No place for "fatties" among the Beautiful People

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Winter weight gain – who cares?, apparently. The international dating website has this week expelled 5,000 members for piling on the pounds over Christmas.

Recent estimates suggest that most people gain just five pounds over the holidays – and you might think that’s hardly a noticeable amount. But the networking site, which calls itself an “exclusively beautiful community”, took action after members posted recent photos suggesting they’d ‘let themselves go’.

Complaints by members demanding that something be done meant that many accounts were reviewed and voted on – with only a few hundred people making it through the New Year selection process.

1,520 of the members kicked out were from the US and 832 were from the UK. In third place was Canada. Poland, Germany, Italy, France, Denmark, Turkey and Russia completed the top ten of ‘shamed’ countries.

“Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which was founded,” founder Robert Hintze charmingly pointed out.

Note the use of the word ‘roam’. It’s almost as if he’s referring to a herd of unpleasant animals as opposed to people who have – shock - behaved like us mere mortals and said ‘yes’ to a second serving of roast potatoes. Sadly this is nothing new. When BeautifulPeople completed its worldwide launch last October, Hintze declared:

“Other sites are jungles of hippos and wart hogs. We are a game reserve of leopards and gazelles.”

Equally as complimentary, managing director Greg Hodge claimed that standards on the site falling around Christmas is a regular occurrence:

"Every year we see that some of our members from western cultures eat and drink to excess over the holidays and clearly their looks suffer."

He pointed out that the US probably fared worst of all due to its enthusiastic celebration of Thanksgiving, meaning that the overindulgence started several weeks earlier than in other countries.

The site sent details of fitness centres and bootcamps to the so-called “festive fatties”, encouraging them to reapply for membership once they’d managed to shed a few pounds.

BeautifulPeople claims to be founded on the “simple principle” that people want a partner who is attractive, “giving the power back to the members to define their ideal of beauty in a democratic way” and therefore consisting only of members who fit society’s ideal of beauty. Prospective members’ pictures receive votes from the opposite sex over a 48-hour period, with the number of positive votes determining whether or not they will be granted full membership.

Many have joked about the controversial site, which has already made headlines by accusing British people of being among the ‘ugliest in the world’. Only a month after its launch, it claimed to have refused membership to 1.8 million people from 190 countries.

But with its promises of exclusive parties, business opportunities and the chance to be scouted by modelling agencies and production companies BeautifulPeople promotes the idea that it’s the thin and the conventionally attractive who get ahead in life. That they’re the people who matter. And that those who are ‘too ugly to sign up’ aren’t deserving of such a fabulous lifestyle – or happiness. Prejudice related to weight and looks is widespread enough and we certainly don't need dating websites to reinforce this.

Fair enough, the majority of us would admit that physical attraction is a factor when looking for a partner, but the fact members were so quick to protest over the possibility of a couple of extra pounds is ridiculous, not to mention shallow. BeautifulPeople has allegedly facilitated 10,000 serious relationships and marriages. Should these relationships last, I hope these couples are going to be able to cope with the effects getting older has on the body. If a few unflattering photos are cause for such outrage, I’m not so sure.

This piece was originally featured on BitchBuzz. Image via Sky News.

1 comment:

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