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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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110 Responses

  1. Gruntle
    Gruntle May 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm |

    I worry that, when criticizing a few men on their ethnic fetishes and a few creepy obsessions, an undercurrent of the sentiment “white men should only date and mingle with their own race” is not also being put across.

    Of course, if a white man said that he would only date white women, he’d probably get a similar wrath and backlash. Which is to say, he would be portrayed as racist either way.

  2. Angel H.
    Angel H. May 12, 2012 at 6:09 pm |

    Racefail in the first comment! Congratulations, Gruntle.

    If you had bothered to read the article, you would see that the point wasn’t that people shouldn’t date outside of their race (“Three cheers for interracial relationships!”); it was that people shouldn’t date someone just because they’re Asian or Black or Latina. And they shouldn’t expect that person to live up to some fetishized stereotype.

  3. Alexandra
    Alexandra May 12, 2012 at 6:21 pm |

    You know how you might indicate, as a white person, that you’re open to people of all ethnic backgrounds?

    “I’m open to people of all ethnic backgrounds.”

    Do you know how you might respond to an attractive person of another race online?

    “Hey, nice pics! So tell me a little more about _____ from your profile, if you don’t mind – it sounds interesting!”

  4. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh May 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm |

    Racefail in the first comment! Congratulations, Gruntle.

    The name and the schtick sounded familiar, so I looked, and evidently he pulled some gender fail in the Why “I prefer small boobs” isn’t helping thread. There he was whining that men can’t win, now he’s proving that he can do racefail too. Well-rounded failure, the dude is.

  5. valentifan69
    valentifan69 May 12, 2012 at 6:43 pm |

    it was that people shouldn’t date someone just because they’re Asian or Black or Latina. And they shouldn’t expect that person to live up to some fetishized stereotype.

    I don’t know. I think there’s something racist about the way the word fetish is used in this context. There are plenty of guys who go for blondes with big tits, but that wouldn’t usually get described as a fetish. That word normally gets reserved for attraction to non-white women.

  6. Angel H.
    Angel H. May 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm |

    I think there’s something racist about the way the word fetish is used in this context. There are plenty of guys who go for blondes with big tits, but that wouldn’t usually get described as a fetish.

    People! People! Let us not forget the White women! Even though this is a discussion of racialized fetishes, we must always remember to think of the White women.

  7. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet May 12, 2012 at 7:10 pm |

    I never wanted one, but one day I realized I had one!

    This makes a nice corollary with the other thread. Claiming how anti-whatever you are doesn’t mean squat about how you behave.

    In my case, it was my ex’s annoying habit of referring to men of color as “brother” really casually in interactions with them, like saying “thanks brother!” in a friendly way while taking his change. His defensiveness (“well, I’m part Pinoy!”) and his own inflated sense of righteousness kept him from seeing that the real people he was interacting with were, to put it charitably, not interpreting his words as a gesture of solidarity.

    Although nothing will ever top the guy who responded to the part of my OK Cupid profile where I mentioned I speak Portuguese with the line: “Give me a holla girl, I love white Brazilians! All the best black curves but your hair is still gorgeous!”

    I told him the part where he missed that I also mentioned I’m not Brazilian was the least offensive part of that email.

    Some of my (white) friends think its useful that some dudes just let all this rancid racism just all hang out in their profiles, because it makes the screening process that much easier. That annoys the shit out of me; they’d feel much differently if it were them being exoticized. So much solidarity for everyone who has to deal with that shit on the daily.

  8. Dominique
    Dominique May 12, 2012 at 7:17 pm |

    @valentifan69: I am quite sure blondes with so-called big tits feel very, very fetishized; just not in the same context.

  9. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet May 12, 2012 at 7:22 pm |

    but that usually wouldn’t get described as a fetish.

    Yes. Because racism. Whiteness is the cultural default.

  10. Denise
    Denise May 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm |

    @3, I responded to a profile of someone a different race from me last time I was on dating websites. I wrote to them like they were a person. I told him I thought he was cute and that we had the same taste in books. I didn’t feel the need to ask him about his race at all.

  11. Ornytus
    Ornytus May 12, 2012 at 8:01 pm |

    I have a confession to make. I see myself in some of these ugly stories. I have a fetish for muscular women and have been guilty of seeking them out online at times in the past. I’ve had some relationships this way, some good, some bad, because as I discovered (surprise, surprise) these women all have individual, full personalities, interests, and lives that go far deeper than their muscles. I don’t know if I was wrong in seeking out women in this way, as I always try to be honest and respectful but I am interested in the feedback which is never in short supply here.

  12. zuzu
    zuzu May 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm |

    So much fail.

    People, having a preference isn’t fetishism, and it isn’t racism. It’s when you elevate the preference over the person that things become icky.

    For example, nothing wrong with liking muscular women. Maybe you think it’s an indication that they’re athletic, and sports/keeping fit are important to you. But if you will *only* date a woman if she’s muscular, or if you seek women out *only* if they are muscular, or you don’t care what her personality is like as long as she’s muscular, or you drop her if she decides she wants to stop lifting (or becomes injured and can’t), or you insist on her maintaining her physique, then you’re creepy.

    With race, it’s when you seek people out from a different race than yours (rather than just randomly hook up because you have something in common) that things get have the potential to get creepy. Hey, if you’re a white guy and you find yourself more attracted to black women, or Asian women, on average, you’re probably not creepy unless you’re expecting them to embody some racial stereotype and the particular woman matters less than her race. Lots of women have big butts or small boobs or fiery tempers; they’re particular characteristics, not racial ones.

    I had a friend from college who was a white woman with long blond hair and a big butt. I watched over the years as she developed a fetish for black men. Some of it had to do with the fact that she got a lot more attention from black men than she did from white men, but she also started mythologizing: black men are like this, black men do this, black men like this, black men’s dicks are like this. None of which was universally true when you consider that black men are not a monolith, but individuals like anyone else. At one point, I introduced her to a white friend of mine I thought she might like, but she flatly stated that she no longer found white men attractive. I was so stunned I didn’t know what to say. We drifted apart, and shortly before we lost touch, she got engaged to a black man who had the same sorts of ideas about white women that she had about black men. I heard they eventually broke up, but it seemed like they were meant for each other.

  13. Mxe354
    Mxe354 May 12, 2012 at 9:07 pm |

    This article really hit home for me. To be quite honest, I’m still inclined to making prejudiced assumptions (most of which are positive, but positive stereotypes are still detrimental to society) about different groups of people, even though I hold progressive values and so on. I know it’s mostly because a lot of people I know are prejudiced, and they spew prejudiced beliefs all the time, but I won’t blame them for it entirely. In any case, it’s really distressing. And I’m not sure what to do. I’m a massive hypocrite. And I never want to tell myself that I’m just “naturally prejudiced” or some apologetic bullshit like that.

  14. Azalea
    Azalea May 12, 2012 at 9:17 pm |

    People! People! Let us not forget the White women! Even though this is a discussion of racialized fetishes, we must always remember to think of the White women.

