A co-worker recently came up to me and pointed out a woman sitting alone waiting for her date to arrive at her table. Her makeup was immaculate, her hair was slicked back into a classic up-do, and she happened to be the nicest person I had encountered that evening. The reason he pointed her out, however, had nothing to do with any of those things, but everything to do with the fact that her dress was kind of low cut and exposed her cleavage. Mind you, her breasts weren’t Ripley’s-believe-it-or-not large, nor was the fabric straining to contain her lady lumps in any way. She merely had breasts, and her dress simply acknowledged that fact. He went on to chastise her for being so desperate as to expose her body in order to lure her poor unsuspecting male counterpart into a physical attraction to her, which he would certainly fall victim to (much to his dismay, I’m sure). “Gosh”, I thought, “It must be really hard to create this strange social standard in which I expect someone to adhere to in order to turn me on, while simultaneously not respecting them for embodying it because that would, in effect, make them a ‘slut’, and no one wants to fall in love with a slut.” I’m sure you get what I’m getting at, but just incase you don’t, what I’m getting at is; OUR BODIES ARE NOT YOURS FOR THE JUDGING. If I feel like my legs look especially fit this evening and I want to show them off with a short skirt, then so be it. If my stomach is uncharacteristically flat and I want to wear a form fitting dress, then so be it. If I’m bloated and my boobs, for once, look totally luscious and I want to wear a v-neck shirt, THEN. SO. BE. IT. I have spent too much of my life feeling like I wasn’t allowed to be accepting of the way my body looked and that I had to hide it because it wasn’t thin enough or, even if I was thin enough, it wouldn’t be respectable or “lady like” of me to show off my body. I decided I wanted to do a boudoir shoot with Jaime because I was sick of hiding my body in order to remain “decent”. I don’t use my femininity to attract men, get free drinks, or get ahead in life in any way whatsoever. I use it to show the world who I am, what I stand for, and how strong we, as women, can truly be. I consider myself a pretty modest dresser/woman in general. I don’t like mini skirts, I don’t bare my midriff, and I can’t remember the last time I wore something with a plunging neck line, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like to feel sexy. It also doesn’t mean that I think other women should have the exact same standards of sexy as I do. I understand that a woman’s body is a special treasure meant to be shared with the person/people that she loves. I also understand that pride and courage are two terribly different things. I love anyone that supports SWIA with my whole heart, and you are the ones that give me the courage to take ownership of my physical form and allow me to show you/myself that a woman can be comfortable in her own skin no matter how bloated she may be. So we decided to do the boudoir shoot in my crazy messy room in the dead of the night. We had so much fun and I felt so liberated and carefree, and most importantly…sexy. I still have certain concerns with sharing the pictures, wondering what a few people will think of me or of the photos. Those concerns are exactly why I feel like it’s important to share. The images aren’t pornographic, they’re art, and they make me feel strong and hot and powerful, and I have every right to enjoy that feeling. This photo shoot marked the point in my life where I allowed myself to be happy with the way my body looks and not feel guilty for feeling sexy every once in a while. Not for you, not in spite of my ex, not to attract someone else, but for my fucking self.
This post could be really long and intense and I could do the whole “man hating, feminist diatribe” or I could just put it for you really simply: In order to be taken seriously, women have to sign over their right to feel sexy. It’s either our brains or our butts. We have to make a choice. I, for one, abso-fucking-lutely refuse to choose.