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.