Plus size model and 2008 winner of “America’s Next Top Model” Whitney Thompson says she had too many problems dating online. When she told guys she was a plus size model, they were turned off by what they imagined her size to be and didn’t want to date her. When she said she was a model, they’d be disappointed she wasn’t thinner when they saw her in person. Her solution? A new online dating website she started called “The Big and the Beautiful,” which is geared towards plus size women and the men that want to date them. Call me skeptical.
Challenges of Online Dating for the Larger Girl. I did a lot of online dating before I met my husband Ted on Match.com. I can see Whitney’s point about the challenges of dating online. I remember clicking through profile after profile and becoming frustrated that men didn’t click off “curvy” or “a few extra pounds” as types of women they’d be willing to date. Their loss, I’d grumble, as I continued to scroll and click. You also post pictures which put a face to the profile. I had several (recent) pictures posted (face and body). Still, I had a few guys who asked me for even more (full body shots, in particular). I got the impression they wanted a few more “views” of me before deciding whether my size was palatable to them. I decided that if they were that superficial, I couldn’t be bothered. There are great men out there, who sometimes seem well hidden. You just have to be willing to bide your time and not take any crap. I don’t know what types of pictures Whitney posted when she was online. If you look at any of her pictures, she’s gorgeous. On the flip side, I met less-than-honest guys who looked nothing like their own pictures. It’s all part of the fun and excitement of online dating.
Should Plus Size Women Be Hiding Out in Cyberspace? But Whitney’s website ignores the much larger issue that there are guys out there who are interested in the woman herself, and don’t limit themselves to women of a certain body type. Which is a lot healthier, and the type of guy we should be looking for. Body type isn’t and shouldn’t be their first and foremost criteria. Love and compatibility is a lot more complex than that. Which should be obvious. I don’t think you are going to find those types of less rigid men joining The Big and Beautiful. The website objectifies women, implying that their most important “date-ability” factor is their body shape and size. In a way her website is saying to come and hide out on it, because you aren’t going to get anywhere on the mainstream dating sites. I personally would resent being marginalized in such an insular community. By participating on such sites, we are condoning bad behavior.
A Chubby Chasers’ Playground? I know Whitney has done other things to promote positive women’s body images and health. But here I think she gets it wrong. You are going to get men on this website who either: a) fetishize larger women; or b) think the women have low self esteem and fewer prospects—thus, making them easier “marks.” Continue reading