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Stop Preference Shaming

Stop Preference Shaming

“I like a long hair thick redbone.”

“I like ‘em brown, yellow, Puerto Rican or Haitian.”

“Dominican, Puerto Rican, yeah, you know they do it for me.”

“That’s right I like my girls BBW.”

Whether in 90s or 21st century hip hop songs, social media, or everyday conversations, men aren’t shy about saying what kind of physical traits they prefer their women to have. Women though, are often less vocal due to fear of criticism. Black women have a tendency to tell other black women that they're wrong for having a preferred physical type and seeking men that fit that type. Think Gabrielle Union who, after being called out by her friends on being color struck and then getting over that, went on to tell other women not to date their type. If there are no psychologically negative reasons behind one’s type, a woman shouldn’t be shamed for having one.

There’s a pastor out of Chicago, Matthew Stephenson, that says if you don’t know your type, you don’t know yourself. I agree. I know myself, and therefore I know what I like a man to look like down to the clothes, facial shape, and ethnicity. I call my preferred types “head-turners” because though I may find various men attractive, only certain types draw my eye first. If I were to write a song, it’d go “I like ‘em tall, chocolate, bearded, locs flowin’” (sung to the tune of Lil Wayne’s verse in “Every Girl”). I like stocky, athletic men with strong jaws who wear pants down to their ankles. (I’m not with the trend of cuffed pants.) Tattoos are a bonus, though I have none.

I’m not the only one drawn to a specific kind of eye candy. One friend of mine likes tall(er than her) black gingers (redheads) with a little extra meat on their bones (think Jidenna in the face and Tobias Whale in the waist). I have another friend who likes tall, thin, muscular men with a red undertone to their complexion.

Black women have a tendency to tell other black women that they’re wrong for having a preferred physical type and seeking men that fit that type.

Often when a woman expresses a physical type, her friends immediately chime in with: “Girl, you’re too picky,” “You’re putting yourself in a box,” or “Girl, don’t block your blessing.” All of these are problematic. First, picky is too often used as a pejorative term for women who know what they want in a partner. You get labeled picky if you want a decent-looking man with an education and a job and maybe a house or a car, when all you’re really asking for is a person who has achieved or is working to achieve similar things as you have. Not everyone’s down for struggle love.

Second, the idea of blocking one’s blessing makes it sound like attraction is too trivial for God to care about. However, if we know that some level of physical attraction is important to maintain intimacy and intimacy is a factor in long-lasting relationships, why wouldn’t God bring me a man I find attractive? (Emphasis on “I” because my person doesn’t have to be cute to anyone but me.) Obviously looks aren’t the most important thing, and a good personality can increase a person’s attractiveness, but unless a woman is talking about marrying a man just because he’s cute, don’t assume she’s closing herself off. Let her enjoy her eye candy without judgement.

The idea of blocking one’s blessing makes it sound like attraction is too trivial for God to care about.

One area where ladies catch the most flack for having a physical preference is when it comes to height. Tall women especially get told that we shouldn't want or try to find a tall man. For 5’9 and up women like me, “don’t block your blessing” is code for don’t reject that 5’6, 5’7, 5’8, or 5’9 guy. Yet people who use that phrase are often assuming that height is the only reason a tall woman is choosing not to date a guy. Height factors into attractiveness, just like arms, abs, eyes, etc. But let’s be real. If a man walks into your life who treats you well, isn't someone you find ugly, and fits the non-negotiables on your list (come on, sis, I know you have a list), you're going to make sure he wife's you (if you’re into the whole marriage thing). Even if he is a couple of inches shorter than you without heels.

What you won't do is say, “You're pretty much everything I want in a man, but you're too short. Bye.” That is not real life. That’s as fictional as that scene in Atlanta where, instead of enjoying the party, Tammy stares at then confronts some white woman about dating a black man. These things don’t actually happen as often as people think they do. None of the men I’ve dealt with fit my preferred physical type (and one was quite a bit shorter than I), but I still found them physically attractive. So they got a chance.

Ladies, don’t be afraid to acknowledge your physical type, knowing that if you want a long-lasting relationship, you’ll have to take more in consideration.

Do you have a preferred physical type? If so, leave us a comment, and tell us what you like.

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