Buried Alive


Reassinging, Looks (p.1’s) by pisaquaririse
July 6, 2008, 5:19 pm
Filed under: Antibodies, gender pimps, Interconnected!, PUKE, WhatAboutMEEEE

In my laziest move to date*, I am starting two new series with the same post.

“Reassigning” will be a series on the ways we reassign different feelings upon coming to feminism, how the transition process works to redefine and change our behaviors. And when I say “we” I’m speaking theoretically, distantly (you don’t speak for my individualisticness pisaquari!–I know knob, I know). If I feel up to it I may chronicle a bit of my own journey.

The second, which I self-debated doing, is on Looks or Physical Appearance, as I have called it. Thinking I’ve sort of covered my feelings on this I still feel feminism has not addressed this problem for the widespread, self-esteem-crippling issue it is. That bothers me.

A question (or possibly just venting statement stamped with a rhetorical question mark) was posed in the “Physical Appearance” thread by Buggle–one I feel appropriately introduces both new series:

I am guilty of “not wanting to see” that physical attraction is just bullshit. I don’t want to lose that feeling of being attracted to my boyfriend- so I don’t want to really “go there.” I was noticing that this weekend, that is the inevitable conclusion, but I’m scared to go there. What will I lose out on? And what if he realizes that his attraction to me is based on bullshit?

Well, first of all, me too Buggle! Seeing physical attraction for the media-frenzied, constructed, cruel bull shit it is has some far-reaching implications. Re-worded: it changes the way we see everyone. For women, it changes a great deal of how we view ourselves. I’ll get into that with later posts but right now, for anticipation purposes, I am making this post an overview.

To go along with the Looks series you will have to accept the undeniable truth that there is no scientific proof our brains take innate pleasure in certain human physical features (sexist science studies omitted—Ultra Darwinists run along now). We construct that. This, perhaps, wouldn’t be such a problem except that we then dish out preferential treatment to those in possession of certain characteristics. And no, btw, having your own standards seemingly different from everyone else’s (puh!) does not negate your discriminatory behavior. That’s too close to Nice Guy syndrome for my tastes anyway.

(Oh, and dontchaknow, *individuals* tastes often look quite similar to media representations of “beauty”! Logic-Lobotomied-Lou sez…. “Must be true!!”)

As I have known it, those not wanting to admit to social constructs err on the side of privilege. The construct benefits them, gives them an extra boost by society whether it be acceptance, admiration, financial power, respect, pleasure (many times a combination)–all unfairly and all the while perpetuating a standard wherein other people not meeting the standard continue to be oppressed for it.

Luckily feminism is not (supposed to be!) a game of selfish indulgences in privilege. Once you find out/accept that some idea is fake it becomes devalued immediately. And then one can begin reassigning different emotional and intellectual weights to certain actions/beliefs. Thereby making us more aware which better gives us the tools for prevention which allows us to circumvent the problem (to the best of our abilities) which removes that much more power from the privilege/oppression system which means that much more harm is not being done.

My unsolicited advice then, to more specifically respond to Buggle’s quote, would be to say: there is nothing really to lose. Rather than looking at someone and saying “I don’t want to lose this physical attraction feeling” you simply do not register the physical characteristics with any emotional preference. You cannot lose what you do not believe exists.

But that is a process of education, perspective and time. (Oh and guts.) And like most aspect of feminism, dare I say, becomes a point of never looking back.

* I know: you waited over a week and all you got was a stinkin’ overview! The next couple posts are practically written, tho, promises.

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32 Comments so far
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Well physical attraction itself ain’t bullshit I would say, just the way it is constructed. ie only certain people can be desirable. It reminds me of when I was talking to a woman in a bar and there was some music video on with about 5 different women who were so heavily made up they looked like clones of each other, appearing for no good reason (they weren’t singing, just acting as accessories to the male singer). Me and my mate commented on how sexist it was and the other woman said “Well you have to admit they’re beautiful” – well no I didn’t actually. Cos I didn’t think they were attractive at all – they barely looked human, let alone attractive.

