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Desirability isn’t the be all and end all our social and political struggles – and our conversations shouldn’t become completely absorbed by an obsessive focus on who wants to get with us and who doesn’t.
But it’s still a part of our lives like any other, and one that can impact on our sense of self-worth.
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Another tired response to people of colour calling out racist preferences is that it suggests men should go ahead and date people they don’t find attractive.
But that’s reductive – a knee-jerk reaction to what’s simply a call for introspection and have a think about what might motivate and inform who you’re attracted to; in the same way many people of colour come to do when confronting their own internalised racism.
Another study of perceptions of beauty by Dove found women “in the public domain” are cited by the general public as influencing who they think is beautiful, which can clearly be linked to race and the prominence of eurocentric beauty standards in the media.
Most damningly and specifically, analyses of Ok Cupid’s trove of dating data in 2009, and again in 2014, found that “non-black” men were less likely to start conversations with black women, and women were less likely to start conversations with black or Asian men.
And to me, it’s obvious – sexual attraction doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it’s not some innate whim of biology that you have no control over.
The medium of porn, and the endemic racism that threads through parts of the industry is a very complicated conversation.Could I better spend my time removing myself from a framework I ideologically reject, in spheres where people who look like me, and different to me, exist in a way that is more free?Yes, perhaps, but equally it’s not always possible, and it is difficult to completely avoid internalising what we see and hear said about people like us.That one guy who when you talk about music tell you he “loves hip-hop”; that one guys who says “I just don’t get this racism thing.” That one guys who says, “I only date black girls.” I was invited to a party by one of my friends who “only dates black girls.” We were friends way before he had the realisation that black girls were black and attractive.I love a party, but I had to be away on that occasion and had to decline and thought no more of it.But I will point out that the way race is conceptualised has long been hierarchical, and sexual and romantic segregation has been historically enforced as a tool of maintaining that hierarchy.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating