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According To Experts, We All Have A "Type"

Believe it or not, science has something to do with it.

Her Voice

I have a type. Pretty much unapologetically so. At least 6'3". Dark chocolate is preferred. Please have bowed legs and a toned body (like a basketball or soccer player). I've accepted that I'm kind of into pretty boys, but they must be a little rough around the edges. As far as characteristics go? Brilliant. Quick- witted. Uber masculine. Mad creative. Drawn to philanthropy. Spiritual. Sexy. Yeeeah, just thinking about my list brings a smile to my face; some pretty cool memories too.

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Not to say that my type hasn't come with some of its own specialized brand of bullshishery too. It has. Boy, has it. I think that's a part of the reason why I'm not so big on sticking to a type, just for "type's sake" as much as I used to be. I mean, my late fiancé wasn't about half of the things on my preferred list and he treated me better than most of the men I've dated—or sexed—who were my actual type. Wisdom has taught me that this reality is a fact that I certainly should not overlook.

At the same time, being that so many people in my world (both men and women alike) have a traditional type, I was curious to know why we keep searching for someone who fits into our desired specifics, even if our past has taught us that our type may not be the best thing for us. Believe it or not, science has something to do with it.

According to an article that TIME published a few years back, a lot of what we find to be attractive has to do with our personal life experiences; that although we could walk up to any random person, have a discussion about what we both find attractive and agree half of the time on our stated traits (that's what the article says anyway), the other half is all our own. It's based on where we live, what we've been through and who we've made personal connections with. Matter of fact, Laura Germine (one of the authors featured in the study) said that if we see a face and then have a positive experience with that individual, not only will we find them attractive, we'll also be drawn to others who have a look that is very similar to theirs.

Another thing that can make us decide whether someone is attractive or not is the amount of exposure we have to them. Meaning, if we keep looking at the same face over and over again, we can start to find them attractive as well (I'm pretty sure that's exactly what the media is betting on, which is why we get inundated with certain faces and body types all of the time). Then, when a face that we're not familiar with comes along, we might initially deem it as being unattractive because it's not a look that we're accustomed too.

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This whole "type thing" goes well beyond looks, though. Another scientific study that I checked out said that although when we break up with someone, our initial intention may be to look for the next individual to be different from our ex, more times than not, we tend to gravitate to a person who is very similar to them. A part of the reason why is based on something that a lot of people choose to give push back on—that "We are what we attract".

Why do I say that? It's not me, it's the article. According to it, we tend to be interested in people who have some of our similar personality traits (traits that are good or not so good). There's more—we also have a strong attraction to individuals whose personality is a lot like our exes—the good and the not so good. It's not so much about whether we like all of their traits so much as we are familiar with them.

And still, there's more.

Something that I share in my first book is, once I decided to go through some sexual detoxing—in part, so that I could see if I had a "type" in that area—something that I recognized was many of my sex partners physically resembled the family member who molested me (over 6', chocolate and because he was an adult and I was a child, well-endowed) and the first sex partner that I chose to be with (also over 6' and chocolate; not bad in the genitalia department). Yeah, I've always believed that sex is so powerful that our first time (or best or worst time) can significantly influence/affect the kind of partners and sex we have after them. It would appear that I'm not alone in feeling this way.

In the article "Age of First Sexual Experience Determines Relationship Outcomes Later in Life", it stated that "the timing of when a person first has sexual intercourse clearly influences the stability and quality of future romantic relationships" and in the article "Can Your Sexual Debut Predict Your Future?", the author of it shares that having sex under the age of 15 (whether it's consensual or not) "raises the level of risk for future delinquency as well as mental and physical health difficulties (depression, eating disorders, unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases)". The author also shared that if our first experience is good, we'll tend to have a healthy view of sex. On the other hand, if it is shrouded in guilt or shame (including getting caught by a parent), that could put a "cloud" over our sex lives for years to come.

You know what they say—when you know better, you do better.

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So, think about your type for just a moment. Do you keep picking people who are a mirror reflection of yourself? Maybe it's individuals who resemble your ex (or exes). When you reminisce over your first time, does it have any striking similarities to the kind of sex that you prefer even now?

It really is interesting. After doing all of this research and reading, the word that came to my mind for type was "pattern". And when I went to Google signs that we have patterns that we need to break, tons of links about unhealthy relationships and toxic connections came up. I'm sure that's not some random cosmic coincidence.

Look y'all, I'm not saying that having a type is always or necessarily a bad thing. But what I am trying to convey is if you know that you've got one but things have not been working out for you in the way you would like, perhaps sticking to your type is a part of the reason why; especially since you now know where having a type comes from.

I still want a tall Godiva Black man. And honestly, the Black part is non-negotiable. But because I know trauma and familiarity play somewhat of a direct role in why that may be the case, I'm open to go "against type"—finally. Are you?

Featured image by Unsplash

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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