    I would normally agree with you on race related issues but on this one, I do feel a bit of ick. When there is a discussion about a man’s preference for a “conventionally attractive” white woman it is NEVER viewed as a fetish it’s viewed as simply being shallow at best or the global beauty standard worst ( ie “normal” the assumption that ALL men EVERYWHERE prefer conventionally attractive white women over any other woman including women of their own race). But if a man, dare he be a white man (the horror!!!!) having a preference for “conventionally attractive” non white women, it’s a fetish (ie not normal) he couldn’t possibly *just* prefer the way they look it *must* be about some racist stereotypical thing. That’s icky, better yet…its messy.

    Its extremely possible to have a physical/sexual preference for a nonwhite woman because women with those features turn you on more and check your list of personality traits and character within that pool without being racist…towards your own race. I don’t give black men a hard time who have a preference for non-black women. it’s when someone flat out says they *refuse* to date a woman of a certain race because “none of them are attractive/smart/funny/moral/feminine/blah/blah/bliggity/blah” that I will throw down the race cards with might.

  15. Partial Human
    Partial Human May 12, 2012 at 9:18 pm |

    What I’ve learned from this discussion so far:

    -white men and women have many feels about race, so be careful not to hurt them

    – blondeness, large breasts, muscley physique = appropriate comparisons to race.

    A serious question. are these threads being announced on Reddit in advance? There are just so many first comment fails, and outbreaks of whiny neckbeards mansplaining from their basement pulpits.

  16. EG
    EG May 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm |

    Of course, if a white man said that he would only date white women, he’d probably get a similar wrath and backlash. Which is to say, he would be portrayed as racist either way.

    Fortunately, men seeking romantic or sexual partners have plenty of other options than two flavors of racism.

  17. DonnaL
    DonnaL May 12, 2012 at 9:42 pm |

    But if a man, dare he be a white man (the horror!!!!) having a preference for “conventionally attractive” non white women, it’s a fetish (ie not normal) he couldn’t possibly *just* prefer the way they look it *must* be about some racist stereotypical thing. That’s icky, better yet…its messy

    I completely agree with you that an assumption that a preference like that is a “fetish” is highly insulting to those women — it’s at least somewhat analogous to the fact that I find it insulting that any non-trans man who admits that he finds trans women attractive (never mind prefers them) is told that if he isn’t gay he has a fetish (once people have finished making the culturally-acceptable fake vomiting noises, of course!)

    But I’m not sure anyone here would make that assumption; it seems to me that it’s a lot more along the lines of what zuzu said in # 12.

  18. Claire K.
    Claire K. May 12, 2012 at 10:00 pm |

    We’ve been here already in previous threads, but it’s problematic even to say “I just happen to prefer people from this racial background because they’re more likely to have these physical traits which I find attractive –it’s not like I’m buying into some stereotype.” For instance, I know someone who says she prefers Asian men because she likes short men with black hair. Well, to start with, not all “Asian” men are short and not all have black hair. And then, how can she be sure she’s not actually buying into some stereotype without noticing it? After all, if we’re talking about groups often generalized as being short and having black hair, that could just as easily apply to Latinos. (Though again, I’d stress that there’s so much variation within these broad categories it’s often not useful to say ‘this group has these traits.’) It seems possible that the image of what Asian men are supposed to look like (short, black hair) has mingled in her mind with other stereotypes about Asian men (smart, harmless). In fact, the more discriminatory stereotype of Asian men as less dangerous, less masculine, or even impotent is pretty much inseparable from the physical stereotype of Asian men as short. So I’d look askance at racial preferences that claim to be purely physical/non-stereotypical as well.

  19. Lizzie
    Lizzie May 12, 2012 at 10:23 pm |

    Part of me agrees with Gruntle above that criticizing people with racial preferences in dating might bring out a reaction of separatism … however, even sites like Match.com and Chemistry.com allow people to select whether or not they would date outside of their race and, if they would, which races they prefer. Those sites are just out in the open, which, for some reason, is easier to deal with than the secrecy of it all.

  20. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll May 12, 2012 at 11:52 pm |

    Would you like a racist boyfriend?

    No.

    As for the race fail flail going on, I’m too damn tired from the last one.

  21. Mxe354
    Mxe354 May 13, 2012 at 1:29 am |

    I see that my comment wasn’t approved. I’m sorry if I sounded like I was trying to evoke sympathy and just talking about my lingering prejudiced attitudes without caring about eradicating them completely. I didn’t intend to brush aside my prejudice at all. However, I understand how poorly-phrased posts like my previous one can be harmful in that they engender apologetic attitudes towards prejudice, regardless of intention.

    Anyway, it’s really distressing to see how this form of racism is so pervasive on the internet. In particular, a lot of people on Omegle (which is a hellhole for other reasons as well) are specific about the race of the people they want to sext with. I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen someone come up on Omegle and say that they want to talk to, say, Chinese girls only.

  22. Angel H.
    Angel H. May 13, 2012 at 8:52 am |

    1) There is sexism. And then there is racialized sexism (sometimes known as sexualized racism). Fetishizing big-breasted blondes is an example of the former. Fetishizing Ghetto Black Queens, Spicy Latinas, and Tiny Asian Lillies is an example of the latter. Sexism and racialized sexism are connected, but they are not the same thing. (Neither is racism and sexualized racism, for that matter.)

    2) If a White person is in a relationship with a POC, it does not mean that there is fetishizing going on. There is a difference between being in a relationship with a person who just happens to be Black, and being in a relationship with a person because zie’s Black. The former is fine; the latter is racist.

    3) If you want a relationship someone because you share common interests and that person happens to be a POC, that is perfectly fine. If you want a relationship with someone because you want to know what it’s like to fuck a Black Guy w/ a Big Dick/Petite Asian Woman/Hot Latin Lover, that is fucked up and racist.

  23. matlun
    matlun May 13, 2012 at 9:29 am |

    Personally, I am not convinced by the examples in the article. Those surely could not be the worst ones? (I would have expected worse examples to be fairly common, actually. And no, I am not going to try to google for that)

    It is also interesting that peoples’ fetishes do not always match the common stereotypes. For example “please beat me up and take my money…just looking to serve and worship a beautiful superior Asian Princess”. Not the normal submissive stereotype at least.

  24. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil May 13, 2012 at 9:43 am |

    In any case, it’s really distressing. And I’m not sure what to do. I’m a massive hypocrite. And I never want to tell myself that I’m just “naturally prejudiced” or some apologetic bullshit like that.

    How about, “I am the product of a society that holds a lot of fucked up views on race, gender, and many other topics. I can’t truly escape from that, but I can make an effort to think critically about those issues and how they impact my interactions with other people.”

  25. DoublyLinkedLists
    DoublyLinkedLists May 13, 2012 at 10:27 am |

    Why is this thread about defending the white man’s freedom of preference? Does anyone think that is in danger and needs to be protected?

    It sound like a lot of this is coming from a need to consider both sides, or make sure you’re not gonna curtail the choices of That One White Guy Who Is Totally Cool and doesn’t Deserve to be Stigmatized ™.

