Regardless of whether you love or hate MAFS, the blatant racism Selina experienced in her conversation with Cody was hurtful and out of pocket — and worse, it’s ridiculously common in the dating world. So let’s take this opportunity to talk about exactly why racial preferences in dating are straight up racist.
MAFS is good for a lot of things (raising your blood pressure, triggering your gag reflex, making you grateful for the person you are, etc), but one of its more useful traits is that, like all reality TV, it’s a springboard for broader conversations about society and its biases.
In case you missed the most recent episode, an act of blatant (yet somehow casual) racism assaulted our screens when Cody confirmed to Selina that he doesn’t find her as attractive as other women because she is Asian.
To give you a little context, contestants were asked to rank each other’s attractiveness (who the fuck thought of this??), and Selina revealed she’s been bullied her whole life for looking Asian.
“Because I’ve been severely bullied at school for being Asian, I was, you know, the odd one out. I was always the ugly duck and always made to feel different, so I physically can’t judge people based on their looks,” Selina explained.
But then, Cody (who is whiter than a toilet) ranked her lower than she expected — and when she asked why, he said she doesn’t look “familiar”, that she isn’t what he would “normally” go for, and that she doesn’t fit his “personal preference”.
When Selina cut through the bullshit and asked: “Is the lack of interest, attraction and affection due to my nationality and look?”, Cody said yes.
“I think it did, honestly, it’s something that did play at it, initially,” he said.
“I’m not racist by any means, but it’s not something I’m familiar with… Short answer is, it probably did.
“It’s just not ever something I’ve ever normally gone for, and that’s, I don’t know what that’s from, personal preference.”
Sorry to break it to those of you playing along at home, but it is racist to think an Asian woman is less attractive than all the white women in Sydney’s northern beaches purely on the grounds of her ethnicity, and here’s why.
Any woman (or person) of colour that has dated in Australia has probably had two specific dating experiences: people who fetishise you for your race, and people who are repelled by it. Both of these are racist, but let’s focus on the latter.
Excluding a specific race from attraction means you’ve made two assumptions about the people of that race: 1) they’re all unattractive and 2) they all look the same.
When you consider there are millions of people that belong to these races, and you’ve painted them all with the same negative brush, what you’ve done is essentially deny their individuality, diversity and unique personhood.
Cody’s comments about not initially finding Selina attractive because of her race goes deeper than just being a “preference”. It’s bias and it’s racism. I’m sick of yt people seeing other races as less attractive and calling it “having a type” #mafs— Saskia (@saskia_m_t) February 9, 2022
You’ve reduced them all to a subset of phenotypes and stereotypes you think everyone from this race exhibits, and then you’ve dismissed all those traits as inferior to your own. Which is racist.
And speaking of inferiority, the idea that white women specifically are more superior in attractiveness than Asian women is actually rooted in white supremacy — something we all have a responsibility to unlearn.
It’s important we call out this pattern of behaviour for what it is (racist). Because I know from my own experience that more people share this belief.
As a woman of colour based in Sydney myself, I cannot count the amount of times I have either been fetishised or told that I am ugly/repulsive based on my race. And in Sydney, at least for me, it was almost always white men from the northern and eastern suburbs that held these beliefs and subjected me to their buffoonery.
It’s honestly so sad and frustrating to see this racist bullshit persist on MAFS, on *national TV*, but with the right response from us viewers, this could be a learning experience for all the racists in our lives who clearly have no idea their preferences are harmful.
The key takeaway here is that basically, you should date someone because you like them as a person, not because of their ethnicity, or lack of.
And if you think it’s okay to find people unattractive purely based on their race, you need to do some serious self-reflection and consider what elements of white supremacy you’ve internalised.
Hotness is a vibe, not a look. K thx bye.
Soaliha (@soalihaofficial) is a staff writer for PEDESTRIAN.TV, and she also has her own podcast called Here’s The Thing, Tho, which you should totally check out if you want to learn more about this topic.