tinder and when her relationship with Mateen ended, he took it badly and amongst other things, called her a “whore” at a work event.
He also sent her abusive messages.
Rad, the then CEO of Tinder was remarkably laisser-faire about the whole thing and offered Wolfe Herd no support, instead calling her “dramatic” for daring to get upset about the treatment she’d received.
Rad later lost his position as CEO but not before Wolfe Herd’s case was settled out of court.
He never really managed to repair his reputation and interviews like this one certainly didn’t help!
It’s obviously time to change the laws surrounding unsolicited images and if anyone’s got the power to make it happen, it’s Whitney Wolfe Herd.