We face judgment every day, especially from people we don’t actually know. Your professor could judge you based on your lack of understanding of “Crime and Punishment,” someone on the bus could disapprove of your choice of clothes, hairstyle or music, or the cashier at the drugstore could judge your purchase of lube and candy canes. Usually, these people are fairly polite human beings who will respectfully keep their criticism to themselves.
However, on beautifulpeople.com, the rules are different. This controversial dating Web site has an application that consists of posting a photo of yourself and letting everyone who is already a member vote for your approval or rejection. Why so strict about who they let in? The site argues that “people want to be with someone they are attracted to.”
Well, they’re pretty damn right about that. It’s almost universal to want to find the person you are looking for without “filtering through unattractive people.” But who is unattractive?
Since dating Web sites originated, smaller sites have decided to be more selective with their focus. If you absolutely must date a Jew, there’s more than one site to find one, as well as sites that center themselves on nearly every other quality from age to weight.
There has been some controversy as to whether such restrictions are fair, especially when the restriction is hard to define, such as “attractiveness” or “beauty.” How can a simple questionnaire determine if you are fit to belong to “an exclusively beautiful community?”
The rating system that BeautifulPeople uses is supposed to allow members to “define their ideal of beauty in a democratic way,” by rating new members on a scale of zero to three. This concept seems incredibly counter-intuitive. Everyone has differences in taste, so it makes no sense that a vote, democratic or otherwise, would be able to come up with a group of people that absolutely everyone is attracted to. True, most of us have the same general ideas of what is attractive, but what if you miss out on meeting the love of your life because a couple hundred people thought his teeth were too uneven? Why risk the Web site filtering out the wrong people?
Of course, there is a simple fix for this problem. They need only let everyone join and then let each individual person evaluate people as they browse. Oh, wait, that’s a regular dating site.
As some of you may have read in the Mustang Daily last week, BeautifulPeople made the news when it revoked the membership of more than 5,000 people who had gained weight over the holiday season. These members responded in outrage as they were once again subjected to a test they had already passed, but now seemed destined to fail with the help of their holiday stuffing. The world audience was torn between tittering at the woes of the newly chunky, lamenting about how much focus is put on appearances and dashing to their computer to try to get into the site themselves.
I applied and became one of the 20 percent of applicants who are accepted. Good for me, I suppose. I signed up for the hell of it, and the site is little more than amusement to me. I’m definitely not interested in dating Brian, who is apparently the only other beautiful person in San Luis Obispo. Also, I could only find about 200 gay people on the site, which gives me even lower odds than just wandering downtown.
Pretty much the only entertainment I get out of it is rating the potential members, and what bittersweet entertainment it is. I tend to be a generous voter, but after my evaluation is finished, I am horrified to see the votes already cast. Nine times out of 10, the vast majority of these votes are red X’s, meaning a zero — a grade of F in the class of beauty. And these are not hideous monsters. I wish I could show you pictures of the rejected — it’s sobering stuff. Normalcy is obviously not accepted at such an “elite” site.
Apparently great numbers of beautiful people will not accept any sort of deformity in their ranks, and they tell the applicants that with their votes. This is why I feel no pity for the 5,000 who were ejected from the site. They willingly joined a site, the membership of which was based solely on appearance.
They rejected others because of flaws and must be willing to practice what they preach. If looks are so important to them, maybe they should take drastic action to “fix” their bodies, as unhealthy as that is. Or possibly consider returning to a world where loosely defined “beauty” is not the sole criteria for falling in love. Isn’t that what this was all about?
You can contact Anthony Rust at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his beautifulpeople.com profile with any questions or comments.