Comment by polly styrene

“Well physical attraction itself ain’t bullshit I would say, just the way it is constructed.”

How would it be constructed so as not to be bull shit?

Comment by pisaquaririse

Pisaquari is back. Yay!

By the same token body type attraction is socially conditioned so everyone is innately bisexual. 😉 One of my favourite quotes is from Sonja Johnson and she just says, “I was born sexual”. That is how I tend to think of sexuality unconstrained by gender or capitalism. We are all born sexual and then a heap of gender training and conditioning leaves us fucked up and confused.

But for all my resistance to gender and appearance regulation I do still worry about what I look like. Which is pretty ridiculous. Because I am supremely uninterested in coupling with anyone. In fact I tend to be suspicious of people who are attracted to me. Especially when I am looking feminine. Because I know why they are attracted and that they are therefore a waste of time.

Comment by allecto

That’s the spirit allecto!

“We are all born sexual and then a heap of gender training and conditioning leaves us fucked up and confused.”

Spot on.

“But for all my resistance to gender and appearance regulation I do still worry about what I look like.”

Oh me too. It’s the pits. Mostly I try to be invisible. Very difficult.

“In fact I tend to be suspicious of people who are attracted to me. Especially when I am looking feminine. Because I know why they are attracted and that they are therefore a waste of time.”

Yes! Amazing the change in how people treat you too. Night and day, really. Pretty much the topic for my next post. 🙂

Comment by pisaquaririse

How would it be constructed so as not to be bullshit? Well it would be personal – ie beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I mean I think Patti Smith is hawt, and Judith Butler, and Ali Smith (writer) but I’ve never seen any of them in Heat magazine.

Comment by polly styrene

I wish to write something about “looks” and how I feel about it.
I feel that recently I have aimed towards being invisble through my own looks. This has meant becoming fat and wearing scruffy clothes.
I think this because all my life, looks have endangered me.
My mother dressed me and my sister as small fashion statement. We became small French Vogue “models”.
This stopped me from being a child. I was not allow to rough up my clothes. I love climbing trees, me and my sister often played roughly. We were happy.
But we learnt not mess up our clothes. We learnt to be just be clean and still in the adult gaze.
Part of that gaze was my stepdad, who would go on to sexually abuse me. In his eyes my look was just porn. I needed to be sexed up, that was my role.
When I abused when I was thin. In my mind I asssociated losing any rights to dignity and safety to my thin times.
When I was prostituted, I was so thin, I looked like I was on the edge of death.
Men who choose to used prostituted women and girls often choose the ones that look sick. They enjoy the power of rapng and abusing women and girls who have no power.
I looked thin, sick, and on the verge of suicide -but the men used me over and over.
So for me looks are terrifying.
I would rather hide behide my fatness. It is a relief to view as unattractive.

Comment by rmott62

I have to agree with Polly here, sexual attraction in and of itself is not bullshit, AND I would say that it does not necessarily have to be based on looks at all. Of course, the way we construct physical attraction in our culture, and how there is only one (or a few) narrow standards of what constitutes “beauty” is total BS. There’s no question about that.
I think someone could be sexually attracted to or somewhat infatuated with someone else just based the person’s wit, or charm, or outlook on life, and not necessarily because of looks.
Furthermore, I think that what’s really lost in our culture’s definition of “sexual attraction” is true and real sensuality. And I am not talking “sensuality” like red lingerie or lipstick, I am talking being really in touch with your bodies senses. With appreciating the little things and characteristics distinctive to that individual to whom you are attracted (the lilt of their speech, their facial expressions, their smile, the way they touch you, etc.).
And let’s say we are talking about PHYSICAL attraction, or beauty, that, as Polly said, is up to the individual in a non-patriarchal society. One can admire the person’s slope of their nose, the back of their neck, their own scent, etc.
So, I think our racist patriarchal/capitalist culture has really obliterated the importance of sensuality, as I’ve described it above, and replaced it with a BS construct of “sex” and “beauty.”
One more thing, I think in a lot of analysis of the BS that is “sexual attraction” and “beauty” (as our culture constructs it) has missed out on the White-centricness of it. Women of color are constantly pressured to look more and more like white/Nordic women, everything from their hair to their skin tone to their body type. That is why I believe strongly that racism, sexism, and capitalism intersect and rely on each other to exist and oppress white women and women of color.

