[using “they” as a nongendered pronoun for an individual]
Someone I know on line but not in real life posted a filtered entry (only available to people they chose to show it to) describing the attendance at a party they went to as “four butt-ugly women” and about twenty men of various degrees of attractiveness. Because I think a lot about “ugliness,” and more so recently because Laurie and I have been posting about it, I asked them what “butt-ugly” meant. They said, “morbidly obese,” and then went on to say that in fact one woman was so thin that she would be attractive only if you liked “the Buchenwald look.”
I said I thought they and I were not on the same page, and further discussion would not be productive. In further comments, someone else expressed pleasure that I asked the question, and a fourth person leaped to the original poster’s “defense,” pointing out (quite correctly) that anyone has a right to be attracted to whatever they are attracted to. I went back to agree with that, and found that the post had been made private to avoid a “tussle” about the issue.
So I’ll react here.
1) Everyone not only has a right to be attracted or not-attracted to whatever suits their fancy, they often don’t have a choice, and almost no one has a short-term, immediate-moment choice. The only thing I have to say about that other than “Follow your instincts” is that it can be wise to pay attention to how personal responses are culturally mediated. When my responses are the ones the dominant culture is working so hard to inculcate, I want to know how much I’m being affected by that culture, think about whether I want to change it, and work to change it if I want to.
2) Consider the following statements:
“Generally, I am most attracted to women within a certain weight range.”
“I’m not attracted to women over or under a certain weight.”
“I’m not attracted to morbidly obese or stick-thin women.”
“Morbidly obese women and stick-thin women are butt-ugly.”
Beyond a doubt, there are people I don’t especially like to look at. I cannot imagine describing a human being as “butt-ugly.”