So while I may be a little behind the pop-culture curve, there are certain issues that I find fascinating from an outsider’s perspective.One of the more infamous moments was an episode where Lena Dunham’s character Hannah hooks up with an attractive, older doctor played by Patrick Wilson for a weekend-long sex-spree. The Internet lost its collective shit over the idea that someone who looked like Lena Dunham could stand a chance of getting within such a thing is tantamount to sacrilege.Of course, everyone on the Internet took this in without even blinking, accepting that people are complex and varied in their desires and understanding that attraction is a complicated beast. To judge by the collective outrage over the episode, you would’ve thought that Dunham had murdered Ned Stark while dressed as Hitler and simultaneously shooting kittens out of a cannon that was also on fire.
After all, many of us know someone who punches above his or her weight class, dating people who they – by all rights – should have based on the flawed idea that the only thing that people value is looks.Whenever we see someone who isn’t conventionally attractive dating somebody who is more attractive we often dismiss the relationship as somehow invalid; clearly he has money, or a high-status job or some other external quality that the more attractive partner desires enough that she is willing to put up with having to toss the cave troll a handy every now and then.It’s impossible – or so the assumptions go – that perhaps she’s legitimately attracted to him, that attractiveness and desire are about more than just the accepted definitions of good looks.We get so hung up on beauty privilege, the halo effect, the value of facial symmetry and waist-to-hip ratios and the idea that only 20% of whomever get 80% of the fucking that we tend to ignore things that don’t fit the accepted narrative.Humans as a rule have a tendency to assume that society is the default paradigm, universally applicable to all cultures and people; Western society holds typically Caucasian features to be the highest standard of beauty, for example, and we have the media hegemony to enforce our beliefs on other cultures through sheer exposure. No matter how much the tabloids may try to convince me that Kim Kardashian is a stunning vision, I wouldn’t fuck her with a borrowed dick and Lexi Belle doing the pushing.
Other people are mystified by the appeal of Megan Fox or Anna Paquin or Kerry Washington or Morena Baccarin or Jordana Brewster.I know women who can’t get past Tyrese Gibson’s five-head, George Clooney’s head-wobble or the fact that Kit Harrington probably uses more product than they do.It’s a self-reinforcing story; we don’t accept the idea that someone who looks like Lena Dunham could score with a guy who looks like Patrick Wilson because we never see it in the media.We never see it in the media because nobody accepts the idea that it could happen and so like an oroborous with an eating disorder, the cycle perpetuates itself.Amazingly enough in the real world, models variable and influenced by a ginormous number of factors including personal preferences, cultural upbringing, social class, even ecology.The archetypal good-looking modern man, for example, is depicted as having a long, lean swimmer’s build and lacking nearly frame was the ideal; body weight was often a class-marker, as the indolent upper class was able to eat richer foods, while the peasants toiled at manual labor (and, ironically, ate a more nutritionally sound diet).