Pretty Privilege

In this episode, Matt Landsiedel and Andre-Lee Wills unpack the hot topic of pretty privilege.

Pretty privilege works on the principle that people who are deemed more attractive—based on accepted societal beauty standards—have an upper hand in the world and are afforded many opportunities that less “attractive” people don’t have. Yet, it’s not often that people are willing to admit it—or even talk about it—especially if they’re on the receiving end of its benefits.

Here is what Matt and Andre-Lee explored in this episode:

  • What is pretty privilege?
  • What is your personal experience with pretty privilege?
  • Why is this topic important for gay men to discuss?
  • What does it mean to be attractive?
  • Why does our culture place so much emphasis on attractiveness?
  • How does pretty privilege relate to ageism, racism or sexism?
  • How can we start to deconstruct the system that is conditioning us to be so limited in our definition of attractive?

Connect with Andre-Lee:

Andre-Lee Wills is an Empowerment Coach. He uses his unique gifts and talents to offer guidance, support, and assistance to others in being an expression of their truest and highest self. He is adept in career coaching, life and relationship coaching, communication, team building, and organizational management.

[email protected]

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Welcome to a gay men going deeper, a podcast series by the gay men’s brotherhood, where we talk about personal development, mental health, and sexuality. I am your host, Matt Landsiedel. I’m a transformative life coach, empathic healer and spiritual teacher. I specialize in teaching people how to heal shame and trauma and embody their authentic self so they can enjoy more meaningful connections in their lives.

My area of expertise, or working with highly sensitive people, empaths and gay men to develop a stronger sense of self-worth. We are joined today by Andre Lee wills. Welcome Andre. Thank you for having me. Yeah, it’s great to have you here. I want to let everybody know what today’s topic is pretty privileged. So Andrea and I are going to do our best to unpack this topic for you and share some of our personal experiences.

So we will start out by talking a bit about what pretty privilege is, what our personal experiences are with pretty privilege and why this topic is important for gay men to discuss what does it mean to be attractive? Why does our culture place so much emphasis on attractiveness and how does pretty privileged relate to age-ism racism or sexism? And then the lastly we’ll unpack,

how can we start to deconstruct the system that this conditioning for us to be attractive and start to really explore thickening the definition of what attractiveness means? I think w you know, we’re, we’re really, you know, you look at pretty privileged and it’s about another term is beauty bias, right? And how we have these beauty standards that have really dominated what it means to be attractive.

And I think Andrea and I are really inspired to today to want to help break that down and, and really examine what that means. So, but I do want to formally introduce you Andre, cause you’re doing some really wonderful things in this world and they deserve to have voice brought to them. So you’re an empowerment coach. You use your unique gifts and talents to offer guidance,

support, and assistance to others in being an expression of their truest and highest self. You’re, an adept in career coaching life and relationship coaching and communication team building and organizational management. So I do know you on a personal level, and I know that you, you do have very unique gifts and talents, and I’m really excited for the listener viewer to be able to experience that from you today.

And I’m also excited to be able to experience her wisdom today as well. So it’s important for everybody to know to you approached to meet, well, I approached you asking if you wanted to do a podcast because we have good vibes and I wanted to share those with the world, but you actually brought forward the topic of pretty privileged. And I’m curious if we,

you know, how come you wanted to unpack this topic? What’s your, what’s your inspiration to, to wanting to dive into this one? So, you know, that is a great question. I actually struggled with the question when I even brought it up, because the question is such a vulnerable question. It’s such a vulnerable topic. And right now what I’m dealing with personally,

that drives this topic is I am 39 years old. Oh my God. I said that out loud. Did you hear that in August? I’m going to be 40. And I’m in conversation with a friend of mine. I am just very resistant. I, didn’t not like the idea of turning 40. I’m like resisting it. And I’ve been com even more obsessed with beauty than ever before in my life.

And he always tried to talk me down and he always brings up Louise. Hay’s made a mention that in one of her books, that her observation with the gay community is that they do have a tendency to be obsessed with age. And they do have a tendency to also, you know, die early because to them, certain ages are like old, old,

and life is over. And as I’m getting close to the 40, I’m like, I’m kind of feeling that in a lot of ways. So, you know, I’m spending a lot of time doing things that I hate, which are like beauty regimens, face masks to come for all of that stuff. I’m doing it all because I’m trying to reverse,

I appreciate your vulnerability. I appreciate your vulnerability. And I just had a birthday. I just turned 37 age for me. It’s interesting. It doesn’t seem to be a very big thing for me, but I have been and still do find myself attached to my appearance and attached to the stories that I tell myself about my level of attractiveness. And I do have experience with pretty privileged.

And I think my, you know, being able to wait when you first asked me to do this podcast, I was like, great. Like, let’s get together, let’s have the conversation. We had the conversation, the prep talk all was good. And then I started to think about it. I’m like, oh, this is a really vulnerable thing for me to talk about.

And I felt very, it feels very exposing because it is something that I benefit from in my life and have benefited from. And, but I do think that it’s really important to talk about it because I think it’s one of the things that brings up a lot of discomfort for people, especially if they’re on the receiving end of the privilege, right? It’s like having a conversation about white privilege.

It’s it can be really uncomfortable for somebody that is on the receiving end of receiving privilege. Right? So I do think that this is going to be a really awesome conversation and I’m looking forward to exposing myself and you’re exposing yourself. And some of the things that you’re navigating on this journey. So Let’s, let’s start off by defining what pretty privileges. So this is out of the article that you had sent me.

It’s a pretty privileged works on the principle that people who are deemed more attractive based on accepted societal beauty standards have an upper hand in the world and are afforded many opportunities that us attractive folks, I’m saying that in quotation marks don’t have. So, and then it goes on and on and on in the article to note that it is really not often that we’re willing to admit it or even talk about it,

especially if we’re on the receiving end of the benefits of having pretty privileged. So I think the definition is pretty good to be honest. It, it, you know, like I said off the top beauty bias is another term for, for this. And it’s, we, we live in a world where we’re inundated with media and Instagram photos and people using filters and beauty to seems there just seems to be such an obsession with beauty and attractiveness.

