The League isn’t for elitists. Ignore the fact that the dating app hosts a party for white people on Montauk, uses LinkedIn to filter out your inferiors, and can only be joined with a digital “ticket.” CEO Amanda Bradford says that doesn’t make her elitist, just “alpha.” There’s another word for that, Amanda!

Never mind that The League, with its over $2 million in VC funding, used a photo of a bunch of people in a Depression-era breadline in a blog post about its own waiting list—

—right above an ad for a “preview party” at New York’s very expensive Jane Hotel. Forget all of that! You’ve got it all wrong. The League isn’t about dating elitism, it’s about being with people who are better than most other people. Just listen to Amanda, who posted her self-apologia on LinkedIn, The Platform of The People:

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’.

Never mind that Bradford’s major was actually Information Systems, which is part of CMU’s school of humanities and social sciences. Never mind that caring and talking about one’s “pedigree” and then going to business school are two pastimes of the elite. Bradford is now reframing the purpose of The League as equality, not exclusion:

The League’s heavily scrutinized admissions-based model is our attempt to create a founding community of high-achieving, diverse, and influential members that will serve as trailblazers to help change the conventional gender views still prevalent in our society. Yes, we are selective - we believe in the research that correlates education and professional achievement with ambition, and weigh these data heavily in our screening algorithms. Though it’s currently a slow and far from a perfect admissions process, If we open the gates too wide and too fast, we risk becoming like every other dating app out there where the men judge women on their looks and the women struggle to find men who value their intelligence and support their ambition.

The argument here is that affluent people are less shallow than their poorer, dumber underlings. The truth of course is that everyone who uses online dating, app-based or otherwise, is terrible, desperate, and stupid—it is the great equalizer. The difference is that most CEOs don’t write a long, rambling essay on LinkedIn explaining it away as their alpha status (which seems sort of insecure for an alpha, to be honest). Bradford can use as many coded class indicators as she likes (“achievement” “success” “accomplished” “educated”), and deny that her app targets the Ivy League (sample copy from The League’s website: “You’ll never have to wonder if that Harvard hottie is too good to be true on The League.”). She can call herself whatever she wants, but it doesn’t change what she is: a white elitist, not a gender champion.

“I guess if you have to choose between superficial and elitist,” she told TechCrunch last year, “I choose elitist.” To Forbes, Bradford said “If you just let everybody in, it’s another dating app.” And if you let everybody in to the country club, it’s just another fucking tennis court. When Bloomberg Business is calling you an elitist, you just might be one.

Selectivity is usually just a euphemism for being a prick or a bigot and not wanting to talk about it. Amanda Bradford isn’t a racist (although her app is the only one I’m aware of that allows you to filter out non-whites), but she seems tired of being called an elitist prick. A great way to avoid that? Don’t make The League.

Photo not from the Great Depression: Travis W. Keyes


Contact the author at biddle@gawker.com.
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