    I think all the people on this thread protesting that there’s something “icky” about not “letting” men have a simple innocent preference for women who just haaaaaappen to be of a different race are being naive and dismissive.

    In our racist and sexist society where everyone is brought up with super racist and sexist imagery and has tons of racism and sexism (and sexualized racism, and racialized sexism) built into the sexuality portrayed by the dominant culture, I’m going to automatically assume that any white guy verbally expressing a preference for a certain “features” of a woman is super misogynist because the idea that a woman’s “features” are purely or primarily physical is a big fail.

    If his preferred “features” in any way coincide with a common racial stereotype, or he expresses his preference in the language of race, I’m also going to assume that he’s super racist, as WELL as misogynist.

    What I’m NOT going to do, is attempt intellectual gymnastics to find a way to give this guy the benefit of the doubt in some vain hope that his preference for particular physical characteristics in women is somehow “pure”. What the fuck is that about?

  26. Mxe354
    Mxe354 May 13, 2012 at 10:58 am |

    How about, “I am the product of a society that holds a lot of fucked up views on race, gender, and many other topics. I can’t truly escape from that, but I can make an effort to think critically about those issues and how they impact my interactions with other people.”

    Thanks. Well, not to put myself on a pedestal, but I already do that. I’m just very uncomfortable with lingering prejudiced attitudes. Perhaps I can eventually eradicate them by continuing to take that approach, though. In fact, now that I think about it, they might be starting to disappear already.

  27. Azalea
    Azalea May 13, 2012 at 11:43 am |

    Double linked Im a WOC & I have a friend who for the nearly fifteen years Id known him had a preference for black women who looked a certain way. he NEVER forfeit his personality, emotional intelligence and character preferences he just searched for those primarily in a specific pool of women . 1st wife was black his only child is biracial and his 2nd wife while white looks like a fair skinned twin of the first wife. But he and 2nd/current wife also have his two favorite hobbies in common something no other woman he’d ever dated could say. I think she’s perfect for him but there are people who think she’s perfect BECAUSE she’s white and they writhe same people who called his preference a fetish. His two favorite hobbies happen to be male dominate and she excels at both it’s how they met.

  28. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated May 13, 2012 at 11:55 am |

    I suspect that some of these men want women of other ethnicities because these women will be seen as less credible if they go to the law over violence, etc. Others want a women stereotyped as more docile or more sexualized. Ethnic porn is some nauseating stuff.
    At the other pole, one female acquaintance who dated only black men, was a survivor of childhood violence from her father and literally could not stand a white man touching her. Similar dynamics may be at work among men with residual issues from maternal violence.

  29. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune May 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm |

    At the other pole, one female acquaintance who dated only black men, was a survivor of childhood violence from her father and literally could not stand a white man touching her.

    Yeah…I do have to point out that this is exactly why I don’t date Indian men. I’d have been open to dating Indian women, but I grew up in crazy rural fundieland where my wearing pants was cause for scandal and even hetero couples who dated were beaten in public by their entire village. I haven’t actually suffered (much) physical violence from Indian men directly, but I literally know ONE Indian woman who wasn’t abused in her marriage – my mom. I grew up terrified of what Indian men do to women who marry them, terrified of being coerced into marriage, terrified of being abused if outed (and/or subjected to corrective rape), terrified of being abused/beaten/raped by a potential husband’s family without consequences for them and terrified of being forced to reproduce. (Keeping in mind that all of this, except the corrective rape, has happened to women in my immediate family or friends circle.)

    Luckily this is no longer a problem, with my liberal father (and you can bloody bet I grew up petrified by the idea of losing him), my wife and being out of the closet and across the fucking globe and all. Still, I’m still not sure I could ever have a romantic relationship with one without all the shit I saw in my childhood rising up and choking me.

  30. DonnaL
    DonnaL May 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm |

    I’m going to automatically assume that any white guy verbally expressing a preference for a certain “features” of a woman is super misogynist because the idea that a woman’s “features” are purely or primarily physical is a big fail. If his preferred “features” in any way coincide with a common racial stereotype . . . I’m also going to assume that he’s super racist, as WELL as misogynist.

    You can assume what you like, but this assumption is, I think, unjustified. Expressing a preference, in terms of what one finds more physically attractive, for certain physical features, is not misogynist, let alone “super” misogynist. What’s misogynist is thinking that physical features represent the sum total of a woman, and/or wanting to be in a relationship with a woman based solely on physical appearance, and/or automatically rejecting women because they fail to conform with particular physical “requirements.”

    Once upon a time, during the period in my life when I was living as a straight man (even typing that word makes me wince!) and almost-universally perceived as such, there’s no question that I found Southern European/Middle Eastern/”Mediterranean”-looking women, with dark (usually curly) hair, more physically attractive than, say, Nordic-looking women with blonde hair and blue eyes. I understand and acknowledge the very obvious reasons why I felt, as a Jewish person with a very specific family history, a preference for women who looked (generally speaking) more like the women in my own family than like the oppressors and murderers of my family. If you assume from that that I was both super misogynist and super racist, then you are far less perceptive than I gave you credit for.

    I should also point out that beyond initial superficial attraction, I never rejected getting to know anyone simply because they didn’t conform to that preference. Other than my marriage (to a Jewish woman with dark curly hair!), my longest relationship was with a woman with blonde straight hair. (Who was nonetheless Jewish!)

  31. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune May 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm |

    You can assume what you like, but this assumption is, I think, unjustified. Expressing a preference, in terms of what one finds more physically attractive, for certain physical features, is not misogynist, let alone “super” misogynist.

    Whoa, no shit, right? Expressing a preference is exactly that – expressing a preference.

    because the idea that a woman’s “features” are purely or primarily physical is a big fail.

    Well, uh, if you ask me (as a lesbian-leaning bi woman) what features I prefer in an ideal partner, I’d go with “female, dark hair, blue eyes, nice hands, no skin or weight preference though I tend towards darker-skinned people”. Nobody ever goes with “smart, funny, honest, affectionate, caring” when asked about features, because the word’s kind of constructed to discuss physical attributes only – I certainly wouldn’t!

    Also worth mentioning that I have a partner of each gender, and both are white as fuck and one’s blond and male to boot. So, uh, I can have preferences all I want, but it’s not really what clinches the deal for me. I rather suspect that a large chunk of people out there, like myself and Donna above, have fairly consistent preferences physically, but aren’t turning down anyone who doesn’t fit exactly into them.

    OTOH I would fisheye anyone who would claim to like brown-skinned black-haired dark-eyed women and then only date, say, South Asian, middle-eastern or Latina women and never, ever seek out African women who fit that description. That would be fairly obviously because they’re the “wrong” race and that’s flat-out racist.

  32. DoublyLinkedLists
    DoublyLinkedLists May 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm |

    In a perfect world, people would express physical preference as purely subjective, and the majority of people who expressed these preferences would interrogate them like you did DonnaL.

    Unfortunately, that has not been my experience.

    People by and large like to come up with “objective” reasons for their preferences so they can feel secure in their “rightness”.

