In July of 2009, I penned a column focusing on Ashley Madison – an online dating site geared towards those already in a committed relationship, but looking for something more. Their motto? “Life is short, have an affair.” Now there’s Beautiful People.
The existence of such a site surprised me at the time – as did its popularity with millions of everyday citizens paying for the ability to cheat on their significant others.
And while I wanted to believe that Ashley Madison was in fact the most extreme and bizarre online dating site I’d come across, I recently stumbled upon a new, and slightly more disturbing entry to the fray.
The site is BeautifulPeople.com. While the name and its slogan, “Where beautiful relationships begin,” might seem innocent at first, its circumstances for finding a truly loving relationship are deplorable.
Taken from their website, “To become a member, applicants are required to be voted in by existing members of the opposite sex. Members rate all new applicants over a 48-hour period based on whether or not they find the applicant “beautiful”. Beautiful People does not define beauty, it simply gives an accurate representation of what society’s ideal of beauty is. Beautiful People is the largest network of attractive people in the world.”
To me the definition of beauty has always been and will always be subjective. To claim that this site possesses “the largest network of attractive people in the world” is only applicable to those who agree with the meaning of beauty as expressed by its members.
They claim “the concept and site was founded on one very simple principle of human nature – the fact that people want to be with someone they are attracted to.” It might surprise you, but I couldn’t agree more with that statement. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that my wife’s beauty was one of the first things that attracted me to her, however it wasn’t the foundation by which our relationship was established and further propagated.
But here’s where the story takes a dramatic and truly alarming turn. Recently, the site dropped 5,000 of its members, who in their online photos, appeared to have gained weight over the holiday season. Robert Hintze, the founder of BeautifulPeople.com had this to say about the dismissals: “Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model.”
I wonder what it does to a person’s self-esteem to be one of the 5,000 individuals recently dropped from this site, or the millions of hopefuls who aren’t deemed beautiful enough for membership? How thoughtful though that the site offers visitors the following option: “Too ugly to sign up? Click here to browse BeautifulPeople.com as a guest.”
Society has yet to realize that there’s a big difference between true beauty and superficiality. I mean no offense to anyone who might be a member of BeautifulPeople.com – and I’m glad they were considered beautiful enough for membership, but physical attraction is fleeting and only one part of the very complex equation of a relationship.
In truth, I feel sorry for the members of this site, who in my opinion are limiting themselves from discovering and interacting with millions of amazing individuals who simply don’t measure up to their ideals of beauty. It’s a shame since many of them are probably some of the most beautiful people in the world.
For those individuals who long for acceptance on such a site as Beautiful People, know that the basis of one’s character is never defined by appearance. And while there’s no arguing that “beauty” will always play a role in the relationships we seek, it is truly indefinable and means different things to many different people.
Always remember, “You don’t love someone because they are beautiful, but they are beautiful because you love them.” Anonymous