And I do think that we’re at the heightened, we’re at the precipice of, of this in, in my opinion, because there’s so much access to seeing people putting their best foot forward. So is there anything that you want to add to that definition or, or how you view pretty privileged? You know, I think ever since I was a child,

I was obsessed with power and maybe because it felt like that was a lack of power. And I think we’re pretty privileged started to really become reinforced in my own mind was the idea that if I had this, I would have access to power And this, this would be like an unlimited resource. As long as I have this, I had power. So I watched television shows and you would see a woman that has no job.

She’s not working, she’s doing that. And she’s able to live a great lifestyle because she has all these men that are attracted to her and they’re willing to give everything they have just to make sure she’s comfortable and then trying to understand society and gender, and a lot of confusion for that. For me, I really started to think that, wow, if you had that,

not that I don’t want to work. It’s just, it’s a great backup plan. If I didn’t want to work, I didn’t have to, because I could just find me a nice rich cat daddy who would cover all the bills and cover it. I just, I just always saw it as power. And I think television tends to, and media tends to cast a particular way and the way in which they cast,

you know, it was very open for interpretation. And in sometimes we interpret things and this is the way you need to be in order to get certain things. So, you know, I’ve been obsessed with it since the time I was a child. And I still feel like I have questions that are unanswered, so hopefully we can get to figuring some things out today.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I appreciate you sharing that. And I think it is really related when you think about people having pretty privileged. I think about status. I think about power. I think about confidence in what access to resources and typically, you know, the more attractive somebody is, the more they’re going to have access to these things, you know,

all I’ll answer the next question. So what is my personal experience with pretty privileged? I think, You know, I kind of have a really mixed experience with it and I want to share both like both sides to it, the benefits and the negative aspects of having it. Because I think oftentimes people think that, oh, when somebody is attractive, that they must have it so easy,

right. And it must be just great to have all this access to these things like status and power. But my, my journey was actually quite challenging around this because I, I, what happened to me was I did get a lot of validation when I was younger, growing up around being attractive. And, and I had people wanting to be around me and wanting to,

you know, offer me resources in these sorts of things. But what I noticed happened was I didn’t develop an internal sense of worthiness because my worth came from how people perceived me and how people would compliment me and tell me these things. And it’s, it’s like, I, I, I, I became addicted to external validation because of it. And I kinda hit a point in my journey.

And this was when I, I left my counseling role and I got into doing fitness and nutrition coaching. And I became really obsessed with my body and my appearance. And I didn’t realize, but I was very motivated by shame. Shame was a huge motivator for me. And whenever I experienced external validation from somebody, it would just reinforce the shame and it would reinforce me not doing the deep inner work that I had to do to get to the place of feeling internally worthy.

So I ended up, you know, w it was about three years ago, I did a fitness competition. And I had like, almost like an epiphany when I was on stage. And I was like, this is so few tile, like, literally I’m onstage flexing my muscles and people are judging me based off of my external appearance. And I just felt like there’s gotta be more,

there’s gotta be something more. So I basically stopped working out, stopped, engaging in fitness. And I, I D I did something called I call like turning off the taps of external validation. I moved to Asia. I basically was a hermit for like a year. And I stopped posting pictures and, and seeking, like, doing all the little things I was doing to seek external validation from people and worthiness,

which was, you know, posting shirtless pictures all the time. And watching people watch me. That was a big thing that I would engage in when I, you know, when you’re out and about, and people are checking you out because they see you as attractive. And I would watch that and it would make me feel good about myself. So anyways,

I hit a point where I realized that I didn’t have my own power. Everybody else had my power, right. They, if they told me I was attractive, I could feel attractive if right. So I became, I became at the, you know, basically at the mercy of other people telling me that I’m, that I’m good enough. And so this for me was the real shadow side of,

of this. And, and it was really challenging because when you go from, from being externally validated all the time to shutting off that you’re literally left with no source of worthiness because your worthiness is purely outside yourself. So the deep inner work that I did over the course of the last three years was really, you know, shutting that part of me off and learning how to just find myself attractive and learning how to love myself.

And so, so there’s that side of it. Okay. I w I really want, I wanted to bring voice to that because I think oftentimes we think the grass is greener on the other side, and I want to paint a picture of both sides. So that’s, that for me would be the shadow side. The other side is yes, I’ve experienced a lot of privilege because of being traditionally attractive.

And again, I use quotation marks because I really don’t believe that there’s one definition of attractive, and yes, unfortunately we’ve been sold that story by the media. And that’s why I agreed to do this podcast, because I really want to unpack that and really thicken up the definition of what it means to be attractive. But some of the ways that I’ve,

I’ve benefited from, you know, being traditionally attractive or whatever you want to call it is, you know, getting out of trouble easily. So like, you get pulled over by the police. And for some reason, I just have never gotten tickets. I they’re always letting me off. And maybe that has something to do with the color of my skin as well.

Not necessarily my level of attractiveness. So there’s certain things that come into play there. People tend to gravitate towards me. So if I go to an event or something, and I walk into a, I feel like I’m, I’m people tend to notice me more easily, and then they want to, they’re drawn to me. So they want to be around me.

And that, again, that could be my appearance. It could also be my energy, right. I don’t want to just jump it up to that. And then I would say access to opportunities has been a big one. So, you know, you’re at a job interview and, you know, people tend to favor people that are more attractive or at least attractive to the standards that they’ve applied to what it means to be attractive.

And then the last one, and this was in, in that article that you sent, and there’s a lot of research around confidence and how, you know, that’s one of the reasons why we, well, there’s, there’s, I think there’s two sides to this, to this. You know, the first one being evolutionary psychology shows that when we are perceived as cute,

right, as babies, and we have big eyes and we have small noses and we’re perceived as being attractive or cute than we’re likely more likely to get our needs met. And we’re more likely for people to perceive us as attractive, and then we have access to resources. So there is an evolutionary psychology component to it. And then the other aspect I would say would be confidence and how,

when we are more attractive, that we tend to operate within a framework of being more confident. And people are really drawn to people who are confident and when you’re in a job interview and you’re attractive and you have more confidence that can also be kind of like a, you know, a correlation between, you know, accessing privilege and not, but the root would be that ID myself to be attractive so that there,

therefore I can be more confident. So, yeah, these are, these are kind of it kind of a few of the things that really kind of paint the picture for how I’ve experienced this. And I’m sure there’s going to be more that comes out throughout the episode that I’ll be able to share, but I’ll leave it there. I actually want to ask you some questions.