Comment by Lara

“Well it would be personal – ie beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

I don’t understand why that makes it any better. I don’t understand how *personal* preference negates the occurrence of the prejudicial behavior. Even if the masses are not practicing the same “beauty” preferences (anyone ever seen Serling’s “Eye of the Beholder” btw?) they still are assigning higher value to someone’s involuntary often immutable status/genetic externalities and shouldn’t we not do that? Isn’t that the basis of so many prejudices–that we see certain colors or body parts and assign them certain values? When, as we hopefully can all agree, they have no inherent value. The only way to do that is make them up. And then only grant *certain people with those characteristics* those values.

To keep with this train of thought I’ll respond to Lara’s point next:

“I have to agree with Polly here, sexual attraction in and of itself is not bullshit, AND I would say that it does not necessarily have to be based on looks at all.”

To be clear, this post-which is essentially stemming from the “Physical Appearance” one-is about physical aspects only. While the two cross over a good bit (which I find problematic–possible post) I have not mentioned “sexual attraction.”

“One can admire the person’s slope of their nose, the back of their neck, their own scent, etc.”

The question then, to me, is what is *admirable* about those qualities? Why should those people with those certain slopes, curves, etc be considered *better* looking on some scale? And isn’t this also dipping into a lot of the gaze issues women have with the way they are viewed. Plenty of men have complimented my neck before (would not make it better of women did it)–and it skeeved me the fuck out.
I don’t know why the body parts you’ve listed (reeks of objectification and fetishization imo) would make the “beauty” standards any better.

“I think this because all my life, looks have endangered me.”

Yes I understand Rebecca. Looks have been given absurd amounts of meaning, including dangerous presumptions for women’s sexual status. It’s unreal.

“So for me looks are terrifying.
I would rather hide behide my fatness. It is a relief to view as unattractive.”

Which says plenty about our society and what it means to be invisible. That you are able to do this by mere fat says loads about our sizeism. Bitter sweetly, I am glad you are at least now able to avoid the harassment that often comes with meeting other people’s beauty standards.

Comment by pisaquaririse

Physical attraction is only ‘prejudicial’ if you use it to prejudge other, irrelevant, things about a person. Now in terms of people I’m not interested in sexually, I don’t judge them on terms of physical attraction at all. But if I’m going to be attracted to someone sexually I have to think they’re physically attractive. I don’t see how that’s prejudicial though. Because a) quite often even if you’re physically attracted to someone they aren’t attracted to you and vice versa, so that’s just the human condition, nothing to be done about it and b)I’m not judging people as friends or work colleagues or relatives on their physical attractiveness and even in terms of people I am sexually attracted to I don’t judge them necessarily on their physical attractiveness. But you DO have to be physically attracted to somebody to want to make the beast with two backs with them, that’s what it’s all about.

Comment by Polly Styrene

And lots of people might not think me wanting to sleep with them is ‘preferential treatment’ anyways….

Comment by Polly Styrene

“Now in terms of people I’m not interested in sexually, I don’t judge them on terms of physical attraction at all. But if I’m going to be attracted to someone sexually I have to think they’re physically attractive.”

This seems a contradiction. If physical attraction must come before sexual attraction but you’ve decided you’re not interested in someone sexually haven’t you indeed already judged them physically.

I also must say I am endlessly fascinated by people who claim to be able to judge only certain people’s physical attractiveness. Like, one person you can choose to register the physical attractiveness and the other you just don’t?
No offense, I don’t believe that for a second.

