I know I'm very late to the party re: Catfish (although it's coming back for a third season soon, so somewhat topical?) but I started falling down an episode rabbit hole recently and one thing really, really bothers me about the heterosexual pairings on the show:
When the catfish "victim" is a woman, and it turns out that she was being catfished because the man was insecure about his appearance, it seems like we (the audience) is asked to hope that she can look past that and see this man for "who he really is." There's often a tone that the show sets, between the music and the way the interviews are conducted, which seems to say, "Gosh, can they still make it work?"
Whereas when it's reversed, you know from the moment that a larger-than-expected woman steps out of her house, it's over. And there is little to no expectation on the guy in question to see past it. If anything, everybody kind of shrugs and goes, "Well, yeah. So that's done with I guess." The interviews are done more to fact check and see what's true and what's not.
At the end of the day, I think both parties have a right to feel hurt because regardless of the reason for the lie, they were still lied to. Even if the person being catfished would normally be fine with whoever stepped out of the house, there's an instant feeling of not knowing what else might be untrue which is universal.
I wouldn't necessarily place this blame on the two hosts — Nev especially always seems to be extremely supportive to both parties (unless one of them is clearly an asshole), but this immediate gut reaction is obviously larger than the show.
I guess my bigger question is this: is it that men are more superficial than women, by and large, or is it instead that women are taught that they ought to be "good" and see past the physical when it comes to men?
On some level, we know the answer simply because if men feel that they do have to put up fake photos of a more attractive man, they know that most women don't instinctively just respond to personality.
I don't know — this is rambly and I'm not sure I'm making sense. But overall I guess it comes down to the feeling that an attractive woman with an ugly man might get some eye rolls or "he must be rich" comments, but the reverse is often treated as near-criminal.