If you don’t mind, that’s something that really sparked my interest. I like to do fitness competitions. So my question is, is what was that like for you inside of that process? Like, what was that like, why you were in the competition, do you remember? I do. Yeah. And you know, what’s interesting is when everybody around you is attractive,

do you actually have privilege, Right? And that, and everybody in these competitions tends to be attractive, their bodies ripped. So, and what ends up happening for me is it’s like the game of comparison, right? It’s like, because at that time I wasn’t feeling worthy. I wasn’t feeling good in my own body. And to be completely honest,

that that time in my life, I was the least confident. And I had the least worthiness and I looked the best. So to the outside world, they probably thought, oh man, this guy has it made. But internally I felt like super small. I felt inadequate. I felt embarrassed, shameful, like all these things. It was just such a,

it’s such an interesting time in my life, but it was the period of, in my life that I needed to wake up to the futility of Physical attractiveness and these sorts of things. It’s just, it’s very few tile for me. And now that I’ve done this work, like, I feel like I don’t really value that as much, you know,

in myself and even in others, like I’m very drawn to people’s energy and I’m very drawn to people’s souls. And I don’t like, I’m not going to say I don’t at all put place emphasis or value on physical attractiveness. Cause I think I would be lying, but it’s definitely not sitting at the top of the totem pole, like it used to.

And so, yeah. You know, I just want to really thank you for sharing that. That was amazing. I don’t know if you are present to how powerful that is. Oh, I’m so sorry. I apologize. I don’t know if you’re present to how powerful that is for the fact of the matter is that I had no idea I’m really present to like the biases that I had and the things that I would witness when I would look at people in fitness competitions and you know,

actually in a lot of ways I want to thank you because it’s people like you, who helped me to figure out that I was gay looking for when I go to the store, like try to get away with, I’m just interested in getting fit in the article while I’m putting my God look at this guy. Oh my God. Yeah. But we never,

I’ve never actually perceived or even thought of what is going on in the mind of people who are in that space of privilege. All I could think of is, wow. They haven’t made a great place to be. And a lot of ways, like you’ve made it seem so disinterested, which is so great. You know, you bunked a myth for me that,

oh, if I’m there and I’m doing that, I would be great and awesome. And I I’m like, wait, you’re miserable. I’m not enrolled in that. I’m not signing up for miserable. You know, I attribute most of this to my spiritual path because my spiritual path has been all about connecting to my soul, connecting to the wisdom of my soul.

My soul does not give a shit what the body it inhabits looks like. Right. Whereas my ego is very attached to that, right. So when I was getting all of this validation for being attractive, it was just building my ego bigger and bigger and bigger. Right. And the ego does give a shit that, you know, what the body looks like to which it inhabits.

Right? So I was very much operating within this egoic structure. And then this deep inner work that I’ve done around my, you know, developing my spiritual path, that’s really how I started to understand the futility of beauty and that our beauty based off of the standards that we operate within is we’re always moving towards destruction of our beauty. Right. And I say that like from the conditioning we’ve received,

I truly don’t believe that we get uglier as we get older. That’s not a belief that I have. I believe I, I will look at people that are like older adults and I’ll be like, man, like look at the way that their lines in their face. It just lights up when they smile and these things, I appreciate those things. Right.

But it really does put, put, puts a lot of pressure on us when we are operating just out of ego. And we’re so attached to our appearance, right. We’re all gonna have a wake up call at some point in our lives when our beauty and, and the things that we’ve attached to start to fade. And I wanted to do this work now,

as opposed to it being forced upon me through having to unpack my conditioning that I’ve received around aging. Right. So I wanted to get ahead of the game. And that’s why I started to do this now, because I do know that the gay community also puts a lot of pressure like in the gay community, 40 is equivalent to what heterosexual people view as like 60,

right? Like, and that’s sad. That makes me really sad. And I want to change that. And I want to be part of the movement of like shifting this because, you know, I think as we get older, we get, we get sexier and we get more confident and we get, we’re just more settled into ourselves. And I don’t like the fact that we live in this culture where we put so much emphasis on youth and,

you know, and lack of energetic attraction and intellectual attraction and emotional attraction. Like these are really where the meat and potatoes are, you know, in, in my opinion. And you’re also a demisexual too. So I know you understand that. Okay. And you know, what’s interesting. I think what’s really great about this conversation is it’s going to cause us and those that are listening to really expand in the way in which we use beauty.

Because right now I just got my life when you said, oh, I find, I look at an older people that are attractive and have those lines and whatever. And you remember, I started this call with like, I don’t want to get old. And it just expanded like, oh wait, I could get more attractive as I get older. Like,

and you know, if I could share around my experience with pretty privilege. So for me growing up, I don’t think I don’t have a formal diagnosis now. I don’t want people to think that I’m diagnosed or I’m diagnosing, but I very much relate to the idea or the notion of body dysmorphia. The reason why I relate to it is because the image in my head of what I view as beautiful,

which is my favorite word actually, or attractive is very different than what I see. So it’s not as though I wasn’t told that I was good-looking by people growing up. It’s just that I didn’t believe them. And there were also people who would say to me that I wasn’t attractive, and those are who I chose to believe. Like they would validate my belief because what I thought was attractive,

wasn’t in what I was seeing and where in certain ways I have power is like, I really relate to the transgender community in the sense that I know what it feels like to feel like you’re in the wrong body. If that makes sense, like who I felt I was, did not match up with what I saw in the mirror. And it became very toxic because I literally wanted to rip,

you know, my body to shreds and start sewing together. Something else, something that I thought was appropriate. So I couldn’t, I couldn’t understand my own attractiveness if, if that was present still don’t really. And what if it created right, was this ability to compensate, right? So, you know, when you, you, you lose one eye,

right? You get blind in one eye. The other eye gets really strong, right? You competency. So what I noticed that I could get validation from was being logical, being intellectual, and I can get immediate validation. I could go to school and I can answer a question, right. And the teacher would say, very good, that’s the right answer.

