Stuffies

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"We have a very interesting Dear Sugar today where she responds to a question from a teenager who finds herself attracted to fat women. Some commenters were offended by the idea of being sexualized by the letter writer. This is something I’ve talked to Sugar about before in other contexts, walking down the cold streets of our nation’s capital and on the softer sidewalks of the west coast, laying against her while the party continued in the other room, wondering if I would ever have a stable, lasting romantic relationship. There was a column a while back (this one) where Sugar stated that men who were more comfortable with women’s bodies in all their different forms tended to be more enlightened, or something along those lines. It was basically a compliment to people who were attracted to a wide variety of people. But I couldn’t agree with it. You don’t choose your desires. To be attracted to a large variety of types, men, women, fat, thin, is just lucky. You don’t choose your desires and don’t deserve praise for being “openminded.” Who wouldn’t choose to be attracted to as many people as possible? The problem with desire is that it is objectifying, no matter how spiritual sex can be. We talk about “the objects of our desire.” We want to be loved for who we are but even that is a red herring. Who are we? We are as much our physical appearance, our money, our values as anything else. As much our appearance as our intellect, our “talents.” To be attracted to someone because they’re good at something (a good writer, painter, etc.) can’t possibly be a better reason than physical appearance. Neither has anything to do with whether or not they’re nice people."

Stephen Elliott, from today’s Daily Rumpus email.

This is another example of why talking about certain kinds of desires is so complicated. What if your kink is for a kind of person you don’t understand anything about? I don’t know why I have my specific kink, but Elliott’s glossing over the real problem of wanting someone for racist/sexist/abelist/etc. reasons by just saying, “It’s all hard and no one knows why we like anything.”