A few weeks ago a flood of articles were published about the dating site, Beautifulpeople.com. Why? The site has launched a sperm bank for people who want to have “beautiful” offspring (juicy articles). The site’s primarily role is to match beautiful people with other beautiful people. The criteria are so strict that some people who’ve gained weight or just got plain uglier were kicked off!
I have to confess. I am conflicted about the whole thing. There are many dating sites directed at particular groups of people, e.g., the very successful jdate.com where Jewish men and women “meet up”. Let’s face it, we filter people in or out of our lives depending on religion, educational level, profession and even appearance. It may not always be conscious but it happens. And certainly, when it comes to dating, appearance is one of the biggest factors.
In terms of the beautiful sperm bank, the notion of choosing sperm donors because of traits like appearance isn’t new. Why, then, are we up in arms about this story? Some cried “eugenics” in response to the story and others who see beauty as purely subjective and viewed the notion of choosing sperm donors based on beauty as ridiculous. What makes me most uncomfortable is that appearance seems to be the PREDOMINANT criteria of sperm selection for this sperm bank. As I’ve stated throughout my blog, I believe beauty should be celebrated and pursued. But not at the expense of education, charity, productivity or fun. And, as a mother, I can say that kids’ looks are WAY down the list of concerns once you’re in the throes of dragging them to school, trying to teach fractions, nursing a terrible ear ache, cheering their soccer goals, taking away their desserts or managing any of the other thousands of child rearing activities.
I’m all for allowing people to decide how they want to choose their mates and even breed. I just hope that they realize that what truly makes children beautiful isn’t the cute new outfit or long locks but their amazing potential for love, imagination, perseverance, and humor.