It Is Okay To Have Specific Tastes

Our world is changing in some very positive ways. One of those is an increased focus upon qualities aside from (male) wealth and (female) appearance when it comes to finding someone and forming a relationship. It’s becoming less and less socially accepted to openly refer to someone as fat outside of a setting of comedy, whether that person is a celebrity or a classmate. Multiple ideas of beauty are being embraced by real people, and even appearing on television.

These changes are coming slowly, but it’s a significant improvement over how things were in the past. Obviously, we have a long ways to go. By the time that we reach a point as a society at which even middle schoolers will not make negative comments about another’s weight (if such a point could ever be reached), we should probably (hopefully!) no longer have any weight issues remaining. Honestly, I expect for people to be able to pop a pill to lose ten pounds safely and reliably long before humanity grows up enough for middle schoolers to be nice to each other.

Seriously, barring traumatic experiences, middle school is usually the worst period in a person’s life. Those three years bring out the absolute worst in everyone.

Equally seriously, when will they make a pill that eradicates ten pounds of fat when you take it? I don’t care if it works because of fat-seeking nanites or because of fairy dust, I just want for it to work and be available over-the-counter and be affordable.

But, my point is that people are maturing a bit and growing sensitive to a wider range of ideas about what is beautiful. Sometimes people take it too far, with “real women” nonsense. You can say that Ariel from The Little Mermaid isn’t a “real woman” because she is a fictional character invented by Disney, not because she has a very slender torso. Most people know to reject the “real women have curves” nonsense. Real women come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

If you like larger men or women, voluptuous or larger, that’s fine. If you like guys and girls who are incredibly skinny, that is also fine. No one has moral superiority for preferring one over the other. If you agree with Freddy Mercury that fat-bottomed girls make the rocking world go ’round, you don’t deserve a special applause or award because you don’t like size-zero A-cups. All shapes and sizes means all shapes and sizes.

And yet . . . I have noticed that some people take the all-shapes-and-sizes thing too far. That is to say: some people think that it is no longer okay to have specific taste in how men and/or women appear.

This is not true. Specific tastes are why a world in which everyone appears as beautiful as they can imagine themselves would still be a wondrous and diverse world.

We should not shame or devalue someone for having a specific trait (body size, hair length, race, height). Obviously. But just because we won’t make a value judgment on a person does not mean that we all find everyone equally attractive.

This sounds obvious, right? But I see confused sentiments online all of the time: “Like this if you think that this girl is beautiful.” If it’s to show a girl that many people online find her beautiful, despite whatever flaw she sees in herself (for this example, let’s say that she’s insecure about having freckles). But if it’s an attempt to shame anyone who does not “like” the image, that’s a huge step in the wrong direction.

My taste in guys* is pretty broad, I think. I like surfer guys and nerd-hot guys and emo guys and (though I just opened up to the idea a few years ago) guys with dreadlocks. I tend to like guys who are rail-thin through guys who are tall and beefy. I’m not big on much body hair and I am not a fan of body fat (so, yeah, if I were straight I would be one of those guys who likes girls with traditional magazine cover bodies. Hell, even now I’m like: “Damn, Nina Dobrev and Jennifer Lawrence are gorgeous.”).

But, you know what, there are plenty of people whom I don’t find that attractive. It may be because of their hair or weight or skin.**

And that is okay.

Not being physically attracted to someone because you are, personally, not attracted to some of his or her physical traits is normal. You might find that that person has a compelling personality, or a great sense of humor, or a keen intellect, or good taste in television shows. Any positive trait*** will do.

Not being attracted to, say, Koreans? That’s a particular taste; it’s not racist. (I’d call it daft, though, but if I talk about how attractive the Korean ethnic group is I’ll sound like a eugenicist).

We all have our tastes in people just like we have tastes in music and food. Let’s not shame people for not liking skinny people or not liking fat people. I mean, it’s not like they don’t like macaroni and cheese.

Because that is a deal-breaker.


*If you want names to Google, my tastes run like: Avan Jogia to Jared Padalecki to Jason Momoa to Harry Styles to Keith Hamilton Cobb to Humpemsquaw to Chris Hemsworth to Boo Boo Stewart to Choi Seung-hyun (T.O.P.) to Steven R. McQueen. I maintain that my tastes are reasonably diverse.

**Not being attracted to you doesn’t mean that I’ll say: “No.” I mean, there are other attractive qualities, like being funny or intelligent or being a good person. Also, I’m a big fan of the: “Well, I’m not attracted to him but he was there,” which I’ve found is a great reason to sleep with someone. So long as that person is not physically repulsive. Am I right? Any other proud sluts in the house?

***Another positive trait is “being rich.” That is a super attractive trait. Just because society is no longer as hung up upon whether your prospective husband will “be a good provider” does not mean that you aren’t allowed to care about something like that.

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First of all, all women who are not imaginary are “real women.” Five feet tall or six feet tall, ninety pounds or three-hundred pounds. Are they real? Are they women? Then they are, in fact, real women.

Okay, now that that is out of the way, I want to talk about women on television. On 30 Rock, Jack Donaghy insists at one point that a female character who has gained weight needs to either immediately lose 30 pounds or gain 60—anything in between “has no place on television.” It’s a funny line, because it’s a funny show. But I think that we all know what he was talking about.

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