Conduct a brief online search and you’ll quickly discover multiple dating sites dedicated to dating as a curvy woman. Why the singling out? Is online dating really so body fascist? Is it a case of positive discrimination, or simply a self-perception/self-esteem issue? Is it really tougher to date online if you’re a woman with curves?
Is it tougher online dating as a curvy woman?
Online dating is an exercise in personal branding; you succeed by selling yourself as an attractive commodity. The notion that a woman with curves is undesirable is ridiculous to me; but when ‘curvy’ is seen as a popular cultural euphemism for ‘fat’, it’s true definition loses value. Without the person physically in front of you, all you’re working from are pre-conceived opinions of desirable traits based on subjective associations with limited search criteria. So, when the choice of word could be the difference between someone and no one viewing your profile, what should you plump for when the options are so restricted?
Women believe men prefer thin women; consequently they approximate descriptions, perpetuating a vicious cycle. But with so little subtlety in the body type descriptors, as a curvy (but not overweight) woman, should I opt for the non-specific and safe ‘average’? I play sport and work out; should I choose ‘athletic’? It’s possible to be both petite and curvy. But, when forced to pick, which would receive more interest? Am I willing to mislead and disappoint potential dates? And do I really want to date someone fixated on body type, as opposed to a man who has responded favourably to my profile/personality?
Ultimately, is it more important to show up in searches and give myself a fighting chance? By doing so I’m giving others the opportunity to at least view my picture and profile before discounting me. We play it safe with our search preferences, defining only those within subjective classifications as worthy of consideration (without knowledge of the multifaceted person behind that descriptor). Who are these imperfect descriptors helping/protecting? Do they make finding the ‘perfect’ match easier, or do they limit our options, aid discrimination and further ostracise the marginalized? There shouldn’t be sites exclusively dedicated to one specific body type, but, inherently, online dating is a superficial medium, biased towards all minority groups and genders (not just curvy women).
It’s tough out there – but there’s a lid for every pot. My advice: don’t take it personally, and set an example by expanding your search criteria. Shop around, too: use a variety of sites. Regardless of your size, gender or racial group, don’t look at how many views your profile has received, it only fuels feelings of inadequacy (and we all have those). Ladies, men are visual creatures, so help them out with a descriptive profile and an accurate, flattering photo. Accept the rules of the system and work with them by marketing yourself in the most positive, confident way possible. Your curves are an asset. Sell, sell, sell, baby!