Take It Back
Tonight in my Gender Comm. class, one of the (few) guys brought up the fact that Toronto has apparently been experiencing a lot of rape cases recently, which he attributed to the fact that women there have been warned not to dress “like hoes.”
Now, I’m all for appropriate attire and not over (or UNDER, in this case,) dressing for an occasion like going out and clubbing, but just the way he kept saying that these women were almost ASKING for it by the way they displayed themselves as sexy, sexual, alluring creatures infuriated me, and in this, my class that could be retitled “Talking Openly And Safely About Our Relationships And Very Personal Lives,” I brought up the fact that I recently posted (obviously) nude silhouettes.
I told him, and everyone else, that I was not doing it for attention, or to be risqué. I told him that I was not “asking” to be viewed as a sex object by doing so. I told him that I should be free to use and express my appreciation for my body— this body that I’ve worked long and hard to get it to this point that I am so PROUD of— because it is MINE, and I LOVE IT. It has NOTHING to do with “asking” for sexual comments— no surprise I got that anon after posting them, though, right? I was well aware that something like that would probably happen. Just like those women who he deemed as “asking for it” shouldn’t be judged for wanting to feel and look whatever way that they themselves feel good looking or feeling. In fact, posting those pictures was probably the furthest thing away from sexual— instead, it was a celebration of ME. Of feeling comfortable in my skin. In enjoying the way my body can bend, can stretch, can glow in lighting. I was taking my body back, embracing it, and making it mine by making it something worth enjoying to see, just the way that artist’s models (hi, that’s you, mom,) do, or ballet dancers— have you SEEN how little the wear? And yet, neither of those things are sexual. Or, at least, they aren’t meant to be.
So, here’s my sticking point— it’s time for women to take back our bodies and what they mean. Those aren’t breasts— they’re what make my shirt fit right. Those aren’t my hips— that’s what help me open a door when my hands are full. That’s not my ass— that’s what I know how to sit with perfect equitation on a horse on. Whether we’re taking our bodies back from people who would try to sexualize them just for the sake of frivolous titillation, or from the ad campaigns that seem to be brow-beating us into thinking that there’s nothing in life other than a size 2 woman, it’s up to us ladies to remove the shame with the clothes, stand up, snap a shot, and say, “This is mine. This is my body. I am proud of it. And I’ll do/eat/dress with it what I like.”