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I’ve never used Tinder, but it doesn’t take a dating app based primarily on physical attraction for me to understand that some people are mean.
Similarly, it doesn’t take a string of bad blind dates for me to understand that having an expectation of one thing and being presented with another can be frustrating.
But recent viral videos called “Fat Girl Tinder Date” and “Fat Guy Tinder Date” seemingly presume that I am mistaken.
Only thin people, disguised as fat people, going on dates with people who expected them to be thin, can make me commiserate with that awkward moment when your Tinder date doesn’t look like their picture.
And given the premise provided with these videos — that “according to a recent study,” men’s biggest fear when it comes to online dating is meeting a woman who turns out to be overweight — I’m also apparently supposed to understand that men are hostile to fat women, as they’re a man’s worst nightmare and all. Women, on the other hand, are endearing to fat men who deceive them because they’re “nicer,” as evidenced by the reversed-role, man-wears-a-fat-suit version of the video.
Apart from teaching me valuable truths about the world, these installations of high-quality YouTube cinematography also help me to understand what it’s like to be fat. Because, you know, it’s hard and stuff, and being fat compels you to put fake photos on the internet to attract dates because, let’s be real, it’s the only option.
If my sarcasm went unnoticed, I apologize. Before I explain, let’s back up for a moment.
The videos, of which the Fat Girl Tinder Date version was posted first, show “social experiments” in which an attractive man and woman post pictures to Tinder, have their bodies transformed by less-than-realistic fat suits, and then meet their matches.
The unsuspecting dates, whose faces are blurred, have their reactions caught on hidden camera, so the rest of us can finally know just what varieties of cruelty Tinder truly has to offer.
Created by Simple Pickup, a group that creates content “to help guys like you get laid,” the videos triggered a flood of online discussion surrounding differences between men and women and how they treat others. Men are mean to overweight women, but women are nice to overweight men, as it was laid down in ancient texts describing the universal laws that govern the sexes and their reactions to body image.
With over 15-million views between them, the videos have also (unfortunately) been featured on a number of popular websites, sparking even more intelligent debate. The satirical news organization, The Onion, made a related video, “To see what life is really like for awful fat people.”
The Huffington Post published an article playing up the fact that men are mean, called “The Appalling Responses To A Woman Who Wore A Fat Suit To Meet Her Tinder Dates.” Other outlets generally took the same approach — offering click-bait news to readers who are all about making their opinions known to other opinionated readers.
Spoiler alert: the reactions aren’t that mean. Sure, some people lack a certain degree of social tact, but that’s probably why they’re using Tinder for dates. Just saying — grandmothers have far more scathing things to say than these tricked Tinderites.
Refreshingly enough, some comments reflect actual thought and insight into the issues at hand. Attention has been called to the fact that the videos rely on deceit, which was probably a more pressing issue for the filmed Tinder dates anyway. Not to mention the glaring flaw that the fat suits don’t exactly appear realistic, but who am I to say what can and cannot fool a Tinder-er.
Fewer comments, however, point out what annoys me the most about these ridiculous videos: they don’t tell us anything about men, women, dating, weight or any combination of those things at all, despite their fancy “study” introduction.
These projects simply mock online dating and the expectations that come along with it, and raise serious concerns over how body image affects our culture.
Cosmopolitan might not necessarily be the outlet I turn to for messages of body positivity and gender equality, but writer Laura Beck has a point in her article, “Stop Wearing Fat Suits to ‘Understand What It’s Like to Be Fat’”.
Beck writes that fat suits “perpetuate plenty of gross myths and half truths about what it’s like to be fat. The main one being, that fat people lie about their bodies to get dates.”
But I guess we can’t expect gentlemen who publish videos like “How To Kiss a Girl You Just Met” to be aware of such things. Because that’s not as funny, and that’s not what the Internet-machine is about.