I found an OK Cupid forum post asking for honest answers to the question of attraction to black women. Look, no rational person goes in search of nuanced discourse on a dating site forum, so save that critique for someone who gives a shit. However, it does shed light on the way in which the beauty ideal is framed. There is a huge chasm between white women who frame their experience in terms of feeling pressure to live up to a harsh set of standards versus women who live on the margins yet are still expected to adhere to the same standards that do not even recognize their existence. The former often focuses on specific traits such as blondness, thinness without much critical examination, with the expectation that intersectionality should have no bearing on the discourse.
I bought some of the, “Black women can be fat and still be desirable” snakeoil often peddled by white people, never seeing it as a form of subjugation. Not hearing, the rest of the sentence, “…for black women.” Not realizing my existence was still being framed as less than. And then there’s the Black Don’t Crack meme now utilized to sell botox and wrinkle creams to women of other races. Again from an unexamined perspective it feels like progress, but, of course, it’s not. It’s using the cult of youth to force women into obedience.
The dating world is often where the unchecked assumptions and the unvarnished truths are revealed. Want to know how your pursuit to oppress women is going, spend a few moments perusing the profiles and forums of dating sites. Places where men feel entitled to select mates as though they were flipping through a catalog and where women are instructed – by men – just how to be attractive and successful at dating. Irrespective of the kind of things that sociologists suggest are useful tools for mate selection – commonality of interests, life goals and values – the dating world is still steeped in enforcement of beauty standards, which precious few can meet and within that very few who can, most of them ain’t Black.
What’s great about how our beauty oppression opperates is white women can still feel like feminists when they engage in hand wringing about their looks being picked apart by men without once having to examine their race privilege or acknowledge the way in which their status as highly valued hurts and oppresses marginalized women. They can fixated on their breast size, their hair color, the shapes of their thighs and find support for their anger at those who possess the very traits they covet while at the same time never having their unchecked feelings of desirability entitlement or their feminist cred questioned.
But make no mistake, if you are a white cisgendered able bodied female in Western society your beauty is privileged above other women. Ab dab dab dab *holds up hand* – It doesn’t matter if you’re fat or your boobs aren’t big or if your hair isn’t blond. Look around you. Who do you see the most represented as “beautiful” in society. Remember, rattling off a couple of very, very, very famous WOC who are often visibly of mixed race and whose features and hair often adhere very closely to white standards of beauty doesn’t count.
Soak in that for a moment and then read the following pull quotes from men responding to a black woman’s inquiry as to why she can’t get something going on a particular wildly popular dating site.
FULL DISCLOSURE: While I know one doesn’t make for a revolution, I should note I met my partner (who is White) on the very same dating site. And I should also note there are many things about my appearance that closely adhere to white standards of beauty, namely my nose, lips (which are full but not, “too big”), my skin tone, an extremely youthful appearance that still gets me carded for rated R movies despite being 37, the shape of my eyes, which often mark me as multiracial and of course my hair which when straighten is long and swings like silk curtains in Savannah. Though it’s a tight coil of righteous afro puffs 99% of the time. That said, at the end of the day, even with all of that, if my sisters – all women, even women with more privilege than me – aren’t free, then I ain’t either.
I have opted not to provide commentary because I want folks to read the comments displayed here without benefit of a healing salve, the way I often have to and other women on the margins have to. This is not the time or place to commiserate about “dates from hell” but rather to really unpack what we mean when we suggest we aim to resist the cultural instruction around beauty standards.
i like classy girls, no matter what race they are. i think that a lot of black girls get rejected becuase of a “ghetto” stereotype, i could understand this. who wants to date a girl that’s always cussing, fighting, and being rude? i dont need that in a girlfriend, thats what my guy friends are for.