And that was something that couldn’t be disproven, that was factual to me. So I really, and created a reputation in the privilege of what it would be to be perceived as smart or intellectual. And even in using that strength, that’s where I started to study certain things. Like I am a person who just doesn’t like things hard. So for me,

if I can create that context, so really quickly, they interviewed bill gates a long time ago and asked him, what do you do when you have a lazy employee? And they said, oh, I give him the hardest task to do. I give him the hardest work. And the interview goes, oh, that’s smart. Because if you give them the hardest job,

they’ll quit or they’ll mess up and you can fire them and look at this. No, not at all. He said, they’ll find the easiest way to get it done. That’s what, I’m that employee? I like everything easy. I always find the easiest way to get things done. So part of my obsession with pretty privilege was that it just seemed like an easy way to get things done.

Whereas if you don’t have it, you can supplement, you can, you know, you can be sexy, which to me is distinct. You don’t have to be attractive to be sex. Yeah. You know, when we talk about the soul, you know, I hear it as there’s a way of being as a way that you could make your way B and I would go to work on that.

Like I would be humorous and that would get me a lot of attention. I could be smooth, I can be savvy. And those things would get a lot of tension. So I didn’t know that if I didn’t have the pretty, I could still be successful. What I wasn’t so much signing up for is life being hard. I wanted, I wanted it easy and still do.

And the obsession that comes from the pretty privileged is, you mean, I can just walk into a room and then people would approach me. I don’t actually have to do the work of introducing myself and having a, you know, a whole bio appear in my mind. I could just be quiet and that’s all it takes. So for me, my,

my interpretation and my understanding of pretty privileged is that the power that you get through it is life can be easy. So what There’s so much there, there was. So I had to write some things down, but I think I’ll start with the first thing that you had said around body dysmorphia. Because I think, you know, like I said, I was really miserable and I was really unhappy because when you’re,

when you, when you do transform your body and you are, you know, we all this image inside of our heads of how we look right. And that’s the, that’s the transformation that we need to, to really work on. Right. And a lot of us like let’s, for the, for example, I used to do fitness, nutrition,

coaching. I did a lot of weight loss coaching, and a lot of people when they lose weight, they still feel like that overweight or obese person inside the, in the, in the, the mental image of, of who they are. And one of the motivators for me to doing, getting involved in fitness was I was very skinny as a,

as a kid. And I hated it. I hated being skinny. It made me look feminine. I hated looking in the mirror. And I started having like body image issues. When I was really young, both my parents were into bodybuilding and very obsessed with fitness. So I was always around gyms. I was always around good looking people that were really fit.

And I started to apply a lot of pressure on myself from a very young age. And my main objective was to move away from femininity. I wanted to be seen as masculine. So that’s why I got into doing fitness and nutrition and coaching and, and just getting involved with it myself, because I was moving away from who I didn’t want to be.

And that is shame driven. Right. And that led me down the path of meeting other people to tell me I am X, Y, and Z. So I can feel good about myself, right. It’s a very, very slippery slope. And it’s a, it’s a trap. It really is. It’s an ego trap that we get stuck in and there’s a lot of downsides to it.

Right. So, and I just, I just think that I w I wanna reiterate what you said around sexiness, because for me, I have never felt more sexy than I do right now in my life. And I haven’t worked out in three years. My body is a lot softer looking. I have a bit of fat around my midsection, not a lot,

but it’s there and it’s not, I’m not, I’m not used to it. I’ve had a six pack abs my whole life pretty much. And, and I feel so sexy because I’ve learned how to feel, sexy, not look sexy so I can feel sexy. I just have learned to move my body. I’ve learned to appreciate how I feel in my body.

And that is the, that’s the essence of sexiness for me. And, you know, I know everybody will, or most people will relate to this, but you know, when you’re out in a boat and you see somebody that maybe they’re not traditionally attractive, but they are moving their body and they just have a confidence about them and their energy, everything about their energy is just radiating sexiness.

And that person is so attractive. Right. That’s what we’re capable of as human beings. We’re capable of being attracted to each other’s energetic energetics. Right. And that’s where we’re sexiness happens. And another example too, that I’ll use is, you know, like when you’re having sex, right? Like most of the times our eyes are closed or we’re just in the moment and you’re just feeling the body of somebody else.

You’re not like examining it, watching it. And you know, like, so that’s when you fall into the essence of sexiness and the essence of attractiveness, which is in my opinion, how we’re meant to be experiencing it. And I can just hear the voices of people being like, well, no, that’s not true because men are programmed to view,

like, that’s, that’s. I heard that here, the lot, a lot in evolutionary psychology that men are programmed for, for this, for this exact thing to have biases and, and to, you know, we’re very visually governed and we, we want attractive mates. And that is very, very true. Right. And we compete with, you know,

in all species there’s competition amongst males to pick out the most attractive mate. Right. So this is part of it. I get that. But that doesn’t mean just because psychology, evolutionary, psychology says that’s how it, it, it has been doesn’t mean that that’s how it always has to be. And I think the conversation that we’re having, I want that to,

for people to start to challenge that, that we don’t have to be governed by attractiveness. We can be governed by other aspects of our nature, but we need to wake up to these things, right. We need to connect with our soul. We need to connect with our body. We need to connect with energy so we can start to see attractiveness and the definition of attractiveness start to expand.

Right. And not be so limited, which, you know, traditionally you look at what is attractive and it’s very Eurocentric. It’s white, tall, thin, symmetrical, like these sorts of things. And it’s just we’re that doesn’t work. It doesn’t work anymore. You know what I mean? We need to be broadening that, that definition. So,

yeah. Okay. So, you know, you said something quite interesting because the one thing I hate to admit, right. And that I think a lot of people don’t, and it is, it’s really a control issue. It’s very hard for me to be at peace with the fact that if there is areas and spaces in my life where I don’t have control and having to be okay with that,

when it comes to attraction, when it comes to love, when it comes to relationships, there are no rules. There is, it is, everything is completely out of your control. And you notice a lot of confrontations stems in those areas from control. So, you know, I’ve seen people like I have friends who will get so upset with certain things with dating or online dating.

And it’s really the fact that they have no control over the person that they’re attracted to. And they’re so resentful for the fact that they can’t just walk into a store and build a man or a woman, whatever you’re attracted to build the perfect person for them and walk out and get it just like that. So I think definitely, you know, as a control issue because of we’ve released control,

I think we would understand that people like what they like, and there is a demographic out there for you, you even when you look at the LGBTQ commitment, our, our, our advocacy for equality, it’s really the fact that people don’t understand that we can debate all we want if being gay is genetic or environmental. But the truth is, is that attraction is just not with our,

in our control. Yeah. And if people could see it from that perspective, so, you know, there’s people out here that are attracted to tall, there are people out here they’re attracted to short, even for the heterosexual community. They like what they like. And sometimes they mad about it. It’s like, oh, why do I have to like this type of,

why do I have to be attracted to this type of person? Life would be so much easier if I wasn’t. And that’s the humanistic connection is that, you know, we wish we could control who we’re attracted to. We want to like me doing the work to try to get to this pretty privilege. It’s just about having power in a say in a control.

