Lynne Murray says:
SJ at I, Asshole pointed out this link. It’s a news story about a dating service “for beautiful people only” that recently purged its site of 5,000 or more people who had posted pictures of themselves looking unacceptably fat. Presumably candid holiday shots. The Telegraph article quotes:
Robert Hintze, founder of BeautifulPeople.com, said: ”As a business, we mourn the loss of any member, but the fact remains that our members demand the high standard of beauty be upheld.
”Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which BeautifulPeople.com was founded.”
According to the site, managers have been kind in breaking the news to former members. Each is said to have received an email encouraging them to re-apply when they are back to looking their best. They have also been sent details of recommended boot camps.
Oh, goody, boot camps! Surely any pain is worth enduring just to be able to meet and who knows, maybe date, those wonderful people who have such full lives that they are able to spare the time to go on a fat witch hunt and prune the undesirables from their ranks.
All this self-righteous intolerance reminded me of the social underpinnings of Frannie Zellman’s Fatland, a novel in which fat people who do not meet mandatory legal guidelines are incarcerated in “Pro-Health Re-education Program” prisons. In, Fatland, irate fat people flee hatred and discrimination to establish a new country.
But what are these 5,000 excluded people really missing over at Beautiful People?
Here’s how the landing page describes their site:
Do looks matter to you, when it comes to selecting a partner? Do you want to guarantee your dates will always be beautiful? No more filtering through unattractive people on mainstream sites. Meet beautiful people locally and from around the world – now.
Attend exclusive events and private parties
Did I miss something, or does this sound like an escort service come on? I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that these are all (or mostly) amateurs looking for love in a particular kind of package.
Lovable? Well, let’s see–vicious, judgmental, arrogant and self-centered, the kind of person guaranteed to make you miserable. These beautiful bozos are living proof of the “beauty is skin deep” theory
Coincidentally, I read this news story just after reading an essay that somehow seemed oddly appropriate, “Fat Women as “Easy Targets: Achieving Masculinity through Hogging” by Ariane Prohaska and Jeannine Gailey, in The Fat Studies Reader.
“Hogging” is a practice in which men prey on women they deem fat or unattractive to satisfy sexual desires or compete with their peers. Hoggers, a self-imposed label, are groups of men who hang out at bars or parties and try to pick up fat women for sex or make bets with their friends about who can pick up the fattest or most unattractive woman.
Am I the only person who sees the same hatred, just expressed in a slightly different way?
Excluding people while looking for online dating matches is not necessarily a bad thing. Fat people are routinely told, right in the profiles of many online daters, not to bother communicating. When I engaged in online dating years ago, I would always search for ‘BBW” or “fat” in hopes of finding a fat admirer. (This happened once or twice.) But mainly the profiles that would pop up after the search would be men specifying “NO BBWs or fat women” so that no one fitting those descriptions would send them a message. I was just as glad to know because some of these people seemed as if they might be worth emailing and I was glad to know in advance not to waste my time.
Somewhere out there I am sure there are “Aryan Match dot com” dating sites that purge would-be daters who post candid Christmas pictures showing them linking arms with people of color. And no, I did not look for such sites, I would bet money that they exist but I wouldn’t want to see them or give them even one mouse click of web traffic.
So what do I think about the people so ignominiously kicked off the “I’m Beautiful and You’re Not” dating site? It’s a little hard for me to understand why someone would join such a site to begin with, so it’s hard to speculate on what they’ve lost by getting kicked off.
I’ll take out my novelist’s crystal ball–i.e., I’ll extrapolate from real life what I think might be happening. My theory is that many of the people who got kicked off joined the site during a post-diet honeymoon phase, in the flush of weight-loss triumph. “Now I can sit at the cool kids’ table and date beautiful people, because I am one of them.”
I’ve always thought dieting should not have simple Before and After pictures. There should be a truth in advertising requirement to post: Before Diet, One Year After Diet, Two Years After Diet, and Five Years After Diet (same as “Before Diet” but older).
So in my imaginary Beautiful People reject scenario, the successful dieter begins to regain weight (as you probably recall, the odds are 98% in favor of this happening within five years). But our newly beautiful person hasn’t yet realized how fragile their Beautiful People status is and so does not “get” what disgust will be kicked up by posting a fun candid picture to share with all those beautiful new friends.
Let me say it directly to the person who experienced it, who will probably never read this, but it’s worth a try:
“Those are not really your friends, my dear. They are there to criticize you, maybe to compete with you, or maybe just out of sheer bitchery, they get you kicked out.”
The question is, what to do about it. Maybe you’ll reframe this as “a wake up call” and desperately diet in an effort to once again reach the heights of shallowness.
Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll see exactly the unattractive nastiness hiding under those so-called beautiful exteriors and look for some friends and possible mates who value other people by the content of their character rather than the number on a tape measure or scale.
If the people who got kicked off this site were really looking for love, I think they’d have about the same chance of finding it with the abusive louts in that hogging gang as with that other group of self-centered, proud-to-be-weight-bigots who describe themselves as “beautiful.”
Imagine the amount of pain such a person could inflict on you if you accidentally got married during the lower weight dips in the diet yo-yo cycle. How wonderful to have them right in your own living space where they could attack you in person for any pound gained thereafter!
Oh, and by the way, beautiful people–yeah, I mean you–you’re getting older every day. Age-phobia exists as well as fatphobia. Enjoy.