Amanda Bradford, the "single" (her pun) founder of SF-based members-only dating app 'The League,' has fired back at critics — there have been many, including, to some degree SFist — who pegged her and her business as 'elitist.'
Her pointed essay, titled "I’m Not An Elitist, I’m Just An Alpha Female" was fittingly posted to Linkedin — a site from which the League culls the profession and pedigree of a potential partner. In it, Bradford writes that, "[the] media has slammed The League for our ‘exclusive’ model and labeled us an elitist app for trust fund kids and ivy league grads." But Bradford has something different in mind: Namely, fostering equal partnerships among her matches, the vast majority of which are male-female.
This is not a "gold-digger" proposition, she explains (and which some of us certainly suspected). Quite the opposite! "The couples that we create," she writes, "even if small in absolute numbers right now, ideally will go on to successfully demonstrate that dual-career relationships are not only possible, they are preferable."
Gawker (Sam Biddle, specifically) picked up on the piece, twisting the headline into "Dating App CEO: I'm Not an Elitist, Just an Asshole." I might amend that to 'I'm Not an Elitist, Just a Boss.' From the essay:
The women in The League have consciously prioritized their education and career trajectory.... These are high-achieving women that are likely to continue working post marriage and post children (if they choose to have them)....The men they (we) want to be matched up with on The League are educated, ambitious, accomplished and confident enough in themselves to desire a female partner that has the drive and intellect to reach high levels of professional success, even if it eclipses his own.
Bradford also shared a bit of her personal story — an important move in a world where brand story is everything. And yes, in what she could probably pitch as a rom-com, Bradford confides that she "was an over-educated, career-obsessed wanna-be tech executive with little interest in playing the 'traditional' doting girlfriend."
That extended to her vision of a partner: "[To] be fair, I qualified out guys that didn’t share my same drive to achieve, level of intellect, or desire to be in a relationship where our careers and social lives were of equal importance."
When I got an academic scholarship to Carnegie Mellon to study computer science, I never thought twice about how education and career would affect my dating life. I worked incredibly hard to graduate early and build my resume, network, and pedigree working in all-male teams at name-brand tech companies. After finishing it all off with an MBA, I started to realize that with every promotion or degree I collected, I embodied more and more the definition of ‘alpha female’. (The fact that women who are able to compete successfully with men in the workplace warrants us a special label is ludicrous to me, but I embraced it because it meant I was succeeding).
Though I'm personally not into the alpha/beta designation for men or women, Bradford's point stands, and the label she's embracing wasn't her own in the first place. "If as a founder," she concludes, "I can point to even a small increase in the number of equal partnerships that result from the curated community we’re building, then I’m okay being labeled an elitist, or whatever anyone wants to call me."
I don't want to call her anything... I just want to call her.