I am not attracted to fat women!
Dear Dr. Milrod:
I am a 30 year old normal, average guy. Recently I come to find out that there is this fat girl at my job who wants to date me. I am not attracted to her, mainly because she is about 5’7” but weighs at least 140 pounds. I told a co-worker that I wasn’t attracted to her, and she said I shouldn’t judge. Am I a bad person for not wanting to be with someone that I dont find attractive? What am I supposed to do? Feel sorry for her? If you have a pretty face, and you let yourself go, that is your problem, not mine!
Dear Rick T:
First of all, there is no official directive that tells you that you are “supposed to feel sorry for fat women.” Women come in all sorts of permutations – in fact, there doesn’t even seem to be an agreement of what is considered “a fat woman.” Granted, there is the governmental definition of obese, so if you are talking about obese people, then you can feel both sorry and alarmed, since it’s a medical condition that qualifies for help. But if you are talking the movie star definition of what’s fat, then 99% of the American population will qualify as fat, in comparison to the seriously anorexic movie and television star ideal that presently reigns in mass media. Fatness is culturally determined, don’t forget that. What we think is “fat” qualifies as erotic and attractive in some other cultures. Also, some men are genuinely attracted to women who are considered “fat” in the dominant culture; however, you may not be one of them – and that’s fine. Evolution has selected for traits in men that prefer women that are somewhere in the middle – not too fat, not too skinny. The key is the WHR, the waist-to-hip ratio which is a reliable indicator of fertility. Thus, a woman can be plump rather than skinny – as long as she has a small waist, men will find her attractive. It is only in a culture of overabundance such as ours that preferences for skinny women have evolved, mainly as a resistance to the fertility difficulties that obese women face. Men are hardwired to breed, breed and breed, so that’s pretty much a no-brainer. But certainly, things have gotten out of hand and now visual images are filled with anorexics who are not necessarily healthy or fertile, judging from all the assisted reproduction going on, even with young women who under normal circumstances would never have problems conceiving.
Now, back to your specific dilemma. You are entitled to your opinion and preference, but why discuss it with people at work? This is bound to cause controversy, not only because it’s the workplace and such things should NOT be discussed in a professional environment, but also because you chose to open up to the girl’s friend. That was a mistake. In doing so, you triggered her friend’s defenses. You denigrated, however subtly, the woman by indicating your lack of attraction for her. Her friend defended her and now you feel slighted in turn.You are not “a bad guy” and you are not supposed to go out with someone you don’t feel attracted to – that would be disingenuous. But by the same token, you also need to examine your belief that fat women “let themselves go,” or even that this particular woman of above average height is “fat” at 140 lbs. It is true that many people lack the discipline that staying within recommended weight ranges demand in our society. But the problem is multi-factorial; to blame it on some kind of moral failing or laziness is just not intelligent. In fact, to me, this represents another kind of laziness, meaning one who is not really interested in finding out medical facts but simply looks at the superfice of it all and assumes that all fat women are lazy and don’t go to the gym.
1. Quit discussing personal matters at work, no matter how boring it gets;
2. Get on line and begin reading up on the root causes of obesity. You will see that in our society where genes conflict with our lack of mobility, many people – not just women – will have weight problems;
3. Try to engage your thinking on a deeper level – ask yourself what is it that triggers these emotions in you? Oftentimes, when we displace anger on a particular group of people, it’s because we are dissatisfied with something in ourselves, whether it be appearance or abilities. Do you look like a perfect movie star? Are you flawless, in your mind?
4. And finally, realize that there are preferences for everything and anything. There are so many more important things to worry about. For now, just count your blessings if you don’t have to concern yourself with body weight, even if you can’t “feel sorry” for those who are less fortunate, no matter what their gender.
Christine Milrod, Ph.D.