So, a friend of mine sent me a link last night to a gorgeous wedding photo of a cute couple. Both members of the couple happened to be fat. I went to find the source to check out something else about the picture, but when I found it, I stumbled across the comments, which was probably a bad thing….
I do believe there is an element of construction here, though. We’re taught what to like. I hate to use a food example, but bear with me for a moment. We’ve all got individual tastes. Things we love and things we loathe. And we’ve also got culturally constructed ideas of “the norm” - things we classify as food simply because we are told they are food and things we classify as “gross” because they aren’t part of our cultural conceptualization of food.
Your own personal tastes do not play into whether or not you think beetles are a food source - that’s cultural construction. Beetles may hit every zinger on your tongue, but you (hypothetical you) may never know because “ew, bugs, those aren’t food.”
When we look at bodies that deviate from the mainstream, a lot of our responses are learned responses. Because just as fat people (and other people who deviate from “the norm”) are constantly barraged with messages about what is attractive and what is not… so is everyone else.
When I stopped viewing fat as an automatically terrible thing on my own body, fat people in general got a lot more attractive - I was ALLOWED to view not only myself but everyone else as attractive and so my own tastes broadened - or, not even broadened. I realized what my own tastes were as opposed to what my culturally constructed tastes were.