A Dating Site That Puts Women in Charge: Why It's Not as Feminist as It Sounds

A new online dating site allows women to, essentially, “shop” for men, as YourTango.com recently reported. AdoptAGuy.com launched in France in 2007, aiming to cut down on the creepiness that online dating can engender for some women, and now it’s come to the United States. Basically, it works like this: You sign up and fill out a brief profile, including your “shopping list” of desired attributes in a mate. Pretty standard Internet dating stuff, with one caveat: A guy can only approach you if you’ve put him in your “cart.” (And yes, it’s called a cart, and it works just like online shopping.) You can search for men based on age, social type (intellectual, executive, bohemian), and style (chic, eccentric, rocker).

It’s slick and clever, to be sure. The site looks great, graphically, even if it does resemble a very pink banquette. (We get it! It’s for ladies!) The logo — a little stick man falling into a stick woman’s shopping cart — is cute. The interface is witty: “bonus pack” options on searches include “celeb look-alike” and “rich and dying.” There’s a feature board of “daily specials” and a running tab of “adoptions made.” The concept behind AdoptAGuy also adds up scientifically. Women are proven to be the choosier gender, so it makes sense, biologically, to put them in charge from the start. This all adds up to a brilliant marketing angle in an increasingly crowded online dating marketplace. If there’s one way to attract female customers, it’s to put them in charge; if there’s one way to attract male customers, it’s to provide a lot of women. See Ladies’ Night specials for proof.

That said, AdoptAGuy is not … exactly … feminist. I know it’s supposed to be empowering, and I like anything that allows women to avoid unnecessary harassment (which is all-too-common in online dating, to be sure). But I wish we could have that without the cutesy Pepto-Bismol-washing of the site (I know we use some pink here on SexyFeminist, too, but jeez) and, more importantly, the too-strong objectification of men. Sure, they haven’t been objectified for, like, ever, the way we have, so it plays as less sinister. But let’s face it: We’d never stand for a gender-reversed version of this. Why not let the market, as it were, take care of letting whichever gender wants to take charge take charge, and of letting the creeps be rightfully ignored? Besides which: “Adopt” a guy, really? We love the idea of women taking charge of their romantic destinies, but we’re not sure making guys sound like children or pets is the answer.


Author: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong grew up deep in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, then escaped to New York to live in a succession of very small apartments and write about pop culture. In the process, she became a feminist, a Buddhist, and the singer/guitarist in an amateur rock band. She also spent a decade on staff at Entertainment Weekly, cofounded SexyFeminist.com, and now writes for several publications, including Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Writer’s Digest, Fast Company, and New York‘s Vulture. Her history of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted, will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2013; her collaboration with Heather Wood Rudulph, Sexy Feminism, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2013. She is the author of the Why? Because We Still Like You, a history of the original Mickey Mouse Club published by Grand Central in 2010. She has provided pop culture commentary for CNN, VH1, A&E, and ABC, and teaches article writing and creative writing. Follow her on Twitter: @jmkarmstrong


  1. I’m sure Tom from The Good Men Project would agree! If objectifying women is bad, then so is objectifying men. We can’t complain of bias every day, and then turn around and do the same to the opposite gender.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  2. Jon says:

    I stumbled across this website. I just read in a finishing book in the section on body language – if you ask most men they would say they are the initiators of a relationship but fact is they just happened to show up and 90% of the time women are the actual initiators in the relationship. Why is it important to have A Dating Site That Puts Women in Charge: – as far as dating goes women are already 90% in charge. Having a website with that title just seems irelevant when women already make all the choices.

  3. Dave says:

    I would like to date a feminist who likes to torment men sexually eg teasing orgasm denile and chastity.any takers?contact me at dave .porter79@yahoo.co.uk

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