I had a conversation with my colleagues recently and there was something that struck me. We were all talking about features we personally find attractive in a potential, current and/ or ex significant other. That’s not the part that caught my attention.
What did was how many of them had the need to insult other body parts or types in order to convey this message. Case in point:
Colleague: I love women with curves… you know, a bigger um, noticeable boobs. I hate skinny women. Go eat something and maybe I can find you attractive.
Me: But say they naturally don’t gain much weight, no matter how much they eat.
Colleague: Well that’s a shame because it’s just not someone I would ever like to f***!
Definition time! Preference, according to the Oxford dictionary, is: noun. 1A greater liking for one alternative over another or others. 'her preference for white wine' 'he chose a clock in preference to a watch.'
My colleagues and myself for that matter, all have a specific preference- personal preference. There is nothing wrong with this. So many of us do. I usually prefer to date men, who are either my height or taller, great smile, great jaw and sparkly eyes. I have chosen men with different body types but in general a great personality tickles my particular fancy.
Back to the part where people have the need to insult other people’s body types or parts. Why do people do this? I always thought it was to emphasis the liking of their particular preference. If you think back to the conversation, there may be one other person who asks, “what about a woman who looks like [insert body type/ body part here]?” Then the same colleague would pull a face and simply utter “yuck, no.”
This is what I really realized, people have personal preferences for a reason. Whether they know it inherently or not, we all have personal preferences. We honestly can’t get upset with that… But we have also been conditioned to publicly scorn bodies that don’t fit the mould of what we want to be or what we want (sometimes out of fear of being made fun of for admiring someone with a body that doesn’t fit society’s standards- society’s preference). This is seen on the covers of magazines and on television gossip shows.
The absence of this common phenomenon (societal preference) would not change people’s personal preferences. But what it could do is allow people to speak a little kindlier about other bodies. In turn, creating a space that leaves little room for insecurity about not having someone admire you because you don’t feel “good enough” physically. Instead, we could accept that a personal preference is just that- a preference. I am not saying it wouldn’t sting, but might there be as much “I wish I could look like them” discussion? You would know that you are already good enough, the other person would know this too. Tastes just differ, that’s all.
Of course, this is my ideal world, because I have had that discussion with myself and others a few times. The world has not changed. This does not men we have to change ourselves to fit the world. Imagine the person who wants you exactly as you are right now.