Why do some women attract crass men, and others don’t? Brande gives her thoughts on the subject.
Q. I have used a variety of dating apps and have noticed a consistent trend. The vast majority of the messages I receive are from men who blatantly tell me they want to have sex.
I have a theory that because I am a dark skinned, big girl, I serve as a fetish to a lot of men. The most “provocative” photo I have on my profile is of me in a tank top. I would like to know if I am giving off the wrong message and if there is any way I can get around this.
Akosua, 21, New York, New York
A. First, let me say that, unfortunately, I have been in your shoes. And, like you, I asked the same questions.
It’s no secret some men are so-called “chubby chasers,” not because they just so happen to find thicker women attractive, but because they figure all plus-size women have bought into the singular image of beauty we’ve been sold our whole lives: thin, white, and blonde.
These men wrongly assume our self-esteem is so low we’ll take anything that’s thrown at us.
There are also some sites that, by the very wording of their compatibility questions, perpetuate bias against overweight women and raise questions about attractiveness that would lead anyone ignorant enough to send the types of messages to believe this behavior is okay. The fact that you’re not feeling any of these crass messages is proof of what a fallacy the desperate, promiscuous single plus-size woman trope is. I’m proud of you for knowing something is off.
Similarly, there is a racial bias against dating black women. Couple that with the stereotype of black women being over-sexualized, and it’s not hard to see why you’d come to the conclusion you’re being fetishized. To put it lightly, that feeling really sucks.
Of course, there’s also the possibility that your experience might be a result of sheer immaturity, given that you’re on the younger end of the dating spectrum and some guys in that age group should – but don’t — know better than to approach a woman in such a manner. Many women have had to deal with their share of shameless, sex-seeking creeps on dating apps. In fact, 30 percent of women said they were “turned off” by a crass opening line sent by someone on a dating app. Only 16 percent of men reported the same.*
The good news? None of us has to tolerate these messages.
To answer your question, you are absolutely not to blame for the experiences you’ve had thus far. Even if you were interested in hooking up as well, you have a right to demand the topic is broached in a respectful manner. A baseline for sex between two individuals — whether casual or romantic — should be mutual respect. That’s not being displayed here by any means.
The first thing you should do block each and every one of these men. Next, consider switching to a dating platform that requires more accountability (Hinge, for example, lists last names). While it may seem like these guys are specifically seeking you out, know that there are a slew of other gentlemen waiting to slide in your inbox who will put in real effort to date, not disrespect, you.
Don’t let these experiences discourage you and rob you of the chance to meet good men. In the meantime, you just need to keep doing you.
*June 2017 Survey of Hinge Members
Brande Victorian is the creator of Be-Enough.com where she chronicles tales of love in the time of weight loss along with other musings of her health and wellness journey. She also serves as Managing Editor of MadameNoire.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Send questions to Brande at firstname.lastname@example.org.