OkCupid.com, an online dating website, has sparked controversy by adding a filter for users to find prospects by “body type,” a feature that can leave fat prospects hidden.
The filter includes 10 different body types, from thin and average to “a little extra,” “full figured,” “overweight” and even “used up.”
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Users must pay a monthly fee to access the feature, from $4.95 to $10 a month, depending on their location and how often they use the site, and other demographic factors, according to TODAY.com.
OkCupid’s founder Sam Yagan said the website has offered the screening tool for several months but only recently began to make it more prominent on its site.
“The truth about humanity that maybe people don’t want to admit is that an important part of physical and sexual attraction is superficial,” Yagan told TODAY.com. “If you ask someone, ‘Why did you get married?’ You’ll hear, ‘Oh, he makes me laugh’ and all that stuff. And that’s all true. I’m sure he does make you laugh. You also think he’s hot.”
“Is it PC to say out loud that people are attracted to superficial things? I guess it’s not, but it is the truth,” he added.
OkCupid, which has been around for the past nine years, originally launched under a different name by a group of Harvard students. It has claimed more than 3 million users, according to the New York Post.
OkCupid is not the first dating website to blatantly screen potential mates based on appearance. The website DarwinDating describes itself as created “exclusively for beautiful, desirable people. Our strict rules and natural selection process ensures all our members have winning looks." Those rules ban, among other things, "saggy boobs," sweat patches, nerdy glasses and cackly laughs, according to TODAY.com.
Critics say the body-type filter is a form of online discrimination.
“How you self-identify on the site, and how you’re going to be perceived on your date by your date, is going to be a point of potential insecurity,” one OkCupid user, Alana Massey, 28, told ABC News.
Users can avoid being type-cast by leaving the “body-type” field blank.
OkCupid allows users to filter dates based whether people smoke, have pets, want children, or by their religion. Most of those filters are available for free.
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