Yeah. You know, really just trying to bring in what I think I’m looking for because of what I think I’m looking for is not attracted to who I think I am. So if I could become that person, right. Like if I’m attracted to someone that’s muscular, my assumption is a person who’s muscular and fit is not going to be attracted to this body type.

So I’ve got to become who I think they’re attracted to so that I can have power in getting back. Right. And, you know, it’s, it’s, unfortunately it’s very toxic, but I think the first place to start, you know, as I bring it full circle, as I ramble is I just think it’s really a lack of accepting that we’re not in control.

So we want to create the status pose so that we can identify something and be in control. Like you should be looking at this. And that’s what is good. So you’ve noticed that a lot, man, anything for you, You know, it makes me curious about the gay community. Why w how, how do you see this showing up in the gay community and why is this conversation important for gay men to either be part of,

or to hear? I think what people have to understand that that is not an honest conversation. And maybe even our heterosexual counterparts can understand is that because we are a minority, the lack of privilege does not give us access to things easily and readily. So I think if you ask a lot of gay men, how do you meet men? It’s usually through some type of dating our online site or a way of connecting,

or you would have to go to like a gay bar, something that is gay centers, because it’s not as simple as oh, that person’s attractive and you’re in the aisle of the grocery store. Let me approach them and get their number. It doesn’t feel safe, right? Sometimes people are just offended by you making an assumption that they’re gay and it’s not,

it’s not that I’m assuming that you’re gay or not is I’m just attracted to you. I’m hoping you are, you know, if I walk up to you and I want it, but even me walking up to you and asking you for your number, and you’re not at gay, unfortunately you don’t even see it as a compliment. Cause that’s, that’s really what it is.

Somebody is telling you, like you’re attractive. And if you were gay, I would be interested. So I think, you know, for our community in particular, part of our obsession is the fact that we don’t have the same privileges as our heterosexual counterparts. So we, we try to, I used the word early in that slips my mind. I said it about losing an eye.

So we basically try to make a way, but there’s a word I’m looking for a snack by coming. It’s coming, but it’s not at the tip of my tongue yet. But anyway, we make a way, you know, we find a solution so that we can live life feeling like we are the majority. You know, a lot of people will look at games,

huh? Compensate. Is that the word you really, You know, sometimes people will look at game bed and they will see that we have a lot of beautiful, interesting, fascinating female friends, heterosexual, and they don’t really understand that. It’s just that they’re a safe space and they’re the ones that we can relate to or envy or be jealous of because they do have access to walking down the grocery aisle and a man will walk up to them and say,

Hey, you know, can I get your number? Part of the relationship is we do live vicariously through them. Now they’re, they’re, they’re like a doll that women are dolls, but I’m just making a connection there, like a doll that you play with as a kid. Yeah. So, you know, you, you, you’ve given up on the fact that you’ll ever experience that.

So you live vicariously through someone else. Yeah, exactly. They’re the safe space for that. Yeah. Hmm. Why do you think gay men and, or just even the general culture, why do we place so much emphasis on attractiveness? I don’t know. For me, I feel like I’ve got the messages in the gay community that that’s like the most powerful thing you can have.

And, you know, we, the, the, the, I think, like I said, with women, because women are attracted to men, there’s a relate-ability. So I, I definitely think we idolize a lot of powerful women. Yeah. Because it just seems to be known that their beauty, you know, gives them access to so much.

So, you know, when I look at Beyonce, right, that’s like a household name, people know that name and she has a huge gay following me included. If Beyonce, if you’re watching that, Let’s go dancing. I mean, just follow me on Instagram. That’s all I need. She just, she just has so much power in the way in which we see her,

that we’re always seeking that. Even when we look at, when we talk, when we look at masculine as a gender, not as an energy, when we look at masculine men, we see the power they have, even with just men in general, the fact that we’re attracted to them, just that feeling of that lack of control makes us want the same power that they have,

like the way I’m crushing on you. I want somebody to crush on me like that. Like I want, I want somebody to fall in love with me in their mind and really less than fantasize about me. So it just feels so powerful. So I think in our community, we have got a message. Then we create that if you are attractive,

you’re at the pinnacle of power. Yeah. You’re, you’re at the highest level. Yeah. I fully agree. I think, you know, and there’s this whole notion in the gay community of like the food chain, right. And who sits at the top of the food chain and it’s like white ripped, you know, CIS men. Right. And,

and, but, so to answer the question, why I think gay men put so much emphasis on it is because they placed so much emphasis on sex. And what, you know, if sex is a resource that we have access to, what gives us more access to that being attractive, right. If you’re attractive, you can pick from the litter.

Right. And I think that’s why we play so much emphasis on it is because their, we come from a community or a culture where hypersexuality has been encouraged almost right. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sex in any way. I’m very sex positive. But when it’s, when, when we’re overcompensating in one area, for lack of ability to connect and other areas,

of course, we’re going to put more emphasis on being attractive, because that gives us more access to the one thing that most gay men tend to value the most, which is access to sex. Right. And access to other attractive partners. So that would probably be my answer to it. And I think, you know, I look at my journey and I’ve,

I, you know, I’ve morphed into a Demi sexual, right. And now I place more emphasis on emotional and energetic attraction and guess what? Right. I don’t put really hot men on pedestals anymore because I’m like, okay, cool. He’s hot. But can he meet my needs emotionally? Can he intellectually stimulate me? Right. And I just think this is a part of,

like, in my experience, it’s, it’s a, it’s a maturity, right. It’s sexual maturation or evolution that, you know, me being a demisexual now in placing more emphasis on these more, you know, I, I hate saying this, but I will say it, these more meaningful aspects of connection because they are to me and I don’t,

I’m not speaking for everybody, I’m speaking for myself. Cause I, cause sex can also be really meaningful to people. Right. So anyways, and I think that’s part of the deacon deep constructing. This pretty privilege is we need to start placing more emphasis in the gay community on the qualities that make us beautiful in other areas. And I think that’s been a big thing for me.