    I think this is why we constantly have scientists trying to prove through experimental methods that men are evolutionarily hardwired to be attracted to a certain type of woman and this type always happens to be whatever the dominant culture views as the beauty ideal.

    I think that speaking about the world in ideals serves to reinforce the necessity of comparing the people we meet to some perfect form. The expression of these ideals is a reinforcement of their legitimacy.

    The idea that these expressions of physical preference are free from societal biases towards unrealistic and harmful expectations of beauty and physical presentation seems obviously wrong to me.

    Additionally, it is a incredibly short-sighted to pretend that reinforcement of the “right” to have a physical ideal does not skew our treatment of those people who we perceive to be close to our ideal.

    Lastly, it is false to pretend that we can consciously express our actual sexual preferences when they are obviously not a conscious response to other people but a subconscious emotional one. By attempting to categorize our “type” after experiencing the attraction, we are attempting to shoehorn our behavior into an intelligible pattern, and when we express these patterns, we are going to use the categories that society reinforces (hair, eye color, skin color, hairlessness, dick size, labia size, size), thereby reinforcing these categories as real.

  33. EG
    EG May 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm |

    I think what I find most offensive is the idea that a woman should want to date some dude because she fits his preferences, like those messages that say something like “I have always wanted to serve an Asian princess, let’s get together.” That’s what seems extra dehumanizing to me–like, not “hmm, I find this person attractive, what can I say to elicit the same feelings in her?” but “I find this person attractive AND THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS.”

  34. elfabla
    elfabla May 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm |

    In a perfect world, people would express physical preference as purely subjective, and the majority of people who expressed these preferences would interrogate them like you did DonnaL.

    Unfortunately, that has not been my experience.

    People by and large like to come up with “objective” reasons for their preferences so they can feel secure in their “rightness”.

    I think this is why we constantly have scientists trying to prove through experimental methods that men are evolutionarily hardwired to be attracted to a certain type of woman and this type always happens to be whatever the dominant culture views as the beauty ideal.

    I think that speaking about the world in ideals serves to reinforce the necessity of comparing the people we meet to some perfect form. The expression of these ideals is a reinforcement of their legitimacy.

    THIS

    I believe attraction is very subjective and am alarmed by the amount of people who wish to see their attraction as objective. Perhaps it feels safer to see others inparticular those you find attractive, as just a set of features. Secondly if you are looking for someone to date or marry or just have sex with and the first thing that comes to mind is a set of physical features then I think you are going to be disappointed by the outcome. I think even in that moment of selecting certain features deeper in your mind there is a whole set of assumptions, associations with those features and you believe that the right look will provide the right outcome.

  35. Li
    Li May 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm |

    Lastly, it is false to pretend that we can consciously express our actual sexual preferences when they are obviously not a conscious response to other people but a subconscious emotional one. By attempting to categorize our “type” after experiencing the attraction, we are attempting to shoehorn our behavior into an intelligible pattern, and when we express these patterns, we are going to use the categories that society reinforces (hair, eye color, skin color, hairlessness, dick size, labia size, size), thereby reinforcing these categories as real.

    I think that by conceiving of our attraction in terms of a ‘type’ we can actively damage our ability to find people outside of that type attractive. Attraction has a cognitive element even if we’re largely unaware of it.

  36. Max
    Max May 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

    What a fatuous article! Since when is having a preference racism? Or if it is, I expect tomorrow the article how horrifyingly sexist gay men are, because they prefer to date other men.

  37. Hamgravy
    Hamgravy May 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm |

    By attempting to categorize our “type” after experiencing the attraction, we are attempting to shoehorn our behavior into an intelligible pattern, and when we express these patterns, we are going to use the categories that society reinforces (hair, eye color, skin color, hairlessness, dick size, labia size, size), thereby reinforcing these categories as real.

    Whoa. Good one.

  38. EG
    EG May 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm |

    I think that by conceiving of our attraction in terms of a ‘type’ we can actively damage our ability to find people outside of that type attractive.

    I want to resist that idea. As a woman, I’ve been told over and over again that as long as a man bathes once or twice a week, I should give him a chance and see if attraction can “grow,” and I’ve listened to it more often than I wish. And what that means is that my knowledge of my own desires isn’t important. I’ve ended up dating more than one fellow that I knew from the start was not attractive to me, and I’ve allowed physical intimacy to progress in the hopes that I would become attracted to them, and it has really damaged my capacity to enjoy sex. I think conscious awareness of our own desires is very important.

    (For the record, I’m currently dating somebody who is not, historically speaking, my type, but whom I found super attractive from the moment I met him.)

  39. DoublyLinkedLists
    DoublyLinkedLists May 13, 2012 at 5:27 pm |

    Conscious awareness of our own desires is not the same as conscious understanding about what causes them.

    Awareness of existence is not equivalent to awareness of cause.

  40. EG
    EG May 13, 2012 at 5:39 pm |

    Yes, I understand that. Nonetheless, I think it’s important to respect our desires.

  41. DonnaL
    DonnaL May 13, 2012 at 5:40 pm |

    I think that by conceiving of our attraction in terms of a ‘type’ we can actively damage our ability to find people outside of that type attractive

    And what if your “type” is, say, “women” or “men”? I think sexual orientation can be fluid for some people — look at all the trans women who start finding men attractive (no, it’s not the hormones!), or the trans men who once identified as lesbians but now are gay men — but that’s certainly not true of everyone. I’ve been strongly encouraged by certain people, since I transitioned, to broaden my horizons and take an interest in men, and I feel sometimes like I ought to under the circumstances, and I’m not opposed to it in theory, but what sounds plausible in theory isn’t always so easy in practice.

  42. DonnaL
    DonnaL May 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm |

    Also: are you suggesting that knowing what causes our desires makes it possible to change them, or that it’s necessarily desirable to want to change or broaden them?

    Having a pretty good idea why I find Jewish/Mediterranean-looking people physically attractive hasn’t led to my being instinctively attracted to Scandinavian blond people, and it isn’t likely to do so.

  43. Li
    Li May 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm |

    EG, I think that this is one of those times where our communities and their needs are very different.

    Queer communities, (particularly those dominated by queer men) tend to naturalise attraction and sexual racism to a fairly extreme level, and interrogating attraction can be really important in that context. The mechanic you talk about (which I think is super important and valid to consider) is also less prevalent for fairly obvious reasons.

    I’d also like to clarify that I think people should consider ways to find a diversity of people attractive, but I don’t at all think that entails sleeping with or pursuing relationships with people that they don’t find attractive.

    An example of the kind of exercises I talk about when interrogating things like “I am only attracted to white people” would be finding one feature you value/find attractive about a person you wouldn’t otherwise consider because of their race. The point isn’t to avoid thinking about desire, but to interrupt the cognitive process that automatically rules people out based on things like race or skin colour and therefore doesn’t consider desire at all.

  44. Li
    Li May 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm |

    Also: are you suggesting that knowing what causes our desires makes it possible to change them, or that it’s necessarily desirable to want to change or broaden them?

