Author Topic: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?  (Read 10676 times)

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whiterose

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Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« on: May 21, 2013, 07:37:37 AM »
I am not talking about misrepresenting big things on dating site profiles, such as gender/race/age/height/weight. I am talking about smaller things that a platonic friend/neighbor/colleague would likely not even notice (or care about), but that may affect romantic chemistry (including, but not limited to, physical attraction).

For example, hiding teeth and body proportions in these two cases:

http://www.abadcaseofthedates.com/2012/11/long-in-tooth.html

http://www.abadcaseofthedates.com/2013/05/last-in-superhero-naming-line.html

Or like these:

A) Emma has big upper arms- especially fleshy on top of her elbows. All of her profile pictures show her wearing long loose sleeves, wearing a shawl, or as part of a group with her arms hidden. Her pictures show her otherwise pretty face, nice hourglass figure of average build, and toned legs. Emma wears a nice dress with long loose sleeves to first dates (that otherwise shows her nice figure and legs) and does not show her upper arms till at least the second date. Emma does not want her "fat" arms to scare guys off, when she is otherwise very good looking.

B) Claudia states her ethnicity as "White/Caucasian/European". From her pics, it is obvious that her features are Caucasoid (I don't know if this term is archaic); however,  her exact ancestry is tougher for site users to pin down: French? Greek? Croatian? Claudia is from Argentina- and she is of Italian ancestry. She is fluent in English- her spelling/grammar/punctuation/capitalization are impeccable, and her vocabulary is very erudite, showing her advanced education- but she does speak with a Spanish accent. Claudia is a US citizen, so immigration/legality is NOT an issue. Claudia does not give any actual clues to her ancestry or nationality on her profile- it is not let out until you talk to her and hear her voice. Claudia does not want guys to assume she has a "Latin temper" and thus lose interest without getting to know her.

C) The dating site has a category asking the length of longest relationship. Suzanne checked the option stating "between 6 months and a year". Suzanne's longest relationship (if you could call it that) was 10 dates across the span of 6 months. And that was 5 years ago. There was a "less than 6 months" option available- but Suzanne marked the "between 6 months and a year" one. Suzanne does not want to be labeled a "loser" simply because she is 30 years old and has not been in a long-term/serious/marriage-has-been-discussed relationship- she has a very successful life otherwise.

Did any of these ladies commit deceit? Or is it just strategic marketing? 

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Margo

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Re: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2013, 07:50:31 AM »
I don't see how any of them are even remotely deceitful.

A - Emma didn't show her upper arms because she was self-conscious about them. She didn't lie about them, she didn't photoshop someone else's thinner arms onto her picture, she just chose to cover up something she feels is not her best feature.

B-  It sounds as though Claudia is of European original. I think issues such as someone's ethnicity are deeply personal. She may see her Italian origin as the most important part of her heritage. She could equally have defined herself as an Argentinian, or as an American, without in any way being untruthful or deceitful. (And if you are having to pick from a list of choices, you go with what feels closest to the truth, often there isn't a box which is exactly accurate)

C- again, this is a personal matter. Who defines what is, or isn't a realtionship? It sounds as though Suzanne had a relationship which lasted for 6 months. Just because it remained one in which she was dating rather than (say) cohabiting doesn't mean that it was not a realtionship.

I also think that while these things *might* affect physical / romantic attraction for some, it's highly unlikely that they would affect it for everyone. After all, to take one example, if someone has a 'thing' for women with skinny arms, then he/she is likely to focus of profile pictures of women who are showing off their skinny arms, and so is probably less likely to approach Emma in the first place.

After all, there are lots of thing which would not appear on a dating site profile which might easily be 'make or break' for a potential partner - that's why you go on the date.


Yvaine

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Re: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2013, 08:03:58 AM »
I don't see how any of them are even remotely deceitful.

A - Emma didn't show her upper arms because she was self-conscious about them. She didn't lie about them, she didn't photoshop someone else's thinner arms onto her picture, she just chose to cover up something she feels is not her best feature.

B-  It sounds as though Claudia is of European original. I think issues such as someone's ethnicity are deeply personal. She may see her Italian origin as the most important part of her heritage. She could equally have defined herself as an Argentinian, or as an American, without in any way being untruthful or deceitful. (And if you are having to pick from a list of choices, you go with what feels closest to the truth, often there isn't a box which is exactly accurate)

C- again, this is a personal matter. Who defines what is, or isn't a realtionship? It sounds as though Suzanne had a relationship which lasted for 6 months. Just because it remained one in which she was dating rather than (say) cohabiting doesn't mean that it was not a realtionship.

I also think that while these things *might* affect physical / romantic attraction for some, it's highly unlikely that they would affect it for everyone. After all, to take one example, if someone has a 'thing' for women with skinny arms, then he/she is likely to focus of profile pictures of women who are showing off their skinny arms, and so is probably less likely to approach Emma in the first place.

