The Eyes of the Beholder

I was reading a manga, like a like to do in my spare time and this one followed an unusual vein.

Those of you who read manga know that all characters have the typical lithe body, tall, slender and beautiful. These things are all very appealing and pretty standard.

Then I ran into this one manga “Pochamani” which is the story about this guy who falls for a girl that is, for lack of a better word, fat. Now here’s where it gets interesting.

People around the guy call him “A waste of a hot guy” because he only goes for big girls. That’s his preference. That’s the kind of girl he likes. But even as we go through the story of these two and we see their love bloom, the girl is facing a few insecurities of her own.

Is her fatness the only thing that attracted him to her? Is that all there is to their relationship?

Intriguingly, no.

(Spoiler alert here!!)

He tells her that he’s watched other big girls before but none of them appealed to him. The reason she appealed to him the most was because she had something in her that he really loved – she had learned how to love herself and how to appreciate her body unlike other girls who pushed it aside and let their self-hate fester inside them.

A similar manga is “Mori no Takuma-san” which features a girl who loves beautiful things and hot guys falling in love with a big guy. She learns to look past all the other conventions and, as we follow their comical romance, we learn that the beholder can also change their views on the object of their affection. It’s adorable and hilarious and well worth a read.

Now, I’ve talked about this topic of appreciating myself before (See my post on Scared to Eat) but this is a sort of flip side. I find it very ironic that much as “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” some of us are very harshly judged for our choices of who we decide to love.

I recently discovered that thin-shaming is a thing and I regret the fact that, in my trying to accept my big body for what it is, I may have made similar comments in the past. I feel very ashamed about that. Nobody should be made to feel inferior for their body shape or size. More to the point it got me thinking.

Let’s set religion and cultures aside for a moment. If we strip away all the societal covers and conventions, it all just boils down to us being people. People who can have a relationship with one another. Now we add the stigma. Too thin, too fat. Too tall, too short. Has a condition. Has terrible teeth. Has a mole on their face. Has this body or that one. Too sweaty. Not this race, not that race. Not brown eyes, not blue, not green, not grey, not purple. Too many piercings and tattoos or not enough. Too ordinary, too extra. Too this, too that.

In the end, the beholder is the only one who can determine for themselves what is beautiful. I like gentle giants – tall and gentle. Whether the “giant” here for me indicates width or muscles I don’t know; it can honestly go both ways. It may be a result of my childhood. I may be modelling this ideal male on my father (who come to think of it, is pretty much as gentle a giant as I can think of) as Psychology says I probably would. Or I may genuinely feel more safe and protected with this kind of guy… but there you go.

I have no skin colour preferences. I am straight so I prefer to date men. I would prefer a religious person. I would like a humorous person. I would prefer someone older than me – even if it is by an hour. I prefer beards and goatees to clean shaven faces.

All of these are my preferences as the beholder.

Someone else would prefer someone from another race who was shorter and wiry. Others prefer pale skin and freckles. Others go crazy for frizzy hair. That mole on the face could well be appealing in another culture. Those “ugly” tattoos or skin markings are appealing to someone else. In the end, the beholder is all that matters in their personal opinions.

I don’t have to like only people from my race. I don’t have to like people younger than me (my big-sister switch tends to turn on when I have to deal with someone younger). I don’t have to deal with someone that doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t have to put up with a terrible temper. I don’t much care for riches but I wouldn’t want to be destitute.

Everyone has to live with the choices they make for their significant others. Whichever way that ends, in heartache, heartbreak, happiness or contentment, it becomes a part of our lives. Our choices become memories. Our experiences shape our futures, our attitudes and behaviour. We become better or worse for our choices.

So, if that is the case, if I must wake up next to someone every morning for the rest of my days, if I must weather all the storms of life with this one human, if I must trust this human so much I am willing to elevate them to the status of family… shouldn’t I at least be attracted to them? I mean, looks aren’t everything, but surely. And why should I let anyone else form the opinion for me of who I like and why I like them? Someone else’s ideal certainly can’t be mine. I have to form that opinion myself.

That’s why I was so fascinated by Pochamani. It emphasised the fact that no matter what anybody else thinks, no matter what insecurities the beheld has, there is something to be said about the eyes of the beholder. If I am beautiful to someone, I accept it. If someone is beautiful to me, I would love them to accept it. I certainly wouldn’t appreciate being put down because of it. I know nobody would appreciate being put down because of what they like or find appealing.

So the beholder wins in the end. Beautiful is beautiful in their eyes.

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