    I don’t think it’s necessarily desirable to want to change or broaden our desires, but I find it personally valuable to try to interrogate and undo the socialisation which impacts what I find attractive, especially as far as that socialisation is kyriarchal.

    I do think it’s possible to consciously work on our desires, or more precisely to overcome certain barriers to desire. I’ve definitely, for instance, internalised the idea that trans guys’ bodies are gross and awkward, and that has impacted my ability to fully experience my desire for particular trans men and trans masculine people and to conceive of them as potential sexual partners, even when they have many characteristics I know that I find attractive. Getting myself to consciously consider what sex or other physical intimacy with them would be like, watching porn with people with bodies similar to theirs, reading more widely about trans* mens’ bodies and sex; those have helped me overcome an initial instinct to write people off.

  45. EG
    EG May 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm |

    You know, Li, as soon as I posted, I thought the same thing, which makes perfect sense. Queer men and straight women are socialized to think of their desires very differently, so it makes sense that we need different kinds of interventions and priorities in how we rethink them. I’m sorry I reacted before thinking that through–it hit nerve for me.

  46. Li
    Li May 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm |

    To put it more succinctly:

    If we accept that what people find attractive is influenced by the kind of features and bodies celebrated by a particular social time and place (and I don’t think this is the entire story of attraction), it should follow that seeking out communities and media that celebrate a different or more diverse range of bodies as attractive has the potential to transform, however minutely, the attractions we experience.

  47. Li
    Li May 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm |

    EG, it’s no problem at all. I tend to get a little blinkered by the queer lens, so I appreciate being reminded that it’s not actually the entire world.

  48. Azalea
    Azalea May 13, 2012 at 10:37 pm |

    I completely agree with you that an assumption that a preference like that is a “fetish” is highly insulting to those women — it’s at least somewhat analogous to the fact that I find it insulting that any non-trans man who admits that he finds trans women attractive (never mind prefers them) is told that if he isn’t gay he has a fetish (once people have finished making the culturally-acceptable fake vomiting noises, of course!)

    Exactly. It’s almost if there is a competition for attention/approval of attractiveness going and anything other than the “white” / “right” answer has to be something perverse like a racialized fetish which is intended to completely demean the women receiving this attention or approval while reassuring those who aren’t preferred that it’s ok because the guy or guy(s) are creepy anyway. WHY the hell does it have to be that way?

  49. Crys T
    Crys T May 14, 2012 at 4:10 am |

    DonnaL, you are one of the last people here I want to have a fight with, and I’m really trying to be sensitive to your concerns, but I must confess it’s pissing me off that you’re trying to somehow equate trans and race issues. Talking about how creepy racial exoticising is is not the same as saying any cis man who is attracted to a trans woman is himself a creep.

    Also, seriously, if a man you were in a relationship revealed that ONLY reason he was with you was due to your status as a trans woman, and that he thinks that means you share a whole slew of characteristics (conveniently, those most likely get him personally off) in common with every other trans woman, wouldn’t you find that at all dehumanising and insulting?

    And to the other commenters trying to frame criticism of men who exoticise & hypersexualise women based on their race as somehow racist or exclusionary in itself, yeah, well done in completely ignoring everything that has been said on that score already. God.

  50. Daniel
    Daniel May 14, 2012 at 4:57 am |

    I like girls with big noses. I don’t know, just a thing I got. If you are going to get a nose job, you aren’t dating me.

  51. Li
    Li May 14, 2012 at 8:16 am |

    I like girls with big noses. I don’t know, just a thing I got. If you are going to get a nose job, you aren’t dating me.

    We interrupt this broadcast to bring you Notes From Daniel’s Boner.

  52. Athenia
    Athenia May 14, 2012 at 9:26 am |

    I was going to write a comment about how it’s really not just the white guys. It’s Asians dudes. It’s Black dudes. Every dude and chick has the capacity to be a racist douchebag while dating. But then I recall just how much shit that my Asian lady friends have to put up with (and I don’t), so they can vent all they want.

    Appendum: That being said, if you can’t deal with your boyfriend/girlfriend having certain assumptions/misconceptions about your race and/or culture, then you shouldn’t be interacially dating. Because it will happen, no matter how enlightened your SO is.

  53. Doublylinkedlists
    Doublylinkedlists May 14, 2012 at 9:29 am |

    I believe Daniel just provided a perfect example to illustrate my original point.

  54. DonnaL
    DonnaL May 14, 2012 at 10:18 am |

    DonnaL, you are one of the last people here I want to have a fight with, and I’m really trying to be sensitive to your concerns, but I must confess it’s pissing me off that you’re trying to somehow equate trans and race issues. Talking about how creepy racial exoticising is is not the same as saying any cis man who is attracted to a trans woman is himself a creep.

    CrysT, I’m happy to tell you that there’s no reason at all to get in a fight. Because if you read what I actually said a little more carefully, I think you’ll realize that I didn’t say what you seem to think I said, and that we don’t really disagree about any of this. I wasn’t remotely defending “creepy racial exoticising” in any way. (Contrary to what you seem to think, I’m quite familiar with creepy exoticising in general, and, yes, I do find it creepy.). You’re completely ignoring the distinction that I think I clearly made. In the very comment (# 17) that bothers you, I was trying to say to Azalea that although I agreed with her that a preference or attraction doesn’t necessarily constitute a fetish, that isn’t what people were talking about. In fact, I specifically cited zuzu’s comments as an example of what people were actually discussing and criticizing.

    And in comment 30, all I was doing (and I was hardly the only one) was rejecting the assertion that anyone expressing a physical preference for certain physical features could safely be assumed to be super misogynist and, depending on the attraction, super racist as well — giving the example of what I am fairly sure are the reasons for my own “preferences”

    Your second paragraph is unnecessarily condescending. Even apart from the fact that I think I made it very clear that I know the difference between attraction and fetishizing/exoticizing in general, do you think I don’t know any of what you said? Do you think anyone in my position doesn’t understand that? One of the very first things I ever wrote about here was the fetishizing of trans women, giving as an example the time — it must have been 8 or 9 years ago, before I transitioned full time — when I went with some friends and some people visiting from out of town to the late lamented Silver Swan, and some guy walked up to me and the very first thing he said after “hi” was “I think you’re very beautiful; can I please suck your c**k?” I can assure you that I didn’t see it as a “mere preference” for which I was pathetically grateful, although I was much too taken aback to say anything other than “no thank you.”

    Finally, Azalea is a woman of color herself. What makes you think she doesn’t get it, or is ignoring everything people are saying?

  55. DonnaL
    DonnaL May 14, 2012 at 10:20 am |

    CystT, I just submitted a comment, now in moderation (because of its length, I’m sure) trying to explain that there’s no reason to “fight” with me, because I didn’t say what you seem to think I said.

  56. Athenia
    Athenia May 14, 2012 at 11:07 am |

    To put it more succinctly:

    If we accept that what people find attractive is influenced by the kind of features and bodies celebrated by a particular social time and place (and I don’t think this is the entire story of attraction), it should follow that seeking out communities and media that celebrate a different or more diverse range of bodies as attractive has the potential to transform, however minutely, the attractions we experience.