“Physical attraction is only ‘prejudicial’ if you use it to prejudge other, irrelevant, things about a person.”

To me, though, physical attraction in and of itself is the irrelevant part. There are no features on a human body/face that innately arouse/interest us visually. So the attraction is irrelevant. And then, even as you say you do, we use those irrelevant features to decide which people to associate with for a whole bunch of reasons.
That’s prejudice in my book.

As well, the large scale ramifications of these practices (no matter how personal or how they are used) make people very self conscious, image obsessed and shallow. It also feeds the wide-spread, indoctrinated belief that looks can be used to gain other things/accomplishments/interests. It is this belief which continues to hurt women on a massive scale.

“But you DO have to be physically attracted to somebody to want to make the beast with two backs with them, that’s what it’s all about.”

Why is that?

“And lots of people might not think me wanting to sleep with them is ‘preferential treatment’ anyways….”

I think you may be half kidding around here but in the case you are not: the preferential treatment is an occurrence depending on your behavior. It doesn’t matter how the other person perceives it.

Comment by pisaquaririse

From an artsy fartsy perspective it seems as silly to me as having a favorite color.
How is that possible? How can colors be beautiful/not beautiful? I don’t think they can. But preferences can be conditioned, and I think they are.

Comment by thebewilderness

“those not wanting to admit to social constructs err on the side of privilege. The construct benefits them, gives them an extra boost by society whether it be acceptance, admiration, financial power, respect, pleasure (many times a combination)–all unfairly and all the while perpetuating a standard wherein other people not meeting the standard continue to be oppressed for it.”

So, so true! Excellent post, Pisaquari. 🙂

Comment by Maggie Hays

“How can colors be beautiful/not beautiful? I don’t think they can. But preferences can be conditioned, and I think they are.”

I don’t really know either.
I do think there are certain colors that are harder to see but that’s a functional issue–limitations of the eye. Beauty as color is just one more way to create a demand and then get rich meeting it.

I am Truth Teller! thanks Maggie.

Comment by pisaquaririse

“The question then, to me, is what is *admirable* about those qualities? Why should those people with those certain slopes, curves, etc be considered *better* looking on some scale?”

Pisaquari, I think I wasn’t clear in my previous comment. I did not mean that everyone should like certain physical features on a person (as in, slope of nose, neck, etc.). I just mean that if a particular individual likes a particular person for who they are (as in their character, personality, etc.), they will probably grow a liking to that person’s physical features too as a result. I find that physical attractiveness or beauty can become more apparent after you get to know someone’s character or views on things, etc.
With regards to finding body parts attractive, again, it is an aftermath of loving or liking the person as a whole human. Liking backs, or breasts, or certain parts IN GENERAL is when it becomes fetishization or sexualization. I hope that makes sense?

Comment by Lara

“I did not mean that everyone should like certain physical features on a person (as in, slope of nose, neck, etc.)…”

I didn’t actually get from your comment that you thought everyone should like certain characteristics (b/c it’s wrong to me either way) and I don’t think (?) the portion of my comment you responded to implied that.

“I just mean that if a particular individual likes a particular person for who they are (as in their character, personality, etc.)they will probably grow a liking to that person’s physical features too as a result.”

Yes.
However, this post is not really about people’s joy of personality and character. I understand that those items make us more *attracted* to someone as a sort of pulling effect–where it’s not so much a physical thing as it is an emotional attraction. They maybe like looking at the person more but that’s because (I would argue) they love *who* that person is without concern for what s/he looks like.

This post is about physical appearance standards/preferences/judgments/etc only. I don’t necessarily disagree with your above point.

Comment by pisaquaririse

Much as I don’t want to fall out with the onlie begetter of ‘cowblogphobia’ Pisaquari, I think you’re being a bit deliberately obtuse. Yeah, when I meet anyone I register whether I think they’re attractive or not. I mean I don’t (consciously) let it influence my behaviour otherwise towards them.

