If I only I thought of this. Regardless, blogger Kia Matthews rocks for conducting this experiment.
A few months ago OkCupid released a study result showing how many responses women received based on race. And black women seem to get the least responses. Matthews was chatting about the results with another OkCupid user when he jokingly suggest she should pose as a white woman and see if more men responded to her. Erin, one of Mathews readers, donated her image for dating science and Matthews went undercover as a white woman. In my opinion I think Erin and Kia are both cute girls. The main difference between the two is race and body size. Kia is black and curve-a-licious. Erin is white and slim. Matthews writes on The Frisky she didn't see a shift in quantity on her white profile, but quality:
"By the end of day two, Erin had 13 messages and 10 IMs—and guess what? None of them were of the “Are you a freak in da sheets?” variety. Erin was complimented on her sense of humor and wit. Me? I regularly get asked if I want to let a guy shove his d**k “all over” my face – whatever that means. I’d been on the site for the better part of a year and I had received no more than two messages that were as complimentary as the majority of Erin’s had been in two days."
Oooh, this is taking me back to my race and gender classes. Talk about sexualization of black women. This could also be an issue of body politics. Are the men disrespectful to her because she is full figured? Or is it a bit of both. Black women have been stereotyped as being oversexed, hot mamas for centuries. And bigger women are disrespected because of their body size. Some people hold the ridiculous idea they don't have choices and should settle for any man who wants their fuller frame. Even one who just wants to put his thing in her face. Yet, a man's stomach can stick out farther than his behind and he's still a stud? Don't get me started...
I've tried online dating off and on for about 5 years. My cyber spot of choice was Match.com. I'm a combination of Kia and Erin because I'm black and petite. I didn't get the crude pervert messages like Matthews. But 13 dudes didn't hit me up in two days either. I may have received two messages a day. Within my three month trial I only dated one person. He was an anesthesiologist from Africa. On our third and final outing he called me a "lesbian" because the three girls kissing by us at the concert we attended (yes I said 3) didn't upset me. Long story, but you can figure out how that night went. Back to what I was saying...Unlike OkCupid, Match.com visibly lists a man's racial preference in a woman. Often the men checked everything but black. But what shocked me, sorta, was most of the black men who matched my list of qualities (college educated, professional, non-smoker, Christian etc.) were not into black women. They checked off white, Latino, Middle Eastern, Asian, Eskimo, Ewok, Smurf, Snorkel...anything but black. I live in Los Angeles, so I can't say this would be the case if I looked for black and non-black men in other parts of the country. But, I was not surprised when I saw OkCupid's results.
Online dating is like shopping on Ebay, you never know what you're gonna get until the package is delivered. The downside to meeting people online is people look make judgements based on photos. I'm guilty of it too. When men (including brothas) see me and Kia's cute brown faces do they automatically think: Shanay-nay, neck roller, unedumucated, gold digger or hoe? When they run by Erin's profile do they automatically think smart and sexy? I think all of the above is true and untrue, depending on who's looking.
There are success stories in online dating. My uncle met his fiance on BlackPeopleMeet.com. Hopefully his luck in love will rub off on me and Kia.