    QFTT

  57. Claire K.
    Claire K. May 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm |

    There’s a difference between the argument that physical preferences aren’t necessarily sexist/racist because they’e just purely physical and can’t be helped (the argument I see most of the time and in a couple places on this thread) and the argument that physical preferences don’t appear out of nowhere and that we should interrogate them, but that we might find our preferences are a response to oppression rather than being sexist/racist themselves (the argument DonnaL and others seem to be making). The former often serves as a cloak for racism/transphobia/misogyny/etc, but the latter promotes a clearer understanding of how cultural attitudes affect our sexual preferences.

    I think that like so many issues in social justice this comes back to not equating oppressive behavior with responses to oppression. We have to take power dynamics into account when deciding if a preference is racist/sexist/etc. My personal examples: as a lesbian, I’m really tired of people telling me I ought to at least consider sleeping with men. Lesbians get this from all sides, whether it’s homophobic conservatives, mainstream pornography that insists all women be bisexual, obnoxious pick-up artists, or queer culture pushing “sexual fluidity.” At this point I just don’t want to hear it anymore. I suspect that my lesbianism has a lot more to do with culture than genetics, but that doesn’t mean there’s any reason I have to change it, and doesn’t make the relentless efforts to change me any less oppressive.

    On the other hand, I think I do have an obligation to seriously question my preference for Japanese women (I’m not Japanese). I might try to justify this preference by saying that I spent the years of my sexual development in Japan, or that it’s not a physical, racialized preference because I just feel more comfortable in the Tokyo lesbian scene than the lesbian worlds I found in the US later –but in the end I think there are actually a lot of stereotypes informing my preference. Not the ‘submissive lily’ stereotype (more like ‘Japanese butches are better dressed’ or ‘Japanese lesbians are less likely to buy into the annoying queer politics popular in urban/West Coast areas of the US’), but stereotypes nonetheless, with the potential to hurt someone if I made her feel that I’m dating her out of a false assumption that ‘Japanese women are like this.’ So I should interrogate and even change this particular preference. More importantly, I can afford to interrogate and change this preference because there isn’t some onslaught of ‘you must sleep with only Japanese women’ messages and social pressures taking away my agency in the matter. That’s the most important distinction, I think: when there’s a lot of pressure on someone to interrogate a particular preference they have, there’s a good chance that person will lose control of the process and it will become more about reluctantly, painfully conforming, and less about actual reflection. Whereas when someone is in a position of relative power, their process of self-interrogation will only go as far as they want it to, and won’t weaken their ability to stick up for the boundaries that really matter to them.

  58. M Dubz
    M Dubz May 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm |

    Daniel, did you have a broader point?

  59. sonia
    sonia May 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm |

    I have never particularly spent that much time examining my attractions, though I have dated whites, Chinese, and Indians (I am Indian). I just wonder though why the general argument here is that attraction to a particular type of man/woman is cultural, but attraction to a particular sex is not. It appears to be on the same continuum to me.

  60. Li
    Li May 15, 2012 at 12:46 am |

    Sonia, I’m not sure that anyone on this thread has actually made what you call “the general argument here”. Did you have any particular comments in mind? Because the only person I see to have explicitly talked about sexual orientation being cultural or not is Claire K. above, and she makes the opposite argument to the one you think the thread is making.

  61. Crys T
    Crys T May 15, 2012 at 4:12 am |

    DonnaL: I think you’re right – I apologise.

  62. Donna L
    Donna L May 15, 2012 at 10:59 am |

    No problem, Crys T; misunderstandings like that happen all the time.

  63. M-C
    M-C May 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm |

    Oy veh. That is such a difficult topic. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer dating sites that allow people to post racial preferences, on balance. Yes, I think it’s heinous to see so much racism hanging out in public, and I do feel for POC who have to see it and know it’s meant for them. But you see, the problem is that I’m white myself. And I won’t date a racist, it’s a dealbreaker for me, but we all know nobody’ll admit to it up front. So I’m taking unwillingness to date people different than yourself as good enough proof of racism, it’s a shortcut but I don’t think it’s too unreasonable.

    I’m kind of left floundering on sites that don’t ask that question. Should I lie about my own color in my profile, and hope that people who answer aren’t creeped out when they find out? I’d think it was weird myself :-). Answering only the profiles of people who aren’t white would be equally weird, in a different way, I don’t intend to turn fetishist. I’d much rather see what their wishes are, and avoid the majority of white people who wouldn’t consider me if I wasn’t white too.

    Sigh. And this is nearly 50 years after Loving vs Virginia.

  64. Li
    Li May 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm |

    M-C, I suggest you reread gratuitous_violet @7.

    In particular:

    Some of my (white) friends think its useful that some dudes just let all this rancid racism just all hang out in their profiles, because it makes the screening process that much easier. That annoys the shit out of me; they’d feel much differently if it were them being exoticized. So much solidarity for everyone who has to deal with that shit on the daily.

  65. Hamgravy
    Hamgravy May 17, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  66. M-C
    M-C May 18, 2012 at 4:41 am |

    Li #64, and gratuitous_violet, #7, I totally get your point about not wanting to see this shit, especially in a context where you’d like to be feeling optimistic about human relations :-). But..

    What is more painful, seeing this kind of criteria up front, or running into them time after time, blind? If you’ve seen the studies on race relations online, it’s disgusting how often you might get rejected on that basis. Is it much of a consolation to know it’s an endemic problem and has nothing to do with you? Yes, I suppose, but that’s pretty abstract and in practice I think it gets depressing pretty quickly.

    I guess I feel that by having the choices out in the open, those for whom it matters get to do the rejecting, actively and up front. By hiding them, we have to grope around and talk to a lot of bozos we’d rather avoid ordinarily. There are going to be some dark thoughts about human nature one way or the other, but the transparent option is more efficient of our time and energy.

    And you never know, someone who has to fill out those things may give a couple thoughts to what they really want and why, and open up a bit from their usual. Or at least get a bit embarrassed about how limited that is, which is also good. Every bit of creep toward progress is good..

  67. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb May 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm |

    I would tend to agree that people who focus on their particular “requirements” in a partner or “person they’d like to bone” can be useful in the screening process… I like how okcupid allows you to view people’s answers to their match questions, so I can screen out people who agree that “there are circumstances in which someone owes you sex,” because that just screams “rapist” or “rape apologist”. (As well as screening out men who are specifically looking for a bisexual woman, a big breasted woman, or a single mom– because apparently single moms = easy/desperate/notavirgin)

    However, it is really nauseating to read some of the racist/sexist/creepy shit people post in their profiles or in their “match question” responses, and I understand why many people would like to browse match sites without having to witness outright displays of stupidity, particularly when it comes to racial fetishes (which the men in the Buzzfeed article clearly display).

    Okcupid tends to give me the heebie jeebies more than not. It’s as if women “looking for a date” is synonymous with women “looking for sexual harassment and demeaning emails.”

