On Geek Guys' Elliot Rodger Think Pieces, Part 2

[Content Note: Misogyny; objectification; rape culture.]

Another trend I'm seeing in the Roger Elliot think pieces by self-described nerdy or geeky guys is the use of the phrase "out of my league," or the associated concept.

This idea—that there are some women, generally by virtue of their proximity to kyriarchal beauty standards, are inaccessible to certain men, by virtue of their deviation from kyriarchal beauty and/or traditional masculinity standards—is absolutely toxic. It is also bullshit.

It feeds the narrative that women are a sex class, whose only value to (straight) men is their sexual desirability and availability. It feeds the belief that physical attraction is the only component of attraction—or, at least, the only relevant one. It feeds the idea that entitlement to women is only a problem when men feel entitled to women whom they don't "deserve."

That is not a comprehensive list. That is only the mere tip of a huge iceberg of fuckery that's embedded with "out of my league" rhetoric.

For a moment, let me speak to my own experience as a woman who deviates from kyriarchal beauty standards in multiple ways, not least of which is being fat. I've been fat for my entire dating life, and I have never thought that anyone was "out of my league."

Already I feel the fingers itching to send me missives that I'm a delusional narcissist. (Aren't I always?) But the reason I've never thought someone was "out of my league" is because it's dehumanizing junk to impose on another person. Putting someone on a pedestal is just the flipside of considering them less than.

And because, although I'm aware that there will always be people—irrespective of their own appearance—who won't be attracted to me for a variety of reasons, physical attraction among them, I have enough solid attributes as a complex person that I never thought, "He's too good for me."

Which is a very different thought indeed than, "He might not be into me for any number of fucking reasons."

And, the truth is, "he's out of my league" presumes that a man I don't even know is good enough for me. Like it doesn't matter if he's a piece of shit, as long as he's good-looking.

I look for a little more than that in a partner.

As it happens, I've been with attractive dudes with whom I've connected in important ways who would have been deemed "out of my league" on looks alone, but they weren't "out of my league" because I'm awesome.

That's a joke, of course—the point is that they thought I was awesome, because instead of holding them in rapt adoration from afar, I let myself be known. One human being to another.

And the men who haven't found me awesome? Well, that is their right. Which seems like a pretty silly thing to say, when a fat woman says it, because no one would ever think anything else than that an idealized man has the right to reject a fat woman.

Yet the "out of my league" stuff is embedded with the idea that idealized women don't really have the right to reject men on the basis of anything but their looks, and that idealized women couldn't possibly reject a man on the basis of his being a shitbird with a lousy personality.

Sure, maybe some dudes wouldn't be into me because I'm fat. But there are dudes who wouldn't be into me because of my personality or politics or something else that is about who I am.

And because I don't feel entitled to anyone's affections, no less everyone's, I'm good with that.

That's not about "leagues." That's about human compatibility. Of which physical attraction is only one part.

"Out of my league" is a very convenient trope to avoid having to examine why it is that someone might reject you for reasons other than your appearance, and avoid respecting that, if they do, that's okay, because no one is entitled to another person's attention, or desire, or love, or friendship, or any piece of their humanity.

There's really just no such thing as objectively out of someone else's league. That's a projection onto attractive (or rich, or white, or popular, or WHATEVER) people to mask one's own insecurity and tendency to idealize and dehumanize other people.

To lazily dodge making oneself lovable, if one wants to be loved.

The thing about guys who claim they've been rejected exclusively because of their looks is that it's pretty evident, just in the way they report this assertion, that there are reasons why a woman might reject them which has nothing to do with their looks.

Does anyone really imagine that Elliot Rodger wasn't attractive to women because of his appearance? Does anyone really imagine if only he'd "gone after" slightly or significantly less attractive women, he would have had women lining up to date him?

I mean.

Listen, of course there are people who reject other people exclusively because of looks, but maybe those people aren't "out of your league" so much as they are simply "not interested."

That's really not a cause for frustration and resentment, if you don't feel entitled to the reflexive affections of anyone in whom you convey interest.

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