The problem is not physical attraction in and of itself it’s how people act as a result of it. Which in the case of a lot of men seems to think they have the right to harass that person. Or give them preferential treatment. I actually think most women are a bit smarter than that. You will here women say a man is ‘too good looking’, for instance. Ever heard a man say that?

Unfortunately I am a stupid evol predatory lesbian and blinded by hawtness…..

Comment by Polly Styrene

“Unfortunately I am a stupid evol predatory lesbian and blinded by hawtness…..”

Behoove 🙂

Comment by sparklematrix

I never obtuse deliberately.

But no, seriously, I am happy to agree to disagree Polly as we differ on a fundamental point: “The problem is not physical attraction in and of itself”–as I maintain: I still don’t think value judgments should ever be made about someone’s genetic and immutable status.
And while you may indeed have no behavior changes from this it has never been my experience/observation that what happens in the brain simply stays there. The manifestations of these preferences I have noticed to be quite damaging (and of course–I’m talking more about the menz here but theoretically it still applies to everyone).

Fall outs with cowblog are certainly the least of my interests.

Comment by pisaquaririse

So then, would we have to suppress feeling sexually attracted to someone period? Do you believe that physical or sexual attraction is not natural at all? I ask because I am trying to figure out what your solution to this problem is (the problem of making value judgements, of physical attraction, based on appearance)…

Comment by Lara

“So then, would we have to suppress feeling sexually attracted to someone period?”

I don’t ever suggest suppressing anything one feels sexually. I think that aggravates the problem. So, no. I will answer this more fully in a few comments.

“Do you believe that physical or sexual attraction is not natural at all?”

Big Question but no, I really do not. I would venture to say human connection (as in same species) and love is a natural need but I do not believe we are born innately desiring certain body parts or features, types of people, etc.

“I ask because I am trying to figure out what your solution to this problem is (the problem of making value judgements, of physical attraction, based on appearance)…”

Right and I kind of anticipated this, hence the “reassigning” series to go along with it. There really isn’t a course of action/solution needed with this that isn’t needed with any other change people make when coming to feminism. You feel something is wrong, people describe how it works and you start making the connection in your own life–roughly. I didn’t see and feel all sorts of things before really digging into feminism and listening to other views. It’s amazing how just words can turn something inside out. I feel completely different with respect to many things/activities now.
That’s all reassigning is to me. And because it has been my experience people can get a little irritated when newer controversial statements/complaints are made (not saying you are) I decided to put a rather detailed analysis on behavior change to accompany the Looks series.

I will say, though, if it is one’s feelings/opinion something is natural they will be less inclined to receive the criticism of it. I’ve never seen any conclusive, non-sexist science that says who or what we are attracted to is natural. But I expect people feel they do it rather easily and that it is rather harmless. Part of this series is to show it is no such thing.

I’m waiting till the traffic dies down to continue on–sorry to stir the shit and then delay.

Comment by pisaquaririse

Hmm interesting one this Pisaquiri – have you ever seen one of those newspaper features in which they either get pictures of all someone’s different partners and prove how alike they look, or show how they look like that person’s mother father. The theory is that looks wise we are attracted to someone who looks like a significant figure in our lives. We’re not sexually attracted to family members because of the incest taboo, but we are attracted to people who look like them – that’s why there are all those cases of people ‘separated at birth’ meeting up and being attracted.

Comment by Polly Styrene

I’m excited to hear more about this. It’s funny, cause last night the boyfriend was telling me that part of the reason that he exercises is because he’s not that attractive so he wants to at least stay in shape. First I laughed, because I was surprised. Then I realized, he feels the same way I do. He doesn’t realize that I’m not with him because of the way he looks. But, I am “attracted” to him now. I put that in quotes because who the hell even knows what that means 🙂 I mean, he has a really cute ass. Super duper adorable. And sometimes he just looks so damn “hot” to me. Is it because he is tall with dark hair, and that fits with the like, construct I have in my head about what an attractive man looks like?