And when I did turn off the tops of my, you know, external validation, I remember men messaging me or asking to see pictures of my Dick or, you know, whatever those things were. And it was very triggering for me because I felt objectified and I didn’t want that. Right. And I know it’s funny because there’s probably people listening that are like,

oh, poor, you, you know, like they, cause they might really desire to be objectified. But for me it was, it was, I was trying to undo that I was cause I bought into the objectification so much. And I thought that was the only thing that made me valuable was how I looked. And then w I started to set strong boundaries with people and like,

be like, no, don’t make comments about my appearance because there’s more to me than that. And then now I really, really get off when a guy appreciates my intellect or my content that I’m creating or the, the deeper, more meaningful aspects of my nature. Right. Like my appearance is I did, I did nothing to look this way. It required nothing.

Right. If anything, you can compliment my parents. Right. And cause they did the work to create me. And that’s kind of how I’ve looked at. It is like, I, you know, how can I take credit for something that I didn’t do and where I would want credit would be for the things that I’m creating and the, my accomplishments and my energy.

Right. And that’s one of the best compliments somebody can give me is you have a really beautiful energy. I love that because it’s like, that’s what I’m working on. Right. I’ve been working for, for decades now on, on increasing my vibration and healing and getting to a place where I can radiate love into the world. So when somebody feels my vibration and they reflect that back to me,

I’m like, thank you because I’ve been working my ass off to get here. You know? So I just feel like that’s a little bit more of the meatiness that I’m really exploring right now and really enjoying it. And, you know, I just really want to thank you for sharing that you presence, just so many things like when you even brought up like sex,

like one of the things people are very much interested in, it hit me as soon as you said, oh, that’s just confirmation of why you’re Demi sexual because that wasn’t even in the forefront of your mind. Oh yeah. People want that too. Right. And you know, you talk about this maturity and you know, one of the things that I find very important that I teach as a tool in my,

my work is I always try to tell people experience is your greatest teacher. And what’s interesting is I think where I’ve grown and evolved is that my experience of a lot of people who were very pretty was that there was something missing. There was something deeper that I discovered through them that I wanted, right. That they weren’t able to offer. And you know,

it is that, that intelligence, it is that, especially since I worked so hard to, you know, really hone that in myself, you know, I need somebody that can also match that energy or exceed it. Cause now I’m very interested in intellectual conversation. Yeah. Cause I know how to do that and something else you said that was very,

very interesting. You shared, you know, what really makes somebody attracted to you and attracted to you what you’re looking for. Yeah. That’s really powerful because it’s going to either do one or two things. Anybody who’s listening to, this is going to say, now I know what to do. I know what he’s looking for and I’m that, let me go get them.

Or those people are like, I just want to have sex that they’re going to, they’re going to act like they’re interested. They’re going to feel like you have a beautiful energy. I’m an empath. I’ll feel it. It reminds me of that. There’s a brilliant scene in this movie. I saw guardian of the galaxy. That’s a scene where they’re talking and the sky,

the weather, the character, he said, you are ugly. And she’s like, I’m ugly and it’s bad and reads all of the Bates. He says, but that’s a good thing. And she goes, as it is, he said, yeah, because people who are attractive can never really trust anyone because people are always after them. But when you’re ugly,

you know, somebody loves you. They really love. And I remember just being so mind blown by that statement because I do think that’s the request to 90% of all human beings is to be understood and to be loved for that. And to be able to be in an experience of a relationship where they get to be them, their full self and to love themselves.

Yeah. That’s a, that’s actually a measure that I use in my business when it comes to relationships and love, I’ll always ask three questions. I’ll say, who do you get to be when you’re with that person who don’t you get to be when you’re with that person. And then my final question is, do you alike who you are when you’re with that person?

And if they definitely hit that last question on the head with, yeah, I like, why am I getting to be mean? I said, you’re in a great relationship Because I perceive now that relationships have nothing to do with the other person. And this is not my original thought, by the way. So I don’t want to take credit for this,

but I’ve, I’ve learned that relationships give you access to experiencing who you are as a person. And when a relationship is good eats, they are a mirror that allows you to see all of who you are and you get to fall in love with who you are through them. So yeah, I love everything you just shared. And that’s part of, you know,

in my experience of maturity has been that right. And not using my appearance as a currency and really allowing myself to kind of come into connections and really bring forward other aspects of myself. And that that’s actually been a big frustration of mine. Like be, you know, being traditionally attractive is like you do experience or I I’ll speak for myself. I have experienced like envy and jealousy in my relationships is,

is one of them. And just from people in general and it’s challenging. Right. And, and, and you said that you’re never, you’re, you’re not quite sure when you’re not, you are attractive when people are interested in you, whether they’re just, they’re interested in you as a personality or they’re interested in wanting to just bang. Right. And that has been a big,

big part of my, of my life. And one thing that really shut me down sexually because I was objectifying myself and I was getting objectified and I was only being valued for that. So I did shut that part of me off. And I think that was part of my transformation into becoming a Demi sexual as I disconnected from that, that part of me that allowed myself to be sexy and allowed myself to be amazing and awesome,

because I felt like if I claimed that space, that people would hate me and they would be threatened by me or they’d be jealous of me. So I dimmed my light a lot in my life when I think when I look back and think about it and I did that because I didn’t want people to not like me, which is kind of interesting. Cause I want,

you want people to like you and you want people to be attracted to you, but you want it to, well, I want it to be for the things that I value about myself. Right. And so, anyway, there’s just, there’s a lot of stuff here. It’s really meeting That. I’m hearing in your speaking, as it sounds like you discovered the kind of people that you want to like you.

Exactly, exactly. The kind of people where you can be mad and it works. There’s something very interesting inside of what I heard. You know, when, when I was in, in like deep love, when I, I knew I was in love, what was very interesting is he would say to me, Andre, I love you. You would say in a way that I would just look at him,

like, you really mean it. Like you really mean it. I think you’re telling the truth. And I really struggled with that because it’s not as though I didn’t, I’ve never heard Andre. I love you. And that’s my favorite sentence to hear in the world. I can, Andre, I love you. Oh, give me give me that.