  68. Li
    Li May 20, 2012 at 9:13 am |

    The problem, M-C, is that environments saturated with comments like “No asians” are actively harmful to the people being excluded. It’s not merely a matter of some white people prefering not to date racists and public racism being a convenient way to screen, its a matter of people of colour having to wade through constant commentary about their value as partners. So no, I don’t want people to be more public with their racism because racism harms people.

    Preventing that harm > efficiency of online dating.

  69. Angel H.
    Angel H. May 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm |

    What is more painful, seeing this kind of criteria up front, or running into them time after time, blind?

    Since you’re not a POC, you don’t get to make that call. It’s sweet that you don’t want to date racists, but since their racism has nothing to do with you directly, you’re not the one who has to deal with the end result.

    Also, racism is racism is racism. It doesn’t matter if it’s covert, overt, or systemic. They’re all thorny branches grown from the same bitter roots.

  70. Nadine
    Nadine May 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm |

    It is annoying they assume the people they fetishize will even want them. They don’t think those “feature” are superior if they really did then it might cross their minds that if eg- African features are so attractive then maybe African men will find them attractive too and prefer to date African women. Everybody in the world just exists for the benefit of white people, they’re the ones who make the choice everybody else is just waiting to be chosen by a white person. If an Asian man preferred white women for creepy fetishistic reasons he still wouldn’t be allowed to assume that all the white women in the world existed to pander to his preference and were happy to do it, that’s white people’s prerogative!

  71. Sina
    Sina May 22, 2012 at 8:17 am |

    I wouldn’t call this racist, but simply superficial. I don’t want a black sex partner, because they don’t appeal to me physically. I don’t need to apologize for that. What’s wrong with it being the other way around, and strictly preferring black guys? Assuming personality traits because of race is racist, but I don’t interpret all the preferences about a partners race as involving such stereotypes, it could just as well also simply be a physical preference.

  72. EG
    EG May 22, 2012 at 10:02 am |

    Because there is not one single physical trait shared by all black men everywhere, but not found in men of any other race at all. Not one.

  73. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune May 22, 2012 at 10:37 am |

    What’s wrong with it being the other way around, and strictly preferring black guys?

    Because, unlike screening for “people with dogs”, “people into full-body latex suits” or “people whose maternal grandmother has the recipe for hash brownies in her personal cookbook”, “black men” don’t have one single trait in common. Aside from, you know, being black. Which by default makes it all about the race.

    Assuming personality traits because of race is racist

    Yep. Assuming sexual compatibility (or desirability) because of race is also racist. Sexual compatibility is a personal thing. Lowering it to “well that skin colour totally does me” is in fact racist.

  74. EG
    EG May 22, 2012 at 10:45 am |

    And even if they have “being black” in common…there is a universe of ways of being black. Even if we limit it to the US, there are black men from the south, black men from NYC, black men whose parents emigrated from the Caribbean, black men from Botswana who came to the US to study, black men with dreads, black men with glasses, black men with goatees, chubby black men and on and on. You know, like anyone else.

    I suppose they’d all have the experience of being hassled by cops for walking or driving around while black in common, or at least the realistic fear of being so targeted, and the inability to get a cab in NYC; in other words, they’d have the experience of US racism in common, but if you are white and so do not have that experience and that’s what turns you on…or off…then yes, it’s all and only about race (as opposed to being non-white and wanting to be with a man who understands that experience, which is different).

  75. Li
    Li May 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm |

    “Black men”? Also not an actual coherent racial group. In Australia at least, “black” can signify a whole host of entirely different ethnic and racial backgrounds, from people from various African diasporas (who are themselves different from each other), Aboriginal people, Torres Straight islanders, Pacific islanders, Maoris, to some subcontinental Asians. Yet people here still insist they’re not attracted to “black men” despite the term being incoherent to the point of absurdity.

    I actually had an exceedingly tedious conversation with a gay journalist over his insistence that the fact that he wasn’t “into black guys” was just an innate physical preference. It turned out that he had actually had a long term relationship with someone who fell into two separate types of black and actually meant that he found paler skin a generally attractive trait. The cognitive dissonance almost made me cry.

  76. EG
    EG May 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm |

    Sexual compatibility is a personal thing. Lowering it to “well that skin colour totally does me” is in fact racist.

    Particularly when being black does not tell you much, if anything, about somebody’s skin color. It’s not just a question of gradations of darkness and pallor; it’s a question of all the shades of brown under the sun.

  77. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune May 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm |

    It’s not just a question of gradations of darkness and pallor; it’s a question of all the shades of brown under the sun.

    Yup. I’m Indian (the subcontinental kind, ftr) and I have friends who could pass as white, friends who could pass as black, all as racially Indian as it gets. Yet another reason why making race the common denominator is pretty side-eye-worthy.

  78. Sewere
    Sewere May 25, 2012 at 7:43 am |

    First props to Angel H, gratuitous_ violet and Li for hitting the point about not wanting to continuously deal with racist desires while dating.

    What’s wrong with it being the other way around, and strictly preferring black guys?

    I have a rather simple question, why is it that when examples of what people don’t like (or frankly negative examples of things like crime), black people are often used to make a point?

    Rhetorical question, swimming in white supremacy and such.

  79. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune May 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm |

    I have a rather simple question, why is it that when examples of what people don’t like (or frankly negative examples of things like crime), black people are often used to make a point?

    ….zow. I hadn’t noticed I do that, but I totally do. I thought it was the automatic black/white thing, as they’re the most common races in NA, but that’s not the case necessarily anymore, is it?

    Thanks for pointing that out, Sewere. You’ve made me think.

  80. h
    h May 29, 2012 at 9:15 pm |

    Even if I agree on an emotional level, I am loathe to start criticizing people for a given criteria that they have for a partner. At the end of the day our physical and mental criteria are logically equal to each other. There is nothing substantively different from saying that one only dates women and saying that one only dates someone of a specific race. I think that the article conflates to things:

    1. Morons existing on Earth.
    2. People having particular criteria for a partner

  81. Mxe354
    Mxe354 May 29, 2012 at 9:19 pm |

    There is nothing substantively different from saying that one only dates women and saying that one only dates someone of a specific race.

    The former is because of sexual orientation. The latter is because of racism. Massive difference.

  82. EG
    EG May 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

    At the end of the day our physical and mental criteria are logically equal to each other.

    What is this supposed to mean?

  83. h
    h May 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm |

    @EG When you remove your emotional responses the various things will look for in a partner intelligence, temperament,physical features all have the same value.

    Because all of these criteria have the same logical value when you start applying terms like racism to certain criteria like only dating someone of X race (I do agree that such an application of the term racist would be correct by definition in this case.) you end up very quickly getting into a situation where only wanting to date women or men becomes sexist, liking intelligent men or women becomes bigoted etc.,etc. because these criteria are logically equal.

    In other words one cannot say that it is not a negative reflection on someone to not find X attractive.

    The best bet at that point is to come up with some sort of Blackstone Formulation like concept to deal with the ensuing clusterfuck.

    Such a situation easily leads to asshats being able to go and say “Well everyone is racist/sexist etc. etc.”

    @mxe you know that the former is sexism right?

