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Focus on beauty takes an ugly turn

There was no “People’s Most Beautiful” list hundreds of years ago. Yet the reverence of all things beautiful is timeless. Our vision of beauty has changed, but the idea is the same. Except that now there’s a place for the beautiful people to get together: BeautifulPeople.com.
Emerging from Denmark, BeautifulPeople.com is an exclusive international dating site that has a self-described “ban on ugly people.” If this shockingly shallow and insensitive concept doesn’t prove the over-obsession with looks, I don’t know what does. Plus, there’s no mention of what defines ugliness. The final say rests with the members themselves; prospective members post pictures, and current members judge if they’re “beautiful” enough for the site.
As if that isn’t enough, BeautifulPeople.com kicked 5,000 members off the site for gaining weight over the recent holidays. Now that’s a positive body image message for you. In the company’s defense, the ones responsible for the dismissals were the members themselves. Still, the words straight from the mouth of the site’s founder, Robert Hintz, illustrate the unbelievable low some people can sink to.
“Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which BeautifulPeople.com was founded,” Hintz said.
What a cheery end to the holidays: the festivities are over, frigid January is here and an email is waiting in your inbox informing you that you’re not beautiful enough anymore.
Whether they’re willing to admit it or not, nearly everyone is drawn to beauty—it’s human nature. But there’s no need to promote vanity and narrow-mindedness. Although corny, those middle school “everyone is different” speeches have a ring of truth. No one has the right to define those uncertain qualities like beauty.
The site itself admits that “it may not be politically correct.” It’s more than that. Most people in the world will probably never visit BeautifulPeople.com, let alone use it. But the idea will still be there, subtly leaping from person to person in conversations and attitudes. Forget the simple fact that it could destroy the self-esteem of many a love-seeker. Allowing things like this to exist perpetuates the idea that what’s on the surface is all that matters. This site completely ignores the traits that will last far longer than a lovely face: kindness, generosity and intelligence.
Love has now gone the way of real communication— disappearing into the cold efficiency of technology. Not only are dating sites a way to avoid real contact and effort for love, BeautifulPeople bypasses the one thing dating sites may be good for. At least online dating allows people to focus on interests and profiles rather than just picking out the hot stranger. BeautifulPeople creates an entire website specifically for that superficial snap decision, with a bit of demoralizing rejection added in.
With new photo-editing technology, a rush of popularity in plastic surgery and artificial “beautifying” methods, society seems to be striving for perfection. Rather than relying on natural methods, we need technology for everything—including love, apparently. But faster and simpler doesn’t necessarily mean better. Ever hear the advice, “Stop and smell the roses?” Even a bug-nibbled rose smells lovely. A website for discovering beautiful people can bring gorgeous faces and bodies galore, but it can never replace loving someone for who they are, flaws and all.



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