Changing your mindset can be difficult, especially when it comes to our bodies. Body acceptance coach, Kelsie Jepsen joined us in the studio today with some tips on how to reclaim desirability for yourself.
Nearly everyone has something about their appearance that they wish were different. Jepsen shares that the reason is that we are taught that there is no higher accomplishment than being hot and desirable. However, we weren’t born wanting to adhere to these hotness or beauty standards, we were taught to do so.
Desirability politics (or pretty privilege) refers to the social, political, and economic capital that one obtains or is given through the ability to be seen as hot or desirable
Da’Shaun L. Harrison wrote an incredible book, Belly of the Best – The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness. In it, Da’Shaun describes the politics of desire as labels that determine who gains and holds social and structural power based upon who is seen as desirable.
Our culture teaches us that who is considered desirable and who we are attracted to is innate. That we can’t help who we like, what our preferences are, or who we find to be desirable or beautiful. But these “objective” preferences often have deep parallels to systems of oppression in our culture that impact people of color, fat people, people with disabilities, and ultimately anyone who holds a marginalized identity. And so though we may have some inherent preferences, our preferences are not formed in a vacuum. They’re impacted by the society we live in and by the media we consume.
Our preferences impact our unconscious biases and how we view and treat others. For example, studies have shown that we deem attractive people as more trustworthy. Attractive people receive better service, deals, and overall treatment from people in professional situations. Whereas jurors are much harsher in determining the guilt or innocence of those deemed as unattractive. Employers admit that they are less likely to hire fat workers. And in general, we’re less likely to help those in need if they aren’t seen as desirable.
Being desirable can greatly benefit us, and that not only impacts how we spend our money, time, and energy, but who we seek romantic relationships with, the friends we make, how we raise our children, where and who we work with, and most certainly how we feel about ourselves.
Change starts from within. We are often consumed with being “picked”. We get on dating sites hoping that someone will swipe right on us and see us as desirable and worthy partners. But what if we started examining our preferences? What if we got curious about what we believe is beautiful both in ourselves and in others? By accepting that our preferences are deeply impacted by what we’ve been taught and exposed to, we can take deliberate actions to expand our ideas of what is beautiful and separate our worth from being desirable. We can reclaim desirability for ourselves.
Reclaiming desirability means detaching desire from external validation and its impact on your self-worth. It means choosing yourself instead of waiting for a person to choose you.
“Stop worrying about what other people think of you! Separate your worth from the opinions of others”, but in reality putting this concept into practice is much more difficult. It takes mindset change combined with conscious actions like dating yourself, intentionally spending time with yourself, figuring out what you like, and how you want to spend your time. You can do things for yourself like buy yourself flowers, compliment yourself, and enjoy finding out what you like and desire instead of what you’ve been told to like and desire. When you treat yourself as someone you desire, you can build up that small inner voice into something stronger and louder. And don’t we all want to be able to define and proclaim for ourselves, what is worthy, what is desirable, and what is good?
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