  84. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune May 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm |

    @mxe you know that the former is sexism right?

    Being straight is sexist now?

    Well, I’m bisexual, so I guess what I really am is an equal-opportunity asshole. *weeping into my hands*

  85. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune May 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm |

    Because all of these criteria have the same logical value when you start applying terms like racism to certain criteria like only dating someone of X race (I do agree that such an application of the term racist would be correct by definition in this case.) you end up very quickly getting into a situation where only wanting to date women or men becomes sexist, liking intelligent men or women becomes bigoted etc.,etc. because these criteria are logically equal.

    o_O What is this I don’t even.

    ….on a possibly related note, I read Harrison Bergeron the other day…..brb having flashbacks to it.

  86. EG
    EG May 29, 2012 at 9:53 pm |

    When you remove your emotional responses the various things will look for in a partner intelligence, temperament,physical features all have the same value.

    Why on earth would it make even the slightest bit of sense to remove one’s emotional responses from the process of looking for a partner? Once you remove the emotional responses, why do you want a partner?

  87. EG
    EG May 29, 2012 at 9:54 pm |

    Because all of these criteria have the same logical value

    How do you figure this one?

  88. h
    h May 29, 2012 at 9:55 pm |

    @macavitykitsune it would not be incorrect from a technical standpoint to call being straight sexist.

  89. Mxe354
    Mxe354 May 29, 2012 at 10:03 pm |

    @mxe you know that the former is sexism right?

    Sexual orientation, unlike racist sexual preferences, is immutable. You can’t compare the two. I’m sorry.

  90. DonnaL
    DonnaL May 29, 2012 at 10:06 pm |

    EG, is it really worth your valuable time to try to parse this? I guess, what, he thinks he’s hit on some devastatingly clever argument in positing that all value judgments and preferences in choosing a partner are “logically” equal and equally subjective, so either they’re all bigoted or none of them is (here we ago again), and racism is the same as sexual orientation?

  91. h
    h May 29, 2012 at 10:06 pm |

    @EG All of these types of criteria are arbitrary.

    Finding a partner has alot to do with emotion. The application of the term racism as per the article has more to do with the logic of the criteria itself. When you say “I only want to date X race.” It is not incorrect to call this requirement racist in nature. The emotional component is not being considered when you apply words like this to situations like that. It is factually true that such a criterion is racist.

    It makes no logical sense to say that “Only wanting to date race X is racist and therefore bad.” Then turn around and say that “Only wanting to date Men or Women is good.” when “Only wanting to date Men or Women.” is sexist.

    You end up with racism bad, sexism good. Brain crashes shortly thereafter.

  92. h
    h May 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm |

    @DonnaL the distinction between racism and gender is that one deals with race and the other deals with gender. Both of these are a kind of prejudice and/or elitism.

  93. h
    h May 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm |

    bah that should be racism and sexism

  94. DonnaL
    DonnaL May 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm |

    So I guess racists can now adopt “Born This Way” as an anthem?

  95. DonnaL
    DonnaL May 29, 2012 at 10:11 pm |

    As I said, EG, you’re wasting your time.

    Where do these people come from?

  96. h
    h May 29, 2012 at 10:11 pm |

    @mxe yes you can they have identical features save for their basis both are types of elitism/prejudice.

    @DonnaL why don’t you explain how I’m wrong.

  97. Mxe354
    Mxe354 May 29, 2012 at 10:12 pm |

    It makes no logical sense to say that “Only wanting to date race X is racist and therefore bad.” Then turn around and say that “Only wanting to date Men or Women is good.” when “Only wanting to date Men or Women.” is sexist.

    Nope.

    You’re leaving out the reason one wants to date race X only. Likewise, you’re leaving out the reason one wants to date only men or women.

  98. h
    h May 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm |

    @DonnaL they could if they wanted to and they would be able to come up with logically consistent arguments and basically damage these kinds of terms.

  99. librarygoose
    librarygoose May 29, 2012 at 10:14 pm |

    Brain crashes shortly thereafter.

    I have to admit, you did make my brain crash.

  100. h
    h May 29, 2012 at 10:15 pm |

    @mxe One is attracted to someone of X gender or X race. That doesn’t change that one is sexist and one is racist as per their definitions.

  101. Mxe354
    Mxe354 May 29, 2012 at 10:15 pm |

    @mxe yes you can they have identical features save for their basis both are types of elitism/prejudice.

    And their respective bases make ALL the difference. Why can’t you see that?

  102. h
    h May 29, 2012 at 10:23 pm |

    @MXE so you can’t compare types of prejudice to each other just because the basis or what it is directed at is different even if the qualities of the two are identical in every other respect?
    Look at the definitions of the two:

    Racism:
    The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races

    Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on such a belief

    Sexism:
    attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles.

    discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, as in restricted job opportunities; especially, such discrimination directed against women.

  103. librarygoose
    librarygoose May 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm |

    so you can’t compare types of prejudice to each other just because the basis or what it is directed at is different even if the qualities of the two are identical in every other respect?

    I’m fairly sure Mxe345 meant you can’t compare sexual orientation to racial preference. Because you can’t.

  104. Mxe354
    Mxe354 May 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm |

    @h

    Because sexual orientation is immutable, it is necessarily immune to moral judgment, because the only moral actions that deserve praise or blame are those which are done with free will. Therefore, labeling sexual orientation as sexist is absolutely meaningless.

  105. DonnaL
    DonnaL May 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm |

    Thank you, Jill. Another thread like this is way too soon! Plus, the guy made no sense at all.

  106. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet May 29, 2012 at 10:42 pm |

    Weeeeell, I know I’m coming back to this a million posts too late, but someone asked way back in comment 60something, so:

    I believe the possibility that I might have to walk out on a date that turns out to be racist (been there, done that, funny story) does not inflict harm on me to the same degree that a public space being actively hostile to minorities harms minorities. Having been in that very situation, I can say with certainty it did not harm me at all. Active racism harms people, and I don’t think that protecting my preferences as a white person is more important than trying to make spaces more open to everyone (nor do I think I deserve a goddamn enlightenment cookie for saying so, this is common decency to me).

  107. Mxe354
    Mxe354 May 29, 2012 at 10:46 pm |

    Good riddance! For all of his talk about “logical” argumentation, he sure was sophistic. I hope I don’t meet people like him IRL.

  108. Azalea
    Azalea May 29, 2012 at 11:46 pm |

    Exhibit A

    Sina:

    I don’t want a black sex partner, because they don’t appeal to me physically. I don’t need to apologize for that.

  109. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune May 30, 2012 at 12:30 am |

    I believe the possibility that I might have to walk out on a date that turns out to be racist (been there, done that, funny story) does not inflict harm on me to the same degree that a public space being actively hostile to minorities harms minorities.

    This, this, this. Having been in the “in” cultural group in my country of origin, I feel exactly the same way about the minorities there. Is it gross that people thought I was A-Okay with casteist comments because I was a Brahmin? Fuck yes. Was that nearly as gross as what my friends from lower castes put up with? Fuck no.

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