Don’t know if that made any sense at all 🙂

Comment by buggle

Buggle, I am also down with cute asses on men. I mean, you’ve gotta have something to squeeze every now and then when you’re stressed out….

Comment by Lara

Sorry I took long to respond to your reply Pisaquarise.

“I would venture to say human connection (as in same species) and love is a natural need but I do not believe we are born innately desiring certain body parts or features, types of people, etc.”

Hmm, but does physical or sexual attraction have to be connected to “certain body parts or features”? I mean, I don’t think it has to be, and that was my original point, which I probably didn’t get across well. 😛

“I will say, though, if it is one’s feelings/opinion something is natural they will be less inclined to receive the criticism of it. I’ve never seen any conclusive, non-sexist science that says who or what we are attracted to is natural. But I expect people feel they do it rather easily and that it is rather harmless.”

Yeah, well, I think that most things in our culture, whether scientific studies, commentaries on culture, philosophy, etc. is sexist because we live in a patriarchal culture. And I agree with you, any study that is there to tell us what we as a “group” are supposed to find attractive is bullshit. It’s just used as mind-control. I guess it is a touchy subject since sexual attraction is so incredibly intimate and morphed and shaped by our culture since we are practically toddlers.
I am awaiting your more detailed post tackling this question 🙂

Comment by Lara

[…] from Buried Alive writes Reassigning Looks examining our notions of physical attraction. Seeing physical attraction for the media-frenzied, […]

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Okay this blogger sucks.
Here I am getting back to the now dusty comments.

“Hmm interesting one this Pisaquiri – have you ever seen one of those newspaper features in which they either get pictures of all someone’s different partners and prove how alike they look, or show how they look like that person’s mother father.”

Yes I have heard this theory Polly.
I’ve also heard the one where people are attracted to facial symmetry or of men going after women who appear to be “fertile” (long, glossy hair, big lips and eyes, big breasts, etc barf etc barf, etc).
I would wonder, based on the “significant person” theory, just how many guys had significant women (mothers?) in their lives with small waists and large abnormally perky breasts, big hair, thin bodies, puffy lips, etc…”Babes” people call them here.

“I’m excited to hear more about this.”
Well thankya buggle–I anticipate this series to drag my stats down so any contributions you have–please :).
“Is it because he is tall with dark hair, and that fits with the like, construct I have in my head about what an attractive man looks like?”

Pisaquari prefers to steer clear of such a pronouncement–commenter’s personal decisions is getting a little too sensitive for my tastes. If what I say hits a nerve I imagine people will find their own ways to apply it. As per the butt comment, I can only say that having myself a socially attractive bottom has caused me a lot of distress. :/ (which is along the lines of the topic for the next post, incidentally)

“Hmm, but does physical or sexual attraction have to be connected to “certain body parts or features”? I mean, I don’t think it has to be, and that was my original point, which I probably didn’t get across well.”

Good question.
As I am explaining it physical attraction does indeed deal with the physical parts of our externalities–I’ve never understood physical attraction to be anything but. The certain “body parts or features” comment was made because it seems to me people are initially (anyways) attracted to portions of people, certain aspects that makes the whole that much better. It doesn’t have to be that way of course.
And while I am not actually trying to get into the sexual attraction idea (that’s a very vague concept, broad and all inclusive) I will probably have to address it. That physical attraction so often becomes synonymous (as I said earlier) with *sexual* attraction is incredibly problematic.
And I think if anyone knows this it is women.

Comment by pisaquaririse

Hmm well the problem isn’t sexual attraction per se is it, (even though we’re not meant to be discussing it) the problem is the consequences of this supposed sexual attraction. And how an OVERWHELMING attraction (allegedly) is used to excuse all kinds of crap.

Comment by Polly Styrene

Hey there, when I ask a question, I just want to know what you think. I won’t be offended, promise 🙂 I learn best by hearing what all sorts of people think.

I talked to my boyfriend about his butt last night. Heh:) I know he’s very excited that I’m talking about his ass on a blog.

Heh, that was my end-of-the-day very exciting comment for you. Fascinating, I know!

