Dating in college may be harder for plus-sized individuals

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By Ariel Morris , Lifestyle writer

College dating for plus-size people may be hindered by insensitive, shallow perspectives that society has placed in some people. For a generation with superficial views on appearances, it is very difficult to be in a genuine relationship. 

People from the younger generations don’t seek relationships as much as they explore other experiences such as hookups. Nearly 72% of college students have reported hooking up by their senior year, according to a 2020 study on Social Motivations for College Hookups

Our modern society is perpetuated by superficial behaviors of perceiving beauty only one way. For women especially, they are often only accepted as beautiful for their external features, according to Western Beauty Pressures. In the 2015 documentary “The Illusionists,” director Elena Rossini mentioned that Western beauty pressures women and girls to be fair-skinned, youthful, thin, toned and able-bodied to be accepted.

The pressure of these views has put a toll on Western society for generations. Now, common life events like dating and working can be hurt by the pressure to maintain appearance. This especially can affect the plus-sized community because they are automatically excluded from Western beauty standards. 

When it comes to dating, the ideal perception of what some people find attractive are those which Rossini stated. This makes it difficult to find people who aren’t opposed to plus-sized people. Fatphobia is a real issue and sometimes can be a barrier, but not always. 

Andrea Drott, associate director for student wellness at Counseling and Consultation Services, believes that plus-size dating is not impossible, but it may impose barriers that make it difficult for some people to pass their physical appearances.

“I think it can create challenges being a plus-size person; fatphobia is a piece of that,” Drott said. “I think there’s other expectations and other things that might get in the way, confidence of both parties being part of that. There are lots of stigmas. I would say challenges for plus-size people that creates statistics around job interviews, et cetera that creates an additional layer when dating, not always a barrier.” 

Though Western beauty standards are inevitable, they don’t have to be at the forefront of finding a genuine relationship. Although many college students don’t seek lasting relationships and would rather explore the “college experience,” finding a significant other can still be achievable. 

“I think the most important aspect in any relationship is communication,” Drott said. “For somebody who is plus-sized or not, I think being clear about what you want, what you’re looking for, what you’re hoping to get. Not everybody is interested in the same thing in college, and being honest about those things is super important.”