Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Male Owned": Objectification of Women in Online Dating


While flipping through a supercar magazine one day, I came across an advertisement that floored me with its disturbingly apparent sexism. This advertisement was for an online dating site of the name Model Quality Introductions

An advertisement for finding your perfect match online is not an uncommon occurrence in today’s society. With everyone’s busy schedule, more and more people are turning to online matchmakers to help them find “the one.” However, the advertisements I have seen for online dating site such as eHarmony.com or match.com feature both men and women, and emphasize the importance of matching based on compatibility.  At Model Quality Introductions, their advertisement made it clear that this is not the case.
 
Boasting that the company is “male owned” and that “no one gets women like we do,” Model Quality Introductions made it apparent that the website was strictly for successful males searching for beautiful women. Although as a woman I found this advertisement to be quite offensive, MQI prides itself on being the “most successful male-owned millionaire matchmaking agency in the country.”

The extent to which the advertisement boasted about their objectification of women struck me as horrendous. The fact that the men “get” women makes it sound like these women are just a product for sale to be picked out by the men—which, essentially, is the case. However, the fact that this is still tolerated and prevalent in society today is a scary one. As for being “male owned,” the website justified that “you cannot hire a woman to do a man’s job,” seeming to demean women even more than they meant to, as I took it to apply to much of the workforce and how women are struggling to attain equality in the workplace.

Another thing I noted: the sexism demonstrated by the placement of the ad is also very apparent. Obviously, a supercar magazine is going to have a primarily male audience, but the design of this advertisement was as if the company believed that no women would ever see it. Did they really think that by placing the ad in a car magazine, no women would ever discover it and be offended by its content? Or did they simply not care? 

Obviously, this company was founded on the premise that it would appeal to millionaire, single men and does not shy away from advertising that fact. But to what extent is this type of industry okay? Sure, like any dating site, the end goal of the company is to foster relationships, but the means by which the company goes about doing this almost reflect prostitution. They create a database of women who meet their standards—only women who are “8s, 9s and 10s”—and instead of a mutual selection process which many other online dating sites advertise, men who make enough money to join the site can scroll through hundreds of pictures of women and choose which ones they wish to have dates with. The way the site justifies this is by explaining that they are just recognizing the different standards that successful men have that are not addressed on regular dating sites. MQI claims, “we start with the outside, and then look at the beauty that lies within,” emphasizing that the most important beauty is not personality, but appearance.

Although in the real world, appearance and physical attraction play roles in fostering relationships, is it okay to market this attraction? I certainly do not think so, especially when these marketing tactics come at the expense of objectifying and demeaning women.

5 comments:

  1. Wow, after reading this blog post, I can't help but feel extremely offended. This is just so...baffling. Basically, being loaded with money equals "right" to matching up with a beautiful woman. So these men could be horrendous creeps who drop some cash and, as easily as one, two, three, get the girl of their dreams. Just sickening.
    At first, I wanted to say that what type of woman would subject themselves to this? But then I realized that there are women out there that are gold-diggers and would be happy to exploit their beauty in order to snag a rich man. Male-chauvinist men, like the owners of this company, and gold-digging women are what give the other men and women, such as ourselves, a "bad name." After reading this post, I automatically felt some contempt towards all men, since I felt violated. However, while the owners of this online dating site are the ones publicizing their company, we must always keep in mind the women they are recruiting. I would find it very hard to believe that the owners that recruit these women are able to keep the women ignorant of their true schemes for the online dating. Thus, the women are aware of what they are getting themselves into and just choose to look past it anyway.
    Yes, this online dating site is one that is completely nauseating, but I suppose if both parties are happy with who they are being matched up with, then who are we to judge? It just sucks because it gives both men and women the wrong ideas about the opposite sex.

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  2. To be honest, I am actually amused by this website. The idea of online dating has always seemed a little ridiculous to me; as if there aren't enough people in your every day life to pick from. Online dating takes online shopping (another humorous idea to me) and adds to it, marketing humans instead of groceries or clothes. However, this website takes it to a new level. It's like they're advertising that they have the highest quality females, the grade A eggs! I actually laughed when I read the ads. If a man uses this ad, he is firstly assuming that he deserves these women without question, and secondly admitting that he can't get a beautiful woman any other way than to basically online shop for her. If I were a man, I wouldn't use this website, not because it's degrading towards women, but because I would feel like a sad specimen of a man for stooping to its level.

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  3. As a guy, I feel that guys tend to treat women as prizes to be won. The more successful a guy is, the better the prize that he will win. I feel that it is pretty wrong to do because of the dehumanization of women that takes place. I feel that is is even more wrong that guys have been openly satisfied thinking this way. However, it's not far-fetched to say that women do the same. Maybe not to the same extent as men do, but do it nonetheless. It's all a part of advertising now. The more beautiful the person you have selling the product, the more that the product will sell. MQI does take this principle and extends it to a point where it shouldn't go. To openly suggest that "you cannot hire a woman to do a man's job", it it reinforcing the superiority that men have against women. Sites like MQI really need to reflect on what they are doing when they portray women as objects.

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  4. Reading this article, the first thing that came to mind was the scene in the movie Taken in which the billionaire men as showcased the girls who are being trafficked and then proceed to bid on these poor girls. Then, adding to this, they save the virgin for last because apparently her "purity and innocence" and the fact that she is untouched makes her more valuable for the dirtbags who are bidding on these girls—like they of all people should actually care about virginity. Sex trafficking is a major issue in our modern society, and MQI mirrors this process of men flaunting and throwing their money in order to essentially "buy" beautiful women as their partners in life. I honestly don't even understand why or how websites of this sort are legal, but I think that this is an issue that seriously needs to be deal with internationally. It's note even a matter of gender equality, it's a matter of dehumanization.

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