After all, there are lots of thing which would not appear on a dating site profile which might easily be 'make or break' for a potential partner - that's why you go on the date.

Agreed with all of this.

lady_disdain

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Re: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2013, 09:54:56 AM »
What do you expect Claudia to identify as? Argentina had massive Italian immigration  in the early 20th century and many of those communities maintain strong cultural ties to Italy. The entire point of ethnicity is that a person may be of a particular nationality and belong to a different ethnic group.

LadyL

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Re: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2013, 10:08:22 AM »
In my opinion, anything that falls in the realm of "normal" or "average" doesn't need to be disclosed. Large upper arms - no. Female bodybuilder with very developed muscular build - yep. One or two tattoos - no. Full sleeves - yes. The question is, would a reasonable person feel deceived? I wouldn't care about the woman having 10 dates over 6 months vs. an exclusive relationship - 6 months is on the short side either way. Nor would I care at all about someone having an accent (that might be a bonus for a lot of people actually!).

The one about the woman with the large lower body cracks me up. I am about 2 sizes smaller on top than on bottom thanks to a generous behind and round hips. If I were on a dating site, I'd avoid posting misleading waist-up photos, because some guys really go for pear shaped women! I wouldn't want someone who thought I was petite all over because of a misleading upper body shot.

Yvaine

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Re: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2013, 10:14:49 AM »
In my opinion, anything that falls in the realm of "normal" or "average" doesn't need to be disclosed. Large upper arms - no. Female bodybuilder with very developed muscular build - yep. One or two tattoos - no. Full sleeves - yes.

I don't even agree with these. Want to know everything about somebody, go on the darn date. You don't have to disclose that you're buff or have lots of tats. Either they can find out on the date, or if you want to, post a photo showing these traits so you can weed out people who don't like it and attract people who do.

ETA: The date is your ad. You don't want to deceive, but you don't have to disclose anything you don't want to, and you can put your best foot forward and accentuate what you like best about yourself. The actual date is when they start to get to know the rest of you.

Pen^2

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Re: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2013, 10:39:22 AM »
The thing is, even in real life, we hide certain small things about ourselves until we really get to know someone. Probably some psychological thing where we don't want to reveal something until we're sure we won't be hurtfully rejected or something.

On a first date in real life, how many of us have glossed over small things so we didn't reveal things we'd rather not say at that point in the proceedings? If you're eating steak at a restaurant, for example, how appropriate is it to say when asked, "oh, my mother works for the museum: she cleans animal corpses of fats and muscle deposits before they can be taxidermied" if you don't know how squeamish the other person is (it might put them off their meal)? Safer to just mention the museum part and move on. Details can come later.

Possibly misleading, yes, but all humans do it with all relationships in the early stages to certain degrees. Glossing over things like this online is just another part of it. I don't think anything along the lines of the above example would be deceptive.

On the other hand, something which is absolutely untrue is a different matter. Italians are Caucasian, yes, but not necessarily what an American would first think of. 5 dates over six months can be considered a relationship by some. But saying that you have a Masters Degree in Aerospace Engineering when you actually never finished high school? Big no-no. Same with things that will immediately be seen as false when you meet in person: lies about height, age, living situation, and so on. I know a lot of women who have looked forward to meeting a guy who has said he was 6 foot 3, only to discover he's 5 foot 6. The blatant deception generally kills any chance of future dates. If you don't want to say how tall you really are, just don't say any height at all. Leave it up to the actual meeting for the other person to find out. No big deal, and a lot better than their first impression being, "oh, so he lied about that. I wonder what else he made up. I guess I can't trust him."

Small things can be glossed over if they aren't massively important and no lies are made. After all, you can't put down every single detail about yourself online: there will be some things that will not be there, and that's fine. We all skip small details when we're first getting to know someone new I don't have a problem for it. But actively misleading people or outright lying is a whole other thing.

rashea

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Re: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2013, 10:42:29 AM »
Personally, when I was using them I'd rather weed out the idiots that would be bothered by stuff. Last time I was on one, I was still using a wheelchair. If that bothered someone, I'd rather they just never contact me. Showing up in a chair on the first date without warning them would just seem deceitful.

I sort of like the way the woman with the teeth handles it. It's direct and at least she can move on to someone who won't spend 2-3 dates trying to figure out how to run without looking like a jerk.

I guess I understand picking the most flattering photos, as long as they are realistic. But I don't understand wanting to hide things. Like full sleeve tattoos. This is not something that you're going to want to hide for long, if at all, so show them off in a picture. If it's not someones cup of tea, they can move on with no harm done.
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Re: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2013, 10:48:50 AM »
To rephrase your thread title: I think the woman you mentioned are marketing to the wrong group when they practice these small deceits to misrepresent themselves.

