WooPlus: The Dating App Connecting The Plus-Size Community

01/03/2016 7:21 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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"Big girls, you’ve got more admirers than you think."

Log onto the WooPlus website and this statement is one of the first things you're likely to see, as well as a background featuring numerous photos of attractive, curvy women.

The message is simple, welcoming and embodies the entire premise of the dating app, which is designed to connect "big beautiful women, dadbod and plus size singles."

The idea came about after a YouTube video detailing a social experiment (featured above) made the rounds online.

"This video had someone intentionally dress up in a fat suit so that she seemed larger than photos she had posted online," WooPlus co-founder, Michelle Li, told The Huffington Post Australia.

"The men who ended up meeting with her showed all sorts of different emotions from anger, to disgust, to straight apathy.

"There were a lot of negative emotions as a result of that which, quite frankly, no one wants to deal with when meeting someone new. It wasn't like she had a poor personality. She was just larger than expected, and that completely turned the table around for the guys she had been conversing with online. That really struck a chord with us."

And why wouldn't it? After all, as Li points out, not every person looking for love necessarily has a 'but it must come in a size eight' clause attached.

"We know full well there are a lot of plus sized women who are absolutely adored because of their larger size," Li said. "And I want to be very clear -- we're not talking about anyone with a fetish or anything like that. We are absolutely trying to work away from that.

"WooPlus is more about working towards being accepting of your body. It is what it is, and it's important to be comfortable in your own skin.

"We want people to love and share love and not be uncomfortable with different body sizes."

big girls

Launched in November 2015, the app (which is free) now has over 35,000 members worldwide and continues to grow. Based on the successful Tinder model, users can swipe left or right on nearby profiles and see if there's a match in the works.

"We went with the Tinder formula because obviously it works for them," Li said. "Though we tend to be more focused around body positivity. We try to encourage people to post pictures of themselves and be happy in the skin they're in. Overall, that's turned out really well for us, and we are receiving lots of positive feedback.

"There tend to be a lot of wonderful things [said] about each other rather than a lot of other dating sites where people who post photos of their physical bodies might get shamed."

Though the site encourages members of both BBW (big beautiful women) and BHM (big handsome men), Li says at the moment, women are the prime focus.

"I think women tend to be more targeted when it comes to how their body appears," Li said. "I think often men can be excused by people saying, 'oh he has a high-flying career, or he has that or that.'

"Men tend to be able to bypass the physical aspect more easily, whereas women are expected to have this pristine, Hollywood style body, which of course not everyone has.

"So we have tried to create a really great atmosphere for women, thinking that, if they're comfortable, men will go there as well."

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