It’s no secret that people want to date people they find attractive. That’s why online dating profiles come with photos. But when the photos fail, OKCupid users can now filter potential matches by their body types — from descriptions like “jacked” to “used up” — for a fee ranging from $4.95 to $10.
The body type description has long been part of OKCupid, with users assigning themselves a particular type from a list of available descriptions. But choosing to only view body types you might like is somewhat new, and is rubbing some users the wrong way, reports Mashable: Is it discrimination? Or at the very least, could it simply limit your matches, leaving a potential great choice in the lurch?
OKCupid sees it simply as added value for paying users to narrow the dating field down to those they find physically attractive, which is the way it often works in real life interactions as well.
“If you were at a bar deciding who you wanted to talk to, of course physical appearance is something you take into account,” OKCupid co-founder Sam Yagan tells ABC News.
But why charge for that ability, instead of just letting users see with their eyeballs and make the judgment themselves?
“We have some features reserved for paying users because things will disproportionately be driven to certain people otherwise,” a spokesperson tells Mashable. “If everyone could sort through attractiveness — which is crowdsourced by users on the site — only very attractive people would get attention.”
It’s somewhat unclear how the pricing options are decided: Factors like how old you are, how long you’ve been a member and which body type you identify as can affect how much you pay. So would an “average” user looking for love based on body type pay less than say, an “overweight” user?
“It’s possible,” said the spokesperson.
Because you can choose to identify with whichever body type you want, some users might choose to simply leave that space blank.
“The idea that it is somehow pejorative I think just doesn’t hold water, just by the fact that people are choosing to self-identify that way,” Yagan explains. “I think it is an obvious feature of a dating site.”