I mostly think it’s because of the physical attraction…
I for instance, having grown in a different country, didn’t really know about all the racist acts here in the US before 50s. Therefore I never thought about discriminating and that was not because I was raised by instructions about how not to be racist based on color, but it was because I wasn’t even aware of something like that… But still, I’m just not physically attracted almost any black women. I don’t even check out the profile because I just don’t get that “Wow” thing when browsing through the little profile pictures in the “matches” section… Sorry but you asked to be honest…
I need to know the percentage of the ethnicities of the members, and if they are physically attracted to x race (May that be caucasian, black, middle eastern, asian, latino etc.)… So if the guy, even at a sophisticated wine bar never has that thought about approaching that race-x lady because he’s just not attracted to that race, that guy will not even look at the profile…
That’s what I think…
I’m white and I generally prefer darker exotic women – latina, black, crazy island mixes. Most latinas seem to be Jesus freaks though. The only race I’m really biased against are asian women. I’m just not into them for some reason – maybe they are too submisive or pure for me or something. The one exception is girls from Singapore, but you rarely see them off the island.
FWIW most of my friends are latino and asian.
I will admit, I have ventured outside of my race. My ex fiance was of Costa Rican origin (latin), but even now I still know nothing of what Costa Rican’s are. It does tend to come down to the individual. This is an interesting thread. Before reading this thread, I didn’t know desi’s existed. It’s really interesting to fathom, to say the least.
Onto the question at hand, yes. Race does affect me as far as interests go. You are attractive elle, make no doubt, but it seems every time I meet someone of your descent [BLACK WOMEN], they go out of their way to be mean to me, or at extremes, be rather violent with me. I am not foolish enough to believe you would do so, not at all. But I honestly just wouldn’t feel safe. I imagine I am not the only one that thinks so.
You may be the sweetest girl in the world, but unless your entire family and your family friends are nice people, I don’t think I would be happy.
From silent_male, who oddly enough talks a lot of smack and doesn’t know the meaning of the word “silent”. perhaps it’s meant to be ironic:
I tend to go for women who are not very short (not below 5’0″ or so – I am 6’2″), speak English well (Indian/Aussie/American accents in addition to standard British English are ok, but no hood type talk “yno watimsayin”), have a fairer complexion than I am (women aren’t called the fair sex for nothing), are professionally / educationally driven, have a spiritual side, a certain depth of character, come from a family that is hard working / education oriented, aren’t smokers / serious drinkers / drug users, are family minded, are not single moms, not Muslims (or hardcore Christians/Catholics), and do not have any serious personality related issues.
I recently got out of a short but intense (long distance) relationship.
My history is now: 1 Indian and the rest white. That one (painful) experience with an Indian girl (and observations of other Indian girls who were with friends) were enough to put me off Indian women for life (I think). Most Indian girls do not like (actually actively despise) Indian guys in the first place (too many reasons to list or matter).
I have never dated any Asian, AA, middle eastern, or Hispanic women. In my line of work, the workplace is either Indian, Asian, white or even some middle easterner (- and overwhelmingly male, hard sciences / engineering are like this for whatever reasons). Hardly any Hispanic / AAs (we have one Hispanic guy and 2 AA guys in my immediate circle of 200-300 colleagues). I am culturally aware enough to know that there is a certain angry AA woman stereotype. Regarding Hispanic women, though many of them look somewhat similar to Indians from more southern parts of India (I am originally from northwestern India and hence have a slightly fairer complexion than most of my countrymen), there are significant enough religious differences (my religion and serious Catholicism definitely do not mix) to preclude any such possibility. So, is Jennifer Lopez good looking – you bet. Would I date her ? Not a chance.
So are my preferences a little racial (given the personal history) ? Possibly. Are they racist (“I do not care how good she is inside, I will not date her because of her racial affiliation”) ? I think not. Are they tinged with considerations of certain expectations of what would work long term and what might not ? Definitely.
From zhillsdude, a white person who thinks his lack of race consciousness is noteworthy and amazing:
I barely even think about race. Sometimes I’m surprised when I hear someone talking about race because it doesn’t mean anything to me but to others that’s all they can think about.As I recently said in another thread, racism and homophobia are stupid.
A version of this was originally posted on Snarky’s Machine