Opinion: The Problem With Preferences

Opinion: The Problem With Preferences

When being called out for superficiality, people cling to the term “preference.” In most cases, people use the term out of context; they use it to justify and perpetuate damaging behavior.

It’s not unusual to surf through hookup apps and encounter bios reading, “No fats, fems or Asians. It’s just my preference.” This is the reason Grindr changed its Community Guidelines — to “build a kinder community.”

With the launch of Kindr, users with discriminatory bios are suspended. People argued that Grindr is violating their freedom of speech; others argued that they can no longer openly discuss their preferences.

However, a preference is simply enjoying something more than something else. Some people may prefer the color red to the color blue. Some people prefer Spongebob Squarepants to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Some people prefer chocolate ice cream to vanilla ice cream.

Preferring chocolate ice cream does not mean that someone will never enjoy a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Preferring Spongebob Squarepants to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles does not mean that someone will punch a hole through the television if the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is on.

In this case, preferring a Caucasian muscle twink does not mean that someone could never be into someone who is overweight and Black. Preferring a guy who is masculine does not mean that someone could never be into someone who is feminine. Therefore, “no fats, no femmes” bios are simply discriminatory and unnecessary. Treating people like they are non-negotiables is, essentially, the cause of systematic bigotry.

Furthermore, people should ask themselves why their preferences are what they are. Why do you prefer white guys to Black guys? Why do you prefer thinner guys to heavier guys? Why do you prefer gay cis men to gay trans men?

It’s crucial to continually question our desires. If your answers to any of the above questions are “I’m simply not interested in (one of the mentioned groups),” you owe it to yourself to explore why that is. Could you not be attracted to Black guys because you think they’re ugly? Or are you a racist? Do you not like feminine men because you internalize anti-queerness? Or do you simply think they’re all gross? Asking these questions will help reveal whether your preference is truly a preference — or if you’re just a superficial sack of shit.

There’s a reason for our preferences. Finding out the “why” usually helps with indicating whether our preferences are truly preferences — or if they’re lazy excuses to exclude people who are not conventionally attractive.

This rule goes both ways. I encounter many profiles where white men discriminate against other white men. “No whites. BBC only!” What’s the problem with that?

Well, users like that don’t see Black men as Black men — they see them as big black penises. Sexual conquests. Opportunities to quench their offensive fetishes. The same applies to black guys that only seek out White or Asian men. That is not a preference — that is a fetish.

Today, I challenge everyone to look up the definition of a “preference.” It’s not what many believe it to be.

[This piece was previously published on INTO]

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  1. Mandy
    October 06, 10:41 Reply

    Even though I agree with the message this writer is trying to pass across, I have to dissent on something. When someone prefers something he enjoys, it can absolutely mean that he’ll never enjoy the other thing he has no preference for. When I go to Cold Stone, I buy vanilla or chocolate ice cream. I always see the flavours with minty colour and decided even without tasting it that I didn’t like it. Then one day, a friend urged me to try it. I tried it and hated my taste buds after. I couldn’t even get past the one spoonful. So I have stayed safe in my preference. And when people like a certain kind of man in their bed, it is very possible that they would never like another kind of man as their sexual partner. Let us stop dismissing the validity of people’s strict preferences. It is just like saying to a strict top or power bottom that they could be versatile. They don’t want to be. People can stick to one lane and only want to stay there.
    But then, it is very wrong to use these preferences to discriminate against the other items on the menu.

  2. Pjay
    October 06, 10:48 Reply

    Pinky you really need to look into a prize for Mandy. He’s the biggest fan of this site hands down.

  3. keredim
    October 06, 11:35 Reply

    Mandy, I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Sometimes trying not to hurt other people’s feelings can be a double edged sword, in that one would not to true to themselves.

    I don’t like amala. I have tried it and I don’t like it. And even if I haven’t tried it, it is my prerogative not to try it OR like it. It is also my prerogative not to analyse why i don’t like it. I will not eat amala to please the public or appear liberal. I would not be true to myself if I did so.

