When Elisabeth, a 34-year-old lawyer, decided to give OkCupid

When Elisabeth, a 34-year-old lawyer, decided to give OkCupid a try in May 2014, she didn’t have high expectations. Maneuvering through the realm of online dating poses challenges for anyone.

However, for women, particularly those who don’t conform to society’s narrow beauty standards, the journey can feel especially intimidating. Yet, when a law school friend, freshly divorced and eager to reenter the dating scene, encouraged Elisabeth and a couple of other former bridesmaids to join her in solidarity, Elisabeth embraced the opportunity wholeheartedly. She resolved to present herself as the “most unapologetic version” of herself on her profile. Despite years of attempting online dating with meticulously crafted profiles, she hadn’t experienced much success.

So, she took a daring approach, choosing to prominently feature photos of herself with her cherished cat and being candid about her perceived flaws and sticking points. Crucially, she refused to apologize for her body size. Elisabeth wears sizes ranging from XL to 2XL in dresses and between size 16 and 20 in pants, and she made no attempt to conceal it.

Reflecting on her journey, Elisabeth remarked, “As a plus-size woman navigating the world of online dating, there’s a constant struggle with how to portray yourself in photos. You’re aware that with the right angle, lighting, makeup, and clothing, you can appear slimmer. But ultimately, when you meet someone in person, all those façades dissolve.”

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