You Match Be Joking? Misjudged Advert Is Beyond The Pale

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Match’s latest poster has been removed after it caused uproar. Amy Dawson asks what is perfection anyway?

If you don’t like your imperfections, someone else will.’ So goes the slogan from dating website Match.com, displayed underneath a close-up shot of a girl with red hair and freckles on its latest poster. The freckled and non-freckled alike have expressed their dissent, defacing the posters on the Tube and calling out Match on Twitter, with the result that the company has agreed to get rid of the new images.

And too right. Those blessed with freckles and Jessica Chastain-style flaming hair can enjoy them with pride, with or without external approval. Part of a campaign that has already been much mocked on social media (Mark who ‘Never Has His Travelcard Ready’… clearly deserves to die alone, right?), Match probably had nothing but misguided good intentions. But this is more than just a spectacular PR owngoal. The poster betrays some unsettling assumptions about ‘imperfections’, which we are all asked to swallow, all the time.

Society encourages us to feel pretty damn crap about ourselves if we don’t fit in to a limited model of female beauty. And why? So that we’ll buy things to make us feel better, naturally. And if we do fit into that mould? Well, we can then cultivate complexes about other normal things we need to ‘correct’. Anal bleaching, anyone?

Actress Amy Schumer took umbrage with the US version of Glamour magazine recently for including her, without consulting her, in a plussize special – even though she’s a UK size 10/12. The comedian (though quick to praise women of all sizes) pointed out how ridiculous it was to ‘celebrate’ her for being larger when she is a totally average shape. She wrote on Instagram: ‘Young girls seeing my body type thinking that is plus size? What are your thoughts? Mine are not cool.’ Rather than these double-edged ‘celebrations’ of imperfections, perhaps it would be healthier if we could just see a more varied example of womanhood in the media without it being a ‘thing’. All ages, all sizes, all races… no biggie.

Things are moving forward, however. Model of the moment Winnie Harlow, for example, who has vitiligo, has been stunning the catwalks recently. Big bums, small bums, freckles, moles, Gigi Hadid and your local lollypop lady: we are all so very different. And what a grim world when we keep calling such differences ‘imperfections’.