I also think this issue is stemming from a flawed assumption created by the culture of online dating. IMHO, when you look at online profiles you are not "shopping" for your "perfect match," although many have been led to believe that is what they are doing. You can try and improve your chances of successful compatibility, but I think too much detail can work in the other direction and actually increase people's pickiness.

I think anyone who would label what these women are trying to hide as "deal breakers" would not be a good match for these women anyway. They are all trying to squeeze into molds built by assumptions and stereotypes. They are building on the flawed premise that there is something wrong with their arms, their accent, or their relationship history.

People are attracted to whatever they are attracted to, and we all have our biases. However, self-confidence and being secure in yourself is a universally desirable trait. If Emma likes her arms and wears short sleeves, great. If she likes her arms and wears long sleeves, also great. If she dislikes her arms, it is more likely the lack of self-confidence that will turn potential suitors off.

I don't think she is obligated to wear anything she wouldn't normally wear. A huge amount of women wear bras for lift - is a potential mate going to cry false advertising the first time he takes it off and we sag? If he does, he is a jerk.

All the girls mentioned need to be with someone who likes them for themselves.

We all "lie" a little when it comes to appearance, especially women. Most of fashion is meant to trick the eye. We accent, we misdirect, we tone down and highlight. We pad, cinch, cover, lift, straighten, lengthen, curl, bind, twist and color all kinds of body parts.

Men color the grey in their hair and beards, post pictures of themselves in a suit when they almost never wear them, and otherwise play up or down whatever they think will make them stand out and give them a better chance.

It is all marketing and it is all deceitful to some degree or another.

Open, honest and straightforward are better as a rule. I think if other people know about something than it isn't right to hide it from a date - they will find out sooner or later anyway right? If you fail to mention something and it comes up later, they will wonder why you didn't bring it up before. Something like heritage and relationship history are important, and I can't see anything gained by hiding or misrepresenting either. The relationship issue isn't a need-to-know thing, especially since it isn't indicative of what any future relationships will be like.

I don't think misrepresenting yourself is the real issue - but why you are doing it and what the ultimate result will be is an important question to consider.
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Moray

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Re: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2013, 11:41:25 AM »
I don't see how any of them are even remotely deceitful.

A - Emma didn't show her upper arms because she was self-conscious about them. She didn't lie about them, she didn't photoshop someone else's thinner arms onto her picture, she just chose to cover up something she feels is not her best feature.

B-  It sounds as though Claudia is of European original. I think issues such as someone's ethnicity are deeply personal. She may see her Italian origin as the most important part of her heritage. She could equally have defined herself as an Argentinian, or as an American, without in any way being untruthful or deceitful. (And if you are having to pick from a list of choices, you go with what feels closest to the truth, often there isn't a box which is exactly accurate)

C- again, this is a personal matter. Who defines what is, or isn't a realtionship? It sounds as though Suzanne had a relationship which lasted for 6 months. Just because it remained one in which she was dating rather than (say) cohabiting doesn't mean that it was not a realtionship.

I also think that while these things *might* affect physical / romantic attraction for some, it's highly unlikely that they would affect it for everyone. After all, to take one example, if someone has a 'thing' for women with skinny arms, then he/she is likely to focus of profile pictures of women who are showing off their skinny arms, and so is probably less likely to approach Emma in the first place.

After all, there are lots of thing which would not appear on a dating site profile which might easily be 'make or break' for a potential partner - that's why you go on the date.

Agreed with all of this.

Well stated, Margo.
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Re: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2013, 11:47:48 AM »
I don't see how any of them are even remotely deceitful.

A - Emma didn't show her upper arms because she was self-conscious about them. She didn't lie about them, she didn't photoshop someone else's thinner arms onto her picture, she just chose to cover up something she feels is not her best feature.

B-  It sounds as though Claudia is of European original. I think issues such as someone's ethnicity are deeply personal. She may see her Italian origin as the most important part of her heritage. She could equally have defined herself as an Argentinian, or as an American, without in any way being untruthful or deceitful. (And if you are having to pick from a list of choices, you go with what feels closest to the truth, often there isn't a box which is exactly accurate)

C- again, this is a personal matter. Who defines what is, or isn't a realtionship? It sounds as though Suzanne had a relationship which lasted for 6 months. Just because it remained one in which she was dating rather than (say) cohabiting doesn't mean that it was not a realtionship.

I also think that while these things *might* affect physical / romantic attraction for some, it's highly unlikely that they would affect it for everyone. After all, to take one example, if someone has a 'thing' for women with skinny arms, then he/she is likely to focus of profile pictures of women who are showing off their skinny arms, and so is probably less likely to approach Emma in the first place.

After all, there are lots of thing which would not appear on a dating site profile which might easily be 'make or break' for a potential partner - that's why you go on the date.