    I don’t think stating one’s sexual preference on a sex app is any form of discrimination and “sexual racism” for me is a huge stretch. If I came across a profile that says “No Igbos”, it will not conjure up the injustice meted out on us during the Biafran war. It will not cause me to call in sick at work. I would simply move on to the next profile. It is not real life. It’s only sex!!

    Also stating one’s preferences saves time. I know what the other person, doesn’t like upfront and if he is not for me, it’s “on to the next one.”
    People need to get a grip with all this sensitivity politics on grindr and face the real world.


    • J
      October 07, 04:21 Reply

      It’s not real life? It’s only sex?

      Now you’re generalizing… You’ve never experienced true affection in its entirety lonely man.

      • keredim
        October 07, 11:06 Reply

        “You’ve never experienced true affection in its entirety lonely man.”

        Let me take a wild stab in the dark here. You have experienced “TRUE AFFECTION” and you found it online.

        • J
          October 07, 19:25 Reply

          May be you should consider the people you meet on grindr and stop sharing their private chats for a good laugh with your followers… Your twitter says it all! Someone is watching

  4. Keredim
    October 07, 20:08 Reply

    “Your twitter says it all! Someone is watching”

    That’s the whole point!???

  5. Dimkpa
    October 08, 18:07 Reply

    I think that stating certain preferences on one’s profile is discriminatory. The problem for me is lumping everyone in a particular group together. It usually involves some sort of prejudice based on some preconceived notion of that group. For example saying no blacks or no Asians gives the impression that all blacks are the same. But we all know Osuofia and Idris Elba are both black. If the person that has that on their profile is white, it suggests that he would rather date Adam Sandler than Chadwick Boseman (I would have written Tyson Beckford but his wahala too much). There is therefore a problem with that logic and it usually borders on racism. Black skin doesn’t taste or feel different to white skin and therefore will not determine the intensity of an orgasm therefore using that as a criteria for a potential hook up is just wrong.

    Some physical traits on the other hand could affect how one enjoys a hook-up. People find certain traits unattractive like big dick, or too much muscle or too young or old etc. In this case that is understandable to me as that might affect the enjoyment of sex because a big dick might be painful, a young guy may be too inexperienced and too much muscle may crush you in bed. In addition, a big dick on one guy will feel the same (or almost the same) as a big dick on another guy, so it is not unreasonable to refuse it as it is an attribute that could directly affect a sexual encounter.

    It is also common knowledge that one man’s meat is another’s poison so those traits may actually be what another guy is after.

    However, whatever a preference is, I feel putting that on profiles is shallow as it does not consider the feelings of those who will read that. It may cause people who are not self assured to question what is wrong with them. A simple “sorry but you’re not my type” in a chat is more civil and conveys the message that there’s nothing wrong with him.

    • julian_woodhouse
      October 10, 20:09 Reply

      which is preferable, Some1 that publicly announces what he’s into so that you do not waste your time… or sm1 that starts a Q and A session immediately after to finish up with “sorry, you’re not my type when merchandise falls short of or exceeds expectations?” It really isn’t that deep. On grindr, there are people who are into fat guys, femme guys , muscular guys, discreet guys, nerds, light-skinned, you name it… I think the only thing everybody generally agrees on is that the hookup must observe proper hygiene … but even then, if some of us see refuse at our front day, they’ll still fuck, las las….The main problem Dimkpa is talking about is how the gaybourhood views some certain traits and that is the problem that should be addressed… Cause last last, If a ripped guy sees ”no muscular men” or sam smith sees “no white guys” (assuming he has the strength for grindr) it won’t move them. What we need to discuss is toxic masculinity, femmephobia , racism and all those other isms. Now don’t get me wrong, sm1 can be rude about his preference, but averagely, that’s not the case.

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