Proud2Bme | Ad Misses the Mark

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By Kaitlin Irwin--While traversing through the London Underground, people have been confronted with some interesting ads. The posters show close-ups of a woman with red hair and freckles, while another shows a man with one blue eye and one brown eye. The tagline? “If you don’t like your imperfections, someone else will.”

Of course, people went ballistic. One individual took to Twitter to tell it’s “lovely to learn [she’s] covered in ‘imperfections.’” Other people said that the Internet dating site was “profiting by bullying.”

At a time when everyone seems to be getting offended by everything, the backlash received doesn’t surprise me. Moreover, I do think that the ads were in bad taste and are clearly a product of our perfectionist attitudes and society. As I keep stating again and again, as long as we continue to buy into the notion that we need to be #perfect, we will keep seeing these ads. So good on those who fought against them! After all, red hair is not an imperfection, it’s a hair color. As one Brit pointed out, freckles aren’t imperfections, they’re a skin tone.

Online dating advertisements that focus on the physical are nothing new. We have seen blatantly sexual and erotic ads from the likes of Tinder, True and so many more. Nowadays, people can find a dating app or website tailored to a specific fetish or niche. Internet users can search for a match based on ethnicity, race, religion, and of course, pure physical appearance. All a dating ad really needs is a seductive photo and a tagline to bait some users.

Take the dating website True. One of their advertisements sums up this approach perfectly. Featuring a close-up of a woman’s chest, the ad says “Love is blind. We know you’re not.” Then we have Tinder, a dating app that is based solely on someone’s physical appearance. With just a swipe of a finger, users can decide if another person is “hot” or not. I was pretty appalled to see one of Tinder’s ads, which featured a sexy silhouette and the tagline, “Inner beauty is nice, but you have friends for that.” Seeing these ads, is it really a surprise that so many people feel like crap about themselves?

We are constantly being judged and critiqued based on just about everything: our looks, our jobs, our abilities, our lifestyle choices, etc. On some dating sites, you can even be very specific about what kind of person you’re looking for. OKCupid asks users to put in their height, body type, diet and education, among other details. If a user is chatting with someone else and is really getting along with them, are they going to be put off if the person’s body type is “a little extra?” I sure hope not. If looks are the only indicators of whether or not we date someone, then we have really got to reprioritize. It’s about time that appearance stopped determining identity.

Simply looking at someone cannot tell you much about them, so I wonder how many fabulous friendships and romances have never happened due to the hope of “love at first sight.” I will say that I can see how the ad was trying to get rid of that romanticized ideal. It’s fine that they wanted us to know that just because we may be insecure about our bodies, there is someone out there who will find us appealing. Yet their ads insinuated that there are certain physical “imperfections” and “flaws” that we’re supposed to hate. The reality is that we all have bodies that carry us through each and every day. They’re not supposed to be perfect. Perhaps instead of trying to find others to validate us, we can learn to love and appreciate ourselves, “flaws” and all.

About the blogger: Kaitlin Irwin is a recovered anorexic who spent her college years struggling to hide her illness. With lots of support, patience and an Intensive Outpatient Program, she embraced herself, flaws and all. In her free time, she enjoys exercise, cooking and art and can usually be found with a good book, a journal or her fiancé. She hopes to use her love of creative expression to spread positivity and love to others.

Also by Kaitlin:

The Problem with Glamour Magazine's Plus-Size Issue

6 Tips for Creating a Successful Petition on Campus

Mattel Should Take a Cue from Lammily’s Male Figures

Top image courtesy of Nick Dastoor/PA


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