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July 1, 2021

We Do Not Exist just to be Objects of Sexual Desire.

The other day, I overheard a conversation between men about how they don’t care to learn what a woman does for a living on a first date.

As if, on first meeting, her mind and what inspires her is the least important thing about her.

Lately, I’ve been surrounded by more and more of this kind of “man-talk.”

Hearing men objectify women. Talking about their and (even my own) bodies as if it’s in their right to comment on them because “men are visual creatures” and “it’s biology.”

I do understand this to some extent. It is natural to look and notice appearances and, to be fair, women also make these comments toward men.

I’ve been watching the latest season of “Love Island” that just aired on Monday. It’s a reality show where hot singles couple up and get eliminated each week, and they walk around a villa in tiny bikinis with cameras on them 24-7.

In one episode, one of the girls made a comment about how she wasn’t attracted to one of the guys because he wasn’t “gym-y” enough.

I was furious! I thought about how unfair that comment was—the guy was a semi-pro Football player; he was obviously healthy and in shape and strong, but he didn’t fit a certain aesthetic so she wasn’t attracted to him?

It inspired a conversation around sexual preference and whether we are entitled to those preferences because we “don’t choose who we are attracted to.”

Well, for those who believe that, I challenge you to go deeper.

Why? Why are you only attracted to men with big muscles who look like they go to the gym?

Why are you attracted to women with flat abs and a big booty?

Why do you claim you’re “just not attracted to Black people or to Asian women”—a claim I have heard multiple times by men (not only white).

Much of this is our conditioning. If we grew up with Black women with curly hair, or curvier women, or even just women with pixie-cut hair, at the forefront of our media as protagonists and objects of sexual desire, I am sure that is what we would deem as more conventionally attractive.

I don’t believe our sexual preference is just “a preference.”

When I hear this kind of talk, my initial reaction is to internalize it. I feel insecure, and I feel like because this is what I’m hearing and seeing around me, it must mean that is truth for all individuals, everywhere.

I will never find love or be deemed good-looking if I don’t conform to this beauty standard. And this is what fuels disordered eating, body image issues, obsessive exercise.

I spent a few days mulling these thoughts over and trying to work through in my own mind whether I want to live a life striving to be as beautiful as possible or whether there’s an alternative.

I concluded the latter.

How about we shift the conversation?

How about we spend time with people who are willing to look at these things more deeply, people who want to know what you do for a living, people who care about the person underneath the exterior?

There is more to life than just being hot.

We do not exist to be an object of sexual desire.

Yes, it’s nice to be attractive. But that also doesn’t mean we necessarily have to be attractive to everyone.

Maybe half the population believes these things about appearances, but there’s another half who doesn’t.

There are people out there who will fall for every part of you, and who will desire you because of so much more than your body—because of your likes and dislikes, your sense of humour, the way you laugh, the causes you are passionate about.

And, to be honest, as a past coach of mine said, why would we want to conform to a culture that oppresses another group of people?

Why would I want to manipulate and try and fix my body just so I’ll forever be chasing some impossible beauty standard that only a certain few with certain genetics can actually ever achieve?

I can’t change society as a whole, but I can change my habits, the way I speak, who I spend my time with, and what I consume.

If I spent my life chasing hotness, I think that’d be a pretty shallow and boring life.

There’s more to life than just being hot, and letting go of that idea frees me up to soak in what’s really important.

And, as a writer especially, I want to live deeply, below the surface.



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