My opinion of what you find attractive is twofold:
- None of my business.
- None of anyone else’s business.
I outlined that second point in an article “Stop Advertising What You Do and Don’t Find Attractive.” You have every right to desire whatever look, height, weight, shape, hair color etc. that you want. Conversely, there are attributes you may find unattractive, and that’s fine too. What your eyes like or dislike in a sexual partner is your business. But when you put those desires out there, such as on social media, it sends a message to people who don’t fit your ideal that they’re perhaps not attractive. It adds no value, and can hurt. There is no reason to share this so openly with the world.
People are not uniform. We are different and have different tastes. I like the music of Rush, and you probably don’t, and that’s okay. If I offended you with the forty-eleven times I made fun of Nickelback, I’m sorry.
Cosmo UK has a new issue with plus-sized model Tess Holliday on the cover. People are freaking out because of her size. They say it’s promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. They say it’s body acceptance gone too far.
They have missed the point.
The reality about why Cosmo chose this cover model will always boil down to sales. A senior editor made the decision based on an assumption that it would move magazines off shelves. If it works, we may see more plus-size models on their and other covers. There may have been some other marginal motivations at play, but the magazine is a business, and paychecks only happen when there is sufficient revenue.
The decision was made because they thought it would sell, and it might, because of a few reasons:
- There are a lot of women in the world who have larger bodies.
- There are women with larger bodies who feel sexy or want to feel sexy.
- There are men who prefer women with larger bodies.
Please forgive the heteronormity of this all. I’m writing from a personal perspective and trying to keep it simplified. Also, I’m focusing on women’s bodies and what men desire because of this particular magazine issue, and because there is far less stigma attached to a woman desiring a man with a large body.
Stigma is what this is about.
Whether Cosmo intended it or not, the point of this cover is the stigma of seeing a woman with a large body as sexy, and attempting to remove it.
Being attracted to a larger woman is often seen as a fetish. It’s considered an aberration. And that’s bullshit. It’s perfectly normal. Alas, men are conditioned to hide such desires, because women are often viewed as property.
I risk making this all about men. That is not my desire. My wish is to expose the patriarchal bullshit that prevents men from being true to their own desires, and women being able to feel comfortable and sexy regardless of their body type. It’s important to note that women are free to feel sexy purely for themselves, with no need for any man’s approval.
The reality is, there are many hundreds of millions of people in the world with larger bodies. It’s normal. Being attracted to people with such bodies is normal. Feeling sexy by having such a body is normal. It’s fine. Get over it.
Don’t desire people with larger bodies? Don’t date them. (But consider that if you’re looking for a long-term relationship, all bodies will change over time, including yours).
Larger bodies may not be your thing, but don’t judge those who do desire them.
In this piece, I wrote about how I was asked by a publication to write about Pierce Brosnan’s wife’s larger body size, and how I said no way in hell. The problem is seeing women as trophies.
If a man dates or marries a woman with a larger body, there will be other men who judge him as lesser. In their corrupted eyes, he didn’t have the looks, the money, the charm, or the social status to get a leaner woman. And so, there are men who will shunt aside their true desires to pursue leaner women solely for the approval of their fellow men.
How fucking toxic is that?
Answer: Really. Fucking. Toxic.
And this is the point that is being missed with the outcry over this magazine cover. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes to a variety of eyes. Let people love and lust over who they wish. Everyone has a right to happiness in their own skin, and the right to feel desirable to those who want them.
In short, mind your own fucking business.
James S. Fell, MBA, writes for the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, AskMen, the Guardian, TIME Magazine and many other fine publications. His first bookwas published by Random House Canada in 2014. His next book, which is about life-changing moments, will be published in January 2019.