Tuesday, November 18, 2008

sexy is as sexy does

so kate and the gang at shapely prose had a post up this past august, which i am only just reading, about attraction and whether or not a person should include efforts at finding fat people attractive as they progress through fat acceptance. the article can be found here.

the things that struck me were two more or less. one being the idea of attraction. we get told, rather often, that attraction is animal and natural and not a social construct. but our concept of beauty and sexual worth is a social construct. i think it's interesting, and i might add admirable, that anyone would be willing to own their social conditioning and allow that they might have missed out on a wonderful relationship or three because they thought someone was too fat. or too thin. or too disabled. or whatever other characteristic they've been enculturated to find non preferential in a mate or potential sex partner. i had never really thought about why i find certain people attractive or why i don't, and i know i'm still working through some of my initial judgement of people based on their outsides. but a really good point was brought up (ok a whole bunch were but this struck me) in the comments about how FA isn't about forcing the world to find fat bodies sexually appealing but rather about according fat people with the respect and dignity due every person regardless of whether you find them sexually appealing or not.

which might be the tie in i've been missing for why FA is a feminist movement at it's core. because yeah, i'm still struggling with the feminist thing and i make some progress and then i take a few steps back. i can get behind the fight for reproductive heath rights, ad the fight for equal rights under the law for EVERYONE, and i can begin to get behind the fight to see more women in top executive spots. but i stumble when it comes to looking for sexism in everything i do, see, read, listen to, touch or taste. i have trouble separating myself from my own privilege as a white middle class woman. so maybe i just have to be hit over the head with a clue by four but the idea that the sexual attractiveness of a person, their decorative ability, might be a measure of their worth in the world at large was one i had a hard time wrapping my head around. (M-O-O-N that spells uptake) because on some level i still crave that outside affirmation of my sexual attractiveness. i want men and women to notice me when i feel i look good. i want the vision of me in my head to be reflected in the eyes of people who look at me.

which brings me to part two in which i was reminded just how close i came to passing up the relationship i'm in now. because he's tall and thin, and i mean knee jerk reaction feed the boy a sandwich thin, and i thought i couldn't date a guy that i out weight by 80 lbs or so. my level of attraction was irrelevant because i just knew he wouldn't find me to be attractive. more importantly i was sure that he might find me decent looking with my clothes on, cause i can dress this body pretty damned well thankyouverymuch, but with my clothes off.... a whole other story of soft jiggling flesh would be revealed against the slim muscle of his body and i just knew it would make me seem 10 times fatter and just kill the mood. so i rejected the idea of intimacy with him, and refused to see the reciprocity of attraction until i realized that i was moving out of state and leaving behind someone i was insanely attracted to, and insanely compatible with, because i was hung up on his waist measurement. and when i put it that way i realized how stupid i was being. and thank god i came the my senses, because he is a constant delight and has made the move to another state so much less lonely and frightening and stressful.

so i can add this attraction thing to the growing list of things i think i need to re-evaluate. and i like the concept of working to find something good in the look of every person rather than mindlessly responding to them as a set of physical characteristics. will is suddenly develop a lust for the very large? i don't know. and that's ok.

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