Springing up in the mid-noughties, ethnic dating websites have flourished on the web, while the market for so-called general dating sites has become saturated.
Designed primarily to foster marriages, these platforms are a veritable mine of information on the issues of identity and discrimination.
A third model is used by sites that specialise in selling the e-mail addresses of women from Eastern European countries.
Originating from former marriage agencies which have migrated to the Internet, the purpose of these websites is to arrange marriages between partners of unequal financial circumstances.
The various criteria used to define the profile of each member are exactly the same from one site to another, which offers a kind of standardisation of the various ethnicities.
By contrast, the Shaadi website, which is aimed at the higher castes in Indian society, requires its members to fill in a highly detailed profile made up of around forty criteria – as compared with around ten on the other “traditional” websites.
Thus, the study carried out by Dana Diminescu, entitled “Migrant online dating” (“Le web matrimonial des migrants”), presents three distinct models of dating site.
In this context, ethnicity is completely imaginary and is used primarily for advertising purposes, to present attractive values such as the sense of family, beauty or femininity of the candidates.Whether it is justified by the importance attached to marriage or by a marketing argument, expressing one’s ethnicity on these websites seems to meet a real need amongst Internet users.