Comment by buggle

Late to the party, as usual.

Mainly, WHAT LARA SAID.

But how I think about it–how I think about a lot of things, is that they’re not necessarily problematic in and of themselves. I mean, if certain types of appearance weren’t privileged, if appearance itself weren’t privileged over other parts/attributes of a person, people’s individual attractions wouldn’t matter. Just like, if people with penises weren’t privileged over people with vulvas, there would be no sexism. We’d still have the parts, but they wouldn’t dictate anything about us except our potential to have babies or not, and we wouldn’t be running around doing all the stupid stuff that’s expected of us based on the contents of our panties. If xtianity weren’t part and parcel of political power in the US, if it weren’t used to make laws that limit people’s freedom and cause them harm, I wouldn’t give a flying fuck that right-wingers hate lesbians, because frankly it’s mutual, at least for me. They could go live in a cave and never see any dykes and that would be fine with me. But they get to make laws about us, beat us up or rape us or kill us and get away with it, and that is NOT fine.

It’s the POWER, the privileging, the hierarchy that’s the problem, not the thing itself–with appearance, the fact that people who look a certain way are held up as “sexy” and rewarded for that, with multimillion dollar movie deals or presidencies or what have you, and the rest of us aren’t. AND the fact that, as in your “no more no” piece, women who conform in appearance, whether by choice or no, have that used as an excuse for sexual harassment. Let’s be clear, it is obviously not only conventionally pretty women who are ever sexually harassed, raped, whatever, but I think sometimes, in some contexts, it matters.

Otherwise, yeah, what Lara said. It’s possible to be drawn to, to like and love people (or alternately to be repelled by them), for all kinds of reasons, and the appeal of their physical being may be a part of that initially, may come later, or may not matter at all, depending on that there beholder. We definitely have a responsibility to interrogate why we’re attracted to the people we are, especially if we’re making excuses for being attracted to people who are conventionally attractive. (Like, someone once said to me that she just thought that fit people were naturally so much more attractive. You know, ask yourself WHY you think that, girlfriend.) But I also agree with polly that early experiences have an effect; I’m attracted to larger people because I was raised by large people. Large bodies inspire me with feelings of comfort and warmth in a way that thin bodies don’t. And I’m pretty sure that’s not a result of social conditioning, given the fat-hating we’re all surrounded by. I’ve looked at my attractions and thought about them and it’s okay with me, and I’m sure glad there are other women in the world who feel the same way.

Comment by Amy's Brain Today

Hey Amy–sorry for the delayed response.

“I mean, if certain types of appearance weren’t privileged, if appearance itself weren’t privileged over other parts/attributes of a person, people’s individual attractions wouldn’t matter. [this paragraph]”

Yes—I don’t know if I understand this paragraph?
The comment specifically quoted I basically agree with though if I am being picky I would write it: “physical individual attractions wouldn’t exist.”

“It’s the POWER, the privileging, the hierarchy that’s the problem, not the thing itself–with appearance, the fact that people who look a certain way are held up as “sexy” and rewarded for that,..”

I agree with this. I hope my post isn’t coming off like I have issues with “the thing itself”–people having any certain physical features (?).
What I mean is the standards—which may be the same as hierarchy to you. It sounds we agree on this?

“ But I also agree with polly that early experiences have an effect”

I would agree with that as well. I think early experiences affect us all sorts of ways. I just don’t think it’s any proven method for understanding the way most humans work wrt to physical attractions. To that end I also don’t think early experiences creating the hierarchy make having a hierarchy any better.

“I’ve looked at my attractions and thought about them and it’s okay with me, and I’m sure glad there are other women in the world who feel the same way.”

I would venture to say most women in the world feel that way–no need to feel alone in that.
I guarantee you my views on this are rather unpopular and uncommon.

Comment by pisaquaririse

[…] from Buried Alive writes Reassigning Looks examining our notions of physical attraction. Seeing physical attraction for the media-frenzied, […]

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