So here’s a fun fact: I’m on a dating site called OKCupid. You may have heard of it. It’s not the only dating site I’ve ever tried, just the current one I’m trying out. I like it better than any other so far as it is nice and free and I don’t get 20 messages a day from seedy fellas asking me for sexytimes. The site feels quite legit. I like. Or at least I did…
I’ve only been on the site for a couple of weeks; I’ve logged all of four times and generally ignore their spam emails. But one caught my eye…
Uhm…what the hell is this fuckery?
Did I actually just read that?
On a site of 30 million users, I am one of the most attractive?
Please. Not to appear self-depricating, but bollocks to that; I Googled that shit.
As it turns out, OKCupid likes to flatter you. The site divides its users into two groups: the hotties and the notties. Everyone starts off as “not hot” until one day you are deemed to be “hot” based on clicks and algorithms and what have you. And this is all in the name of helping you find your future partner.
“Users on a dating site won’t interact with each other unless they feel good about themselves. And the easiest way for OkCupid to make you feel confident is by flattering you. The infamous “You are hot” email is the most blatant form of obsequiousness that the site engages in.“
That’s fair. Giving your userbase a little bit of a boost is not a terrible thing to do, even if some may find it patronising.
But you know what I’m not ok with? Elistism.
It’s the whole “we’ll recommend more attractive people to you and now you’ll be more visible to other attractive people” bullshit that really put me in an absolute fit of rage. Worse than when Anissa sent me this horrible, hate-filled Tumblr post about Honey Boo Boo*, which is the kind of thing I see as one of the worst acts of human indecency, short of full-on homocide.
But back to the point, OKCupid can shove its attractiveness algorithms up its arse. It’s certainly not the only site that does this, but it’s the one that invoked my infamous angry face, so they are going to get the brunt of the wrath.
I am not okay with this. I am not okay with a dating service that will attempt to “hide my profile” from a potential date because a computer believes I am physically “out of their league”. Is that really how your company makes descisions? Because enough men have “liked” me, you now deem me eligible to see and be seen by more of these:
I could write pages about this about this but I don’t have to. My readership consists of very intelligent people who I’m sure understand my feelings towards this. And at the end of the day it’s not the dating site that pissed me off. It was because the dating site is a reflection of society. A society I am more and more regularly wishing I really wasn’t part of.
Somewhere along the timeline of humanity, it was decided that physical attractiveness is incredibly important. Of course most decent people strongly disagree with this ridiculousness, but as anyone who lives in a media-centric community will know, fighting these standards remains to this day an uphill struggle. No one is exempt from the painful insecurities directly caused by society’s perfection-oriented mind-fuckery and it’s a huge reason why people have trouble meeting people in the first place.
We have been repeatedly informed that our perfectly normal human bodies are not worthy, are not good enough. Insecurities form, deepen over time, until we’re telling ourselves no one will want us because we don’t look right. And then we are in danger of judging others by the same ridiculous standards that cause us so much heartache! I cannot even begin to express my regret over wasting so many years in my youth not dating many people because I thought I didn’t deserve to find someone special. A lot of that relates to issues that run deeper than shallow body issues, but it’s still a problem that shouldn’t even be happening! NOTE THE BOLD TYPEFACE TO EXPRESS HOW FUCKING WRONG THIS IS. Even now, it’s still so difficult to put myself out there, and so many people I know face the exact same problem. So what do a lot of us do? We turn to online dating – somewhere specially made to find nice people like yourself who want to go out. Sure you have to spend some time weeking out the dicks (both literal and figurative) but there are a significant number of online dating successes.
And what ends up happening? That very same site you turn to in order to escape the shallow bane of society actually engages in the same beauty-centric bullshit that causes people so much so pain.
*side note: go read Anissa’s Honey Boo Boo blog post. It’s swell.