The real product of online dating is not dating, per se, but hope. Hookup sites thrive on the idea that sex is just there for the asking, even if it isn’t. Still, some people have different hopes than others, and OKCupid has to keep the lights on. Hence, you can pay for a filter that screens out the fatties.
To be fair, it’s part of a larger subscription services package: OKCupid A-List members can change their username, get message read receipts, see everybody who “likes” their profile, and so on. That said, the filter is a little… uh… blunt:
Once you’ve paid a monthly subscription fee, you can start hiding all the overweight people from your matches page. That’s not all. Once you’re a paid-up member, you can hide “ugly” people too, using other members’ crowdsourced ratings to filter out those who have been deemed unattractive by the site’s user base.
To be fair, OkCupid is a business; the majority of its users are free, and realistically, the filter includes a lot more than just fat people. If you don’t like the skinny or jacked, then you can cut them out as well. Similarly, it’s not like the filter tells you that so-and-so didn’t even look at your profile because of your body type.
But more than that, it’s hard to get too worked up about a business exploiting the shallow and trying to keep OKCupid’s hordes of douches and trolls somewhat in check. The reality is, people doing this using this filter were doing it anyway, and honestly, ask anybody remotely overweight on the Internet: Nobody using a filter like this has a problem with insulting somebody for their physical characteristics. Hell, they do it in real life all the time.
Really, what OKCupid needs to do is give users an option to pay to just permaban trolls. Or control of a heavily armed drone and the troll’s home address. Really, that last would be an excuse to mint money.