When is a preference not a preference?

Discussion in 'Underwear, Clothing, and Appearance Issues' started by StrictlyAvg, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. StrictlyAvg

    StrictlyAvg Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Likes Received:
    UK Hatfield
    I've always thought the word preference to be a relatively mild way of expressing one's likes and dislikes. Something that people see others doing, maybe wouldn't do it themselves but could really care less about the fact that others do it if no-one's getting hurt - kind of a celebration of diversity if you like. But in recent debates on here the things that do not conform to people's preference seem to get a rather stronger reaction than that.
    "Gross", "horrible", a visceral reaction that literally turns people's stomachs and in some is almost verging almost on phobic toward the thing that isn't your "preference".
    The recent case in point is something as (to me) innocuous as body hair on women, but this isn't to start that debate over yet again (yawn), as it could equally apply to your reaction to others' sexual preferences or a range of other human behaviours. The people called out on such strong reactions tend to get quite angry when questioned about the strength of the opinion expressed too.

    Does such a strong reaction really come into the bracket of "preference" or is there something a bit deeper going on than that?
  2. voyeuristic

    voyeuristic New Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Bay Area
    I think that people who aren't happy with themselves deep-down feel like they need to boost their self-esteem by putting other people down. I used to do this a lot more when I was younger, but as I've aged I realize that the most well-liked people I know are the ones who manage to make everyone feel good about themselves by treating all with equal respect, even if they DO have strong individual preferences. Mama said "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" - I'd add "or, if directly asked your opinion, convey it in a respectful manner."

    I'm not at all attracted to heavier guys (though I tend to find plumpness more attractive in some women, which is neither here nor there), for instance, and perhaps fifteen years ago I would react to a fat guy hitting on me by saying "Ew! That's sick." Now, though, I've done a lot of living and I realize that fat guys have feelings too - not only that, but some people lust after them and have a marked preference for them and find them sexy. The fact that I personally don't want to sleep with them doesn't give me the right to tear them down, so I've learned to say "Sorry, not my thing." Likewise, many guys aren't attracted to me for various reasons - the fact that I have short hair on my head, my small breasts, the aforementioned done-to-death topic - which other people have gone absolutely gaga over. When I was less diplomatic in my earlier years, one of my lovers told me that even though I always praised her, the fact that I was so critical of others made her feel insecure because she always wondered if I was perhaps secretly harboring ill thoughts about _her_ as well. It really gave me pause.

    The best thing about being nice is that it pays back in dividends. The other thing is that karma is a bitch. The young and beautiful often think they're going to escape others' criticism eternally - but they could become disabled overnight or fall in love with someone who likes unconventionally attractive people (ever been told you're too skinny by an avowed chubby chaser? it happens!) and they inevitably will succumb to the normal aging process. Suddently robbed of their perfect good looks by time or misfortune, those people may suddenly find themselves feeling pretty alone in the world, having alienated the better portion of their prospective friends through hateful vitriol.

    What a shame.
    #2 voyeuristic, Dec 9, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2008
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