Right. But I, I was, I’m present to the fact that before that relationship people would tell me, and I would not believe them, including my family, the people who I think love me the most on this planet. Right? Yeah. But he would say, I love you in such a way that I would believe that. And I think that he was sculpted to be so attractive in my eyes that it did something for me because I didn’t think somebody had as good looking as he is,

could fall in love with somebody who look like me and the way that he would describe me and just say certain things to me would be so random. And I realized, wow. He means that he used to cut my hair and he’d smile and cut my hair. And he’s like, you’re so handsome. I’m like really? I’m like they more loving and he passed away.

And when he passed away, I was mourning the fact of where am I going to get that from? Like, where am I going to get someone that loves me at that level? And it’s like a voice in my headset. Why don’t you do it? Why don’t you love you? And I went on this whole commitment. I made this commitment to myself and a commitment to him to honor his memory that I would do the best that I possibly could just to see myself,

the way that he saw in me that I’ve been very successful in getting glimpses of that. I’ve gotten, I’ve gotten glimpses of just strong moments where I am so in love with me. And it really feels amazing. It feels amazing to just embrace the hall of me. And I think this is like the most important part of the conversation, because what I’m hearing is,

is that’s really what you were seeking, but didn’t know how to find it now, you know how to find it. And I think if, if anybody got that from listening to this, your whole world is going to be flown and changed and you’re going to find a new level of peace. Yeah. So, yeah. Thanks man. Yeah. Thanks for that reflection.

And I think for me, it’s like slow down, slow down. You know, the mind is, is, is perceiving attractiveness through the lens of the eyes, right. And attractiveness can be perceived through all of our senses. And I think that’s important to note. So when we slow down and we connect to our bodies, you might find that you’re aroused and attracted to something that maybe you never thought possible.

Right. And that’s what I’m experiencing now. And that’s energetic attraction, that’s soul driven attraction. And I think that’s, that’s really, you know, where the, the meat of, of connection is in my opinion, but I want to go to the last, well, let’s go to the last two questions I might being mindful of time too. This is,

these last two are really meaty though. There’s lots there. So how does pretty privileged relate to age-ism racism or sexism? I know that’s a really big question, but whatever comes to mind, just share it. I’ve got some perspectives as well. I think we do have some generalities for each of those categories. You know, I always hate generalities because they can always be disproved,

but they make us feel comfortable. I agree. Like as a quick answer, I still think where each demographic we’re pretty privileged stands is it’s an access to something I’m not even going to need the word power anymore, because I think I’ve exhausted that, and I’m, I’m discovering through our conversation that maybe that wasn’t true. Maybe a deputy give you access to power because you are not doing a good job of selling this pretty stuff right now,

Matt, by the way. And I do want to be responsible for that. I don’t think the viewers, unless I go, I like this whole way. You’re like traditional. I don’t think nobody sees you as traditionally. Beautiful. But that’s just me. That’ll be our next question. So we’ll wrap that, But I just think, I don’t think the age,

the demographic or the race matters. I think what, what matters or what, what we see is there’s a privilege there. There’s just a privilege there, you know, you and I could be of two different races and we could both do the fitness competition and you could possibly win just based on your race alone. But it still doesn’t mean that I won’t go through life experience and privilege.

It just means I lost that competition. Yeah, that’s true. Yeah. Right. So I think, I think privilege is just privileged. Yeah. I agree. And I think there’s this element of like, who are you around? Right. Cause privilege is only accessed when somebody is willing to give you privilege, right. Or, or, and not,

it’s usually a system, but what is the system? The system is made up of a bunch of individuals with their own individual beliefs. So I do think that this deconstruction and the way that we start to view these things around age, race, pretty privileged sexism, any of this stuff, it starts with us changing the way we’ve we’ve we relate to our own conditioning,

right. Because we have to be, we have to be giving power away to a group of people in order for that group of people to be getting privilege out of being that group of people. Right. Like I said, like, you know, if I, if it’s a fit in the fitness competition, everybody was, was considered attractive and the majority of them were white.

So does that give me privilege? No, because everyone else is on an even playing field. Right. So, yeah. And I think, you know, pretty privileged relates to all of them, but I’ll speak to age-ism is probably one of the biggest ones in the gay community, because we do have this notion that the older we get, the less attractive we become,

which is so fascinating because if you look at the heterosexual relationship, like the woman tends to be more attracted to the man as he ages, and there’s this whole sexiness around salt and pepper and, and that sort of thing. And yet our culture places, such a strong emphasis on youth and virility and these sorts of things. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

If that’s what gets you off. Fantastic. But You really got me thinking, I might, I might look weird on camera cause I realize I’m looking to those guys. I’m just processing all. But you know, it’s interesting because you know, I’m always trying to explain to people, you know, you know, I really don’t think that people get that sometimes what heterosexual women are attracted to this completely different than what gay men are attracted to.

Like, we really don’t physically like the same thing. So when you know, a heterosexual woman, you know, like the new term, like a new term that I hear a lot is dad bought, right? And that’s like a new privilege. Whereas in the nineties growing up, that wasn’t what we were looking for. I noticed how a lot of heterosexual women can be attracted to certain things.

And the messages that we get in the gay community is like, Nope, Nope. That’s not it. No. And you know, sometimes my heterosexual, female friends look at me, they’re like, I don’t get it. Well, what are you seeing that guy? What are you like? I’m like, it’s just so beautiful. I think that plays into the status because if you think about it,

a lot of women would prefer to date a man who is less attractive than them. So they don’t feel threatened and they can feel more, more superior. And that’s obviously a generalized statement, but I think there’s truth to it. And in the gay community, I think there’s status and having an attractive partner, if your partner is really hot, it shows that you’re able to catch that fish kind of mentality.

So I just think that there is value for women dating a guy with a dad bod, and maybe that’s the catch that it’s like, oh, if I date this guy and his dad bought that maybe other women won’t be as attracted to him. And then he, there was no threat Interest thing that was perfect. I, I definitely agree. Like guys that I think are far more attractive than me and I feel like I’ve won a prize like right there.

That’s funny. Okay. The last question, how can we start to deconstruct the system that is conditioning us to be so limited in our definition of attractive? That’s a big, big question, but I’m curious if, how can we just even start to deconstruct that I definitely, you know, everything is all adjectives, but I would definitely encourage people to really look at the language.

