Published on The Daily Femme – Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Contributed by Annamarya
Here are two facts to start your day:
- There is an international dating website dedicated to “beautiful people” named–you guessed it–BeautifulPeople.com. In order to gain acceptance and access, photos submitted to BeautifulPeople.com by applicants are voted on by the site’s 700,000 members.
- It was recently hacked, which led to 30,000 “ugly” people being granted memberships because of a Shrek virus.
According to the Huffington Post, BeautifulPeople.com’s Managing Director Greg Hodge claims the company became suspicious when tens of thousands of new members, which included nearly 12,000 Americans, were accepted in over a month and a half’s time. And why was such a swelling of accepted profiles so suspicious? Because, says Hodge, most of them “were no oil painting.” So, to rectify “the situation,” they shut down the “ugly” profiles and launched a hotline to handle backlash and hurt feelings. One rejected member, 32-year-old Kate from Los Angeles, said that after her time in making friends and receiving some compliments, she received an email reading “Sorry to inform you, you’re not beautiful enough” with the hotline number available. And when she called the hotline, she was given tips on rejoining that included sexing up her photos. Yep, sexing up her photos.
In a sick way, I understand Hodge’s argument for the site: Like Mensa and the national football league (two organizations he chose to point to), BeautifulPeople.com is exclusive to one set of people, and there is an acceptance process for this set of people to ensure exclusivity. But here’s the major difference between the genius-exclusive Mensa and BeautifulPeople.com: Mensa membership is based solely on a high IQ and aims to be a non-political group inclusive of all races, genders, and religions. It’s not based on shallow principles, such as physical attractiveness and a high income, that, according to Hodge, make the perfect BeautifulPeople.com member. I’m not judging anyone for wanting to only date loaded “attractive” people but creating a dating site dedicated specifically to pretty people with cash who get to chose other pretty people with cash as members opens the doors for racial and cultural discrimination. While the picture above may indicate otherwise, the website’s landing page includes one black women and one Asian women among the many subjectively pretty white people. If we were to review the accepted profiles, will it show a similar disproportional demographic? And if we were to review the rejected profiles, will it be an even mix of cultures and races or will the rejections reflect the twisted and bigoted mainstream standard of beauty, which means including little to no diversity?
Who is the site really exclusive to?