Agreed with all of this.

Well stated, Margo.

Very much agreed.  This reminds me of one of Chris Rock's rants about "lies" women tell... "You have makeup on, your face doesn't look like that!  You have a weave, your hair isn't that long!" ...and on and on.  Of course people are going to put their best foot forward and enhance their features in some way.  If Steve wears a hat and you later discover his receding hairline, he didn't LIE about it.  It just wasn't shown.  Deceit would be Steve taking off his wedding ring and not revealing that he's married.

MariaE

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Re: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2013, 12:00:04 PM »
In my opinion, anything that falls in the realm of "normal" or "average" doesn't need to be disclosed. Large upper arms - no. Female bodybuilder with very developed muscular build - yep. One or two tattoos - no. Full sleeves - yes. The question is, would a reasonable person feel deceived? I wouldn't care about the woman having 10 dates over 6 months vs. an exclusive relationship - 6 months is on the short side either way. Nor would I care at all about someone having an accent (that might be a bonus for a lot of people actually!).

Interesting! I didn't realize 6 months was considered on the short side. I'm the oldest of 4 girls - none of us had a relationship go beyond 6 months* before we found the one we're now married to (ehh... four different ones, that is).

* I guess I kinda did, but it was a long-distance relationship that may have gone on for almost 2 years, but we only actually spent 2 months of those two years together, and broke up shortly after the second month, so I'm thinking it would have happened a lot sooner if we'd actually been together.... But I digress..

Sorry about the threadjack. I just thought LadyL's statement was interesting, as I'd never actually thought of it that way myself.
 
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whiterose

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Re: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2013, 12:28:51 PM »
Regarding Claudia's ancestry, I should have stated that dating sites (at least in the USA) tend to include "Hispanic/Latino" as an ethnicity. But Claudia marked "White/Caucasian/European" not only because she is of Italian ancestry, but because she does not want a particularly nasty stereotype about Latinas to be held against her.

In the Plenty of Fish site, the lowest option actually is "less than a year". I do not know if that is better or worse than to break ut down into "less than six months" and "between six months and a year". I do not consider several (meaning more than 3) dates in the span of 6 months to be tremendously short. In fact, if you make it to the third date, it likely means that there is nothing wrong with you and that there is even something desirable about you. But some people are really judgmental about other people not having been in a relationship before. Hence Suzanne put the "between 6 months and a year" option.
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Re: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2013, 12:32:40 PM »
Regarding Claudia's ancestry, I should have stated that dating sites (at least in the USA) tend to include "Hispanic/Latino" as an ethnicity. But Claudia marked "White/Caucasian/European" not only because she is of Italian ancestry, but because she does not want a particularly nasty stereotype about Latinas to be held against her.

In the Plenty of Fish site, the lowest option actually is "less than a year". I do not know if that is better or worse than to break ut down into "less than six months" and "between six months and a year". I do not consider several (meaning more than 3) dates in the span of 6 months to be tremendously short. In fact, if you make it to the third date, it likely means that there is nothing wrong with you and that there is even something desirable about you. But some people are really judgmental about other people not having been in a relationship before. Hence Suzanne put the "between 6 months and a year" option.

The older you are the more the fact that you haven't been in a long term relationship is worrying. Because it makes you wonder why. Is it because they just had bad luck and never found someone? Is it because they are so busy with other things they didn't have time for it then? Is it because they have unrealistic expectations of relationships? Is it because there is something wrong with them?

All or none of them could be the reason but I admit that I am not looking to be someone's first big relationship at this point in my life. They could be perfectly wonderful, but I don't want to go through those growing pains right now.

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Re: Small misrepresentations- marketing, or deceit?
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2013, 12:47:29 PM »
Regarding Claudia's ancestry, I should have stated that dating sites (at least in the USA) tend to include "Hispanic/Latino" as an ethnicity. But Claudia marked "White/Caucasian/European" not only because she is of Italian ancestry, but because she does not want a particularly nasty stereotype about Latinas to be held against her.

In the Plenty of Fish site, the lowest option actually is "less than a year". I do not know if that is better or worse than to break ut down into "less than six months" and "between six months and a year". I do not consider several (meaning more than 3) dates in the span of 6 months to be tremendously short. In fact, if you make it to the third date, it likely means that there is nothing wrong with you and that there is even something desirable about you. But some people are really judgmental about other people not having been in a relationship before. Hence Suzanne put the "between 6 months and a year" option.

This says far more about Claudia than it does about any potential suitors.

Really, would she want someone that held that stereotype? Sounds like Claudia needs to examine her own discomfort with herself and her background. If she's answering "White/Caucasian/European" because she feels that's most accurate, that's one thing, but if she's answering it because of her own personal hangup about how she imagines people will percieve her, she's only playing headgames with herself.
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