Look at the words you say and look at, even the words you say to yourself, to in yourself, because I love the fact that we use the word attractive because it it’s broad. And what it means is this to me, what it translates to is it’s what you like. And if you understand that, attract them, this is based on what someone likes.

You can take comfort. Like I do take comfort in knowing, right, that there’s someone out there that likes all of this. Right. I told you there’s a control issue. I have to feel the same way in return, but it’s not as though there aren’t people out there that don’t like what I have to offer. And you know, I do take some comfort in some strength in myself when it comes to that.

So really just using the word appropriately. That it’s, that it’s what you like versus saying words like ugly or because in all actuality, no one is really ugly. It’s just, you’re not attracted to them. There are people celebrities that I know people go crazy over and I’m like, yeah, I don’t see like, no, That’s not my type.

So just really owning and utilizing the word attractive more and owning that what it means it’s, it’s what you lie. Or at least that’s what it means for me. It’s what you learned. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I love the, this notion of owning, owning your piece of the attractiveness pie. It really is a giant pie and everybody has their own sliver of it,

of what is attractive. And sure. There’s going to be people that are more, more, more people will be attracted to maybe one look, however that is because we’ve been inundated with a culture that basically shoves what we should think is attractive down our throats. So I really encourage people to challenge beauty standards, challenge, the beauty standards that you’ve been given.

And, and that, that revolves around race, color of your skin that revolves around your weight, that revolves around your skin. Like, you know, like all, there’s so many things. And, and, and it’s just really important for us all to be, to focus on what makes us attractive. Because I think so many of us, we tend to focus on what makes us attractive and we really have to start focusing on what makes us attractive.

What makes us unique? And there’s so much more to you than just the way you look. That’s sort of, when I use the word attractive, it’s not, I’m not just talking about physical appearance. I’m talking about how you feel in your body, the way you show up in this world, how you express yourself, all of these things are so tied into attractiveness.

And then the last thing I’ll say is to stop putting people on pedestals. And that’s easier said than done. I realize that, but you know, in the gay community, it’s like everybody flocks over to the attractive person. Well, you’re just reinforcing the standard that you’re, that we know that we want to break down. So it’s like, just be really mindful of your urges to,

to put people on pedestals. And I think that will help, right? Because people have privilege and power because people are giving it to them. I definitely think if anyone you’re going to put on a pedestal, you should start with yourself. Amen. Give you some giving yourself the power. Like at the end of the day, I think I’ve been honest.

I’m not going to lie. I have so many issues with me. And at the same time, there’s a lot of issues with me. I don’t have, because at the end of the day, you know, I try to be humble. Right? We’re taught that if we say certain things it’s wrong, but the truth is at the end of the day,

I do think I’m the shit I really do. And at the end of the day, I do think in a lot of ways, sometimes I give off this air of arrogance because I do feel like for someone to be with me, that is their privilege Because I’m awesome. Like, I’m awesome. Like you’re never going to have to worry about certain things ever again,

being with me. And because I know I have something to bring to the table. What I’ve not often in a conversation of is being taken advantage of or duped in a relationship. Because I think it’s just well understood that I’m just gonna have these deal breakers. And he’s very confident about certain things and I could cheat on him, but I’m really taking risks.

Like you date me, you know? Oh, cheat on me if you want to. But we’re through like, there’s no coming back. Like once my mind is made up. Yeah. You know, so, you know, I think that the greatest power is put yourself on a pedestal, like, and never stop trying to make it higher. You know,

you can love yourself in a humble way, you know? And I think the biggest trick is that society will tell you not to, because I think secretly the people with power know that if you did, if you really loved yourself, then you would be unstoppable. And no one control. I love that. That’s where I’m at too, is I for the first time in my life,

I can actually feel love for myself. And it’s so it’s amazing. Right. And I really want to, I want to open people’s minds to this too. And I, hopefully my sharing today did, is that just because somebody is attractive, doesn’t mean that they have a good self-worth right. A lot of people are hiding behind their attractiveness and they didn’t learn how to develop their self-worth because they relied on something.

Right. It’s like the guy with the big Dick, not knowing how to have sex, because he just has a big Dick. He doesn’t know how to eat. You know, didn’t have to learn how to use it or be good at foreplay. I like how you said, you can love yourself from a place of humility. And I think, you know,

if, if, if you are somebody who tends to be more on the attractiveness side, practice, humility, right? Practice, not relying on your looks all the time and using them to access privilege. And, and if you are somebody who is traditionally not attractive practice, dignity practice, putting yourself on the pedestal practice, focusing on what makes you beautiful on the inside and the outside.

So I think we’ll, I feel complete in my sharing. Is there anything that you want to share? I definitely feel complete. And I just want to thank you. You know, you could have been anywhere else doing anything else. So I just appreciate you spending the time with me. And if anybody watches, they’re listened to it just for you.

I want you to know that if nobody gets anything from it, I got so much, I got all that, your intentions and some. So just thank you for being a contribution to my life now in the past and the future. And always, I appreciate it. Yeah. I love you brother. I love you. You’re a beautiful soul and yeah,

I’m honored to be able to spend this time with you for people that might want to work with you because you are awesome. Where can they find you? How can they connect with you if they’re, if they’re drawn to your energy? Okay. So the name of my company is raising by operations coaching. I am currently in a rebranding phase, so my website will be out soon.

You can find me on LinkedIn. My full name is Andre Lee, a N D R E dash L E wills. W I L L S. And don’t even be afraid to shoot me a message in Facebook or Instagram. Yeah. And in the brotherhood too. So if you’re wanting to say So you can find me and I’ll be happy. You know,

I don’t objectify me, but I love it when people jump in my failure. And if you’re really good, I’ll let you have, Oh, I love it. I love it. That’s a great place to end off. All right. Yeah. So for people that are watching this on YouTube, leave us your comments and your questions. And this was a really interesting topic,

and we’d love to hear what you have to say about it. And if you have any questions for Andrea or myself, please let them or police put them in the, the comments on YouTube. And if you’re watching on your favorite podcast platform, please leave us a rating and a review if you feel called to, because we do read those in the pod,

the trio podcast with Calan, Michael and myself. And if you are not yet already join the gay men’s brotherhood on Facebook, and you can indulge in these conversations with other gay men and grow alongside other gay men like myself and Andre. So again, much love to brother. Thanks for coming on and sharing an hour and a bit with me. It was a awesome.

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