Am I Being Fetishized On Dating Apps Because I'm A Dark-Skinned Big Girl?
Updated: Aug 26
Aside from being Managing Editor of MadameNoire.com, I'm also a columnist for the dating app Hinge's new website, Hingeirl.com -- Hinge in Real Life. This week, I received a question that likely hits home for a lot of us on the digital dating scene, so I decided to share it in this space.
Q. I have used a variety of dating apps and have noticed a consistent trend. The vast majority of the messages I receive are from men who blatantly tell me they want to have sex.
I have a theory that because I am a dark skinned, big girl, I serve as a fetish to a lot of men. The most “provocative” photo I have on my profile is of me in a tank top. I would like to know if I am giving off the wrong message and if there is any way I can get around this.
Akosua, 21, New York, New York
A. First, let me say that, unfortunately, I have been in your shoes. And, like you, I asked the same questions.
It’s no secret some men are so-called “chubby chasers,” not because they just so happen to find thicker women attractive, but because they figure all plus-size women have bought into the singular image of beauty we’ve been sold our whole lives: thin, white, and blonde.
These men wrongly assume our self-esteem is so low we’ll take anything that’s thrown at us.
There are also some sites that, by the very wording of their compatibility questions, perpetuate bias against overweight women and raise questions about attractiveness that would lead anyone ignorant enough to send the types of messages to believe this behavior is okay. The fact that you’re not feeling any of these crass messages is proof of what a fallacy the desperate, promiscuous single plus-size woman trope is. I’m proud of you for knowing something is off.
Similarly, there is a racial bias against dating black women. Couple that with the stereotype of black women being over-sexualized, and it’s not hard to see why you’d come to the conclusion you’re being fetishized. To put it lightly, that feeling really sucks.
Read the rest of my response on Hingeirl.com.