Match.com’s ‘Imperfections’ Controversy

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Match.com has developed a new feature where you can list your “imperfections,”. This feature gives users the ability to describe things that match.com claims to be flaws. In actuality of course, the “flaws” listed are not necessarily imperfections, as what people deem to be “flaws” is completely subjective. So, labelling something like being ‘shy’ as an imperfection, can have a negative effect on the dating app’s users.

In an article written by a match.com blogger, they stated that having “a belly that is more washing machine than wash board” was an imperfection. Whilst match.com claim to be attempting to attack the idea of a perfect person to help their users feel more comfortable in themselves and embrace any “flaws” they might have, they are in fact doing the opposite. By labelling these qualities as “imperfections”, match.com are merely feeding the narrative that they are trying to destroy. The “washing machine belly” concept is furthered in the list of imperfections provided, which includes the flaw of being a “big eater”. Implying that eating lots and being overweight is an “imperfection” feeds into the history of fat shaming in the media and in society as a whole. Although the sentiment is there, match.com have missed the mark and their campaign to liberate people has back fired.

Currently the placement of a user’s “imperfection” is directly next to their profile photo. It is one of the first things that a possible partner will see. So they will base their opinion of you on this, rather than getting to know you and discovering your “flaws” naturally. By having a user’s “imperfection” at the forefront of their profile, match.com are signaling that “flaws” are one of the most important aspects of someone’s personality or physicality.

This isn’t the first time match.com has come under scrutiny concerning “imperfections.” In 2016, match.com were criticized for their London Underground posters which suggested that red hair and freckles were imperfections. Due to the backlash, match.com took the poster down and replaced them with more lighthearted “imperfections” such as “Mark never has his travelcard ready.” So surely match.com should have already learnt that rather than listing imperfections like “I’m a big eater”, they should instead enable people to write a jokey flaw that gives their dating profile more character.

Recently, match.com has launched the “Love with No Filter” campaign which gives site users dating advice and true stories about love, in order to combat the false image of flawless relationships provided by social media. This movement creates a more positive narrative of realistic relationships and is much more effective than their “imperfections” list, as it actively fights misconceptions about relationships, rather than passively fueling ideas of what is ‘imperfect’.

By Tilly Judges & Lucie Phipps