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"Ok Cupid has questions that focus on body shape — like, 'Can overweight people still be sexy? "But you see questions like that, and you think to yourself, In a way, she's right.People are attracted to who they are attracted to, which leads back to representation, which turns this whole situation into the proverbial snake eating its own tail."We conducted research [internally] that found that there was an increased time spent in evaluating potential profiles that were in monochrome," says Meredith Davis, head of communications for The League."We found that not only did users spend more time evaluating each profile, but that [users] were nice and gave people more of a shot when shown the monochrome profiles." Davis didn't provide information on how many profiles were tested or why black-and-white photos, specifically, led to greater engagement, but she says the research showed that interaction with profiles went up "across the board, regardless of the profile user's hair colour, skin tone, body shape, etc." But it's hard to tell at this point how effective these measures really are across the board.This may sound like pure optics, but apparently it's working: "Since we launched the pledge, we've seen decreases in harassment, both from reports and our machine-learning technology that detects harassing language," says Melissa Hobley, the chief marketing officer of Ok Cupid."We know that women in particular are really frustrated at how dating apps are set up to be incredibly focused on appearance."I'd get messages from men that would say things like, 'Do you want to meet up to have sex?
Bumble publicly shamed a man who was sending lewd messages to women on the company's blog last summer.
"There's a very limited representation of bodies when it comes to media in general, especially when it comes to women" she says.
"In terms of finding love, you think about romantic comedies and advertisements depicting romance, and it's almost always about a thin woman.
In fact, the plus-size dating app Woo Plus found that 71% of its 1,000 users reported having been fat-shamed on "regular" apps.
"I've had men message me and ask to feed me," says Laura Delarato, a sex-educator and syndication coordinator at . It's on regular sites like Ok Cupid and Tinder." According to Delarato, if you're a plus-size woman on a dating app, you should expect your body to be "the forefront of the conversation."The easy (and typical) explanation for this is that swipe-based dating apps have made us more shallow.
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But at 34, she found herself newly divorced and facing a dating scene that she felt focused more on her looks than the one she'd remembered.