Tag Archives: Gaze

You Look Like Nature

22 Oct

I love this so freaking much.

And this set.

I love any artistic reminder that my body is a part of nature, just as perfect as a planet or a star or the milky way.

I dearly wish that people would view their bodies as they view flowers…

Veins everywhere?

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gorgeous~

Skin patches? Birthmarks?

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hella rad~

Scars? Stretch marks?

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beautiful~

Freckles? Moles? Acne scars?

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heckie yeah~

Large? Curvy?

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lovely~

Small? Thin?

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charming~

Missing a few pieces?

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handsome as ever~

Feel like you just look weird?

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you’re fantastic looking~

Do you think that what makes you unique is a flaw? What nonsense. If you weren’t so specific then you’d be just like everyone else.

I’m gonna get really real on you guys here for a minute. I’m a Jewess with Jewess body hair. It’s something that I don’t do much about, I’d rather turn away guys who are turned off by that (and therefore me), than have to change myself for someone else in a way I don’t even enjoy.

However, as strongly as I feel about it, as much as I don’t intend to change it, I still battle with embarrassment about it every time I have a new partner. Even when a guy tells me he loves that quality about me I have a flash of insecurity about it. I doubt it’ll ever really go away (congratulations Gilette advertising team, you’ve internalized that shame in me forever).

One of my best friends runs the opposite way. She hates having any hair on her body. She actually just got a groupon for lazer hair removal (I should ask her how that’s going). She has the exact situation I prayed I had when I was in high school and starting to get naked with people. Every time we talk about it I get a pang of jealousy. Life must be so easy for her with no shame or fear about getting nakey with someone new.

“I’m really insecure about my labia. Guys have teased me because they’re too big.”

My jaw dropped.

And then I realized that having insecurities about your body isn’t special at all. Everyone has something that makes them feel as embarrassed as your chicken legs make you feel. So you don’t need to get over your insecurity. Try of course, but no need to beat yourself up for failing. Instead, next time you get that feeling think of the things your friends hate about their bodies but which you think are beautiful. And remember that this person thinks your legs are as beautiful as you think Rachel’s hair is.

I just remembered this story; I was seeing this guy who I thought was so cute. Gawky and awkward and smart and smiley. The first time i saw him with his shirt off I found a big scar on his chest. I asked him about it and apparently he needed heart surgery when he was a baby. He told me this story and for some reason imagining him as some helpless beautiful baby made me just want to take him in my arms and cover him in kisses all the more. “That’s so attractive” I said to him with a big smile on my face and a fresh kiss on our lips. The sigh of relief that came out of him surprised me. Who wouldn’t find such a thing sexy?

I’ve also been known to find intense vitiligo and half chopped off digits attractive. What can I say, I like flawed characters.

Lastly, I want to remind everyone that labia come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. There’s no need to make someone feel bad about their completely normal, healthy body. If you are having a hard time loving your large lips check out this tumblr, lovelargelabia.tumblr.com, it’s sure to make you feel better.

Never change, Beautiful.

Victoria’s Secret, Lena Dunham and Toplessness

26 Feb

This popped up in my feed. And I’m assuming it’s true. It just sounds like our culture.

I think Julia Roberts had it right in one of my favorite movies of all time, Notting Hill. (Red is Julia Roberts, blue is Hugh Grant, just in case you’ve been living under a rock your entire life and haven’t seen this movie a dozen time)

What is it about men and nudity? Particularly breasts. And how can you be so interested in them?
Well…
No, but seriously. They’re just breasts. Every second person in the world has them.
Well, more than that, actually, when you think about it. You know, Meatloaf has a very nice pair.
But they’re odd looking. They’re for milk. Your mother has them. You’ve seen a thousand of them. What’s all the fuss about?

Breasts are functional. They’re also for pleasure, of course, I’m not discounting that. But living in a patriarchal society means that my body is banned because maybe it interferes with the experience of a horny jerk.

“Female toplessness is legal in a lot of places in the US (although not where I live), and I’d be meeting the letter of the law with a couple of Band-aids. But I have a gut feeling that if I go anywhere that there are people—and particularly anywhere there are children—nobody’s going to be too happy about my Band-aids. The enforcement is social; women just don’t go around topless in the US.

It bothers me because it’s unequal, but it also bothers me in its implications: that my body is inherently sexual, and a man’s body isn’t. It feels like men are being viewed through the first-person lens of “it’s nice to feel the sun on my skin, and I don’t mean anything by it” and women are being viewed through the distinctly third-person lens of “it’s inappropriate for me, a heterosexual man, to see her sexy parts.” It ignores the experiences of people who are turned on by male chests and somehow manage to contain themselves when they see one.”

– The Pervocracy: My boobs want to be free. 

And gosh, golly, gee whiz, all my readers know I’ve never been turned on by a manly chest.

And this is what I was thinking about reading the latest tid bit about HBO Girls.

There’s a scene in season 3 where Dunham’s character rolls out of bed and starts getting dressed, so we see her naked. No surprise there. And there was something about the scene that made me really happy. It felt so real. When I sleep with a guy and then get dressed, he sees me get dressed. When I hang out with my mom she gets dressed in front of me. And the fact that she isn’t Kate Moss doesn’t stop her. It doesn’t stop me either. We women who don’t look like Kate Moss, we get dressed; we get naked and then dressed. Often twice a day.

Lena Dunham’s nudity is a spit in the face of every bit of the patriarchy that says female bodies are exclusively for the purpose of erection fluffing. Because, you know, they aren’t.

They’re for going to work and feeding your kids and 1,000 other things that aren’t “turning on an internet troll.”

Lena Dunham and her radical body-having-ness give me great joy.

What frightens the media most about Lena Dunham is her body ownership. And not in a mermaid, “own it girl!” kind of way, but in an actual meaningful owning of an item kind of way.

Her body is hers for the showing or concealing or storytelling or sharing. And it doesn’t matter what you or me, or reddit, or anyone else in the world says.

And I’m going to try to incorporate that into my body more. And maybe it’s why I find her body so perfect; because she carries it like something that she’s proud of having.

My Body…Finally

14 Aug

You really think everyone looks like that?  Really?

And co-opting the language of loving your body actually does more harm than good, I’m looking at you Victorias Secret.

These ads are a double whammy.  They present with feminist language of self acceptance and empowerment but actually sexualize women and show the only body type we should heart.

Are You Sure You Don’t Hate Your Face?

16 Jul

And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!”

And each day, it’s up to you, to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say “No. This is what’s important.” [x]

There’s a beauty blog that I read (yeah, I’m a feminist and I read a beauty blog.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it haters!) where people send in questions and Miss Jane Marie answers them to the best of her ability while also being extremely funny and awesome.

Often I go to stores like Sephora (or Victorias Secret or really any store ever) and am overcome with a wave of nausea that repeats the following phrase in my ear: You will never be pretty enough.  You are faking at this whole being a woman thing.  Quit.  Go home and cry because you are ugly and will die alone!

I know you think I’m joking.  I’m really not.

When my old actress roommate took me to Bare Essentials and plopped me down at the counter with a starter kit and a bottle of primer I had to have the sales lady explain to me what primer is, how to use it and why.  She thought I was crazy because on the outside I’m a grown ass woman even though on the inside I have NO CLUE what that means.

Nonetheless now I have an idea of what primer is even though truthfully I don’t notice a difference whether I wear it or not and to be honest haven’t worn it in months.  I’m lucky if I remember to put on moisturizer before I take 20 minutes to apply my eyeliner.

In this probably hairpin article someone asked “Do I need primer?  Do I also need eye primer?  I’ve even seen primer for my primer.  Help!” to which probably Jane replied:

Do you notice during the day that your make up doesn’t stay on as well as you’d like it to?  Does it get all up in your creases and become a nuisance?  If the answer is No then No, you don’t need any of this stuff.

Primers (and in my opinion soy and slimfast bars and a zillion other products) are sold with the fear that you need more beauty-producing-agents in your life.  The truth is that if you look how you want to look then you don’t need primers.  If you like your eyelashes then DO NOT buy mascara!  If money wasn’t an obstacle then you could alter your appearance infinