This Dating App Pairs People Based On ‘Fitness And Dietary Preferences’ But Isn’t That Just Coded Body-Snobbery?

Having shared hobbies is great but when it comes to fitness, there’s no denying that men have long used preferences for an ‘active’ lifestyle as a way to subtly body-shame others.

Gym couple

by Georgia Aspinall |

If the landscape of modern dating wasn’t already depressing enough, there’s a new app in town ready to steal Tinder’s crown for sparking most shallow matches: Fitafy, ‘designed to match couples based on their fitness and dietary preferences.’ Yes, seriously.

What is the Fitafy dating app?

Okay, so it’s not exactly new. Fitafy launched in September last year and has since been rated with a whopping 3.3 stars on the Google Play Store – responsible for some 50k downloads. How have we only just learned of it then? Well, how else… TikTok. On what we can only assume is an elevated marketing campaign to drum up downloads, adverts for Fitafy are all over TikTok – a social media app used by predominantly people aged 16-24. And they’re working: ‘Fitafy review’ is currently a breakout search term on Google.

Now, let us put our concerns aside for a moment and look at this for what it is: a dating app meant to connect people with the same passion for fitness. Should be harmless, right? Gym bros can find their gym bunnies with ease, bond over the best type of barbell and meal prep together before having hench sex. Romance at it’s very best.

In theory, Fitafy is no different to any other apps that allow you to filter preferences. We can already block certain people from appearing as potential matches based on height, religion and political persuasion. We can specify whether we want someone ‘active’ in our profiles, shout about our hobbies and even declare our vaccination status. So what’s different about an app that connects people with a shared love of the gym? Well, unfortunately, practise has taught us that those filtered preferences aren’t so harmless in real life – particularly those around someone’s looks or ‘active’ nature.

Having shared hobbies is great, encouraged even, but when it comes to health and fitness, there’s no denying that people have long used preferences for an ‘active’ lifestyle to subtly body-shame others. Often, users sell their own enjoyment for fitness as a dealbreaker in their partner too, all through the guise of it simply being a ‘passion’ or ‘hobby’. But what they’re really saying? No fat women please. And thin women? Yeah, you'd better not be so thin you look like you don’t lift. Anyone in between? Stay fit or we’re not going to work. Essentially, it’s coded body-snobbery.

On an app like Fitafy where users can choose to join or not, perhaps it’s less concerning – after all, both users are clearly after the same thing. But who decides whose ‘fit’ enough to join Fitafy? When we know that you can be ‘fit’ at any size or weight, would a size 22 woman who loves weightlifting be treated the same as a spin-obsessed size 10? Would someone with an ‘overweight’ BMI who absolutely loves swimming be laughed off the app by gym bros looking for their Lara Croft? And if you join the app while you’re at your fittest, must you delete it as soon as you fall foul to a gains plateau?

These are the questions that would surely run through users minds before downloading the app: am I fit enough? And when you consider the pressure that puts on singles, it doesn’t seem like the healthiest mindset to enter into dating with. Particularly, the note about ‘dietary preferences’.

I say this because it’s one thing to want to date someone who loves the gym as much as you, but are we seriously at a point where pairing people based on their calorie compatibility is great matchmaking? I can imagine the opening lines now: ‘So do you fast before cardio or is this not going to work?’ ‘What’s your favourite macro calculator?’ ‘Keto vs Paleo let’s debate’. Sure, if you’re really into fitness that might be the most interesting conversation you can have on a date – but are we not at all concerned by the potential vulnerability of putting two people together who are so obsessed with their diet they actually date people based on it?

Perhaps at a time when young girls are filtering their faces and bodies unrecognisably, when we’re being sold creams for flaws that don’t exist (we’re looking at you, cellulite) and exercises that cure ‘hip dips’ (again, natural bone structures cannot be ‘cured’) we should be moving towards a dating landscape that values compatibility outside of how ‘fit’ someone is. Love Island should be escapist viewing, guys, not our real lives.

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