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 branded video producer 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.These changes point to an understanding on the part of app developers about how harassment affects some of its users, particularly those who are plus-size.Unfortunately, small tweaks to interfaces can only do so much if all users don't play by apps' often easy-to-break rules."Online dating is like a shopping catalogue, which seems to make people more critical," says Emily Ho, a body-positive fitness blogger and social media strategist.Ho met her first husband the "traditional" way — in person, long before dating apps were a thing.Their CEO, who started the app after suing Tinder over sexual harassment she experienced as a cofounder there, has always been an outspoken advocate against sexual harassment and abuse.Tinder itself recently launched reactions in conjunction with updated messaging standards, reporting options, and new community guidelines.
The League, an "elite" dating app with a screening process that includes a review of your Linked In profile, recently rolled out Monochrome View, which makes the first photo on profiles black-and-white by default.
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.
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.
"I feel like the entire culture has changed so much," she says. Everyone is just judging based on appearance."That said, the idea that apps are to blame for people's obsession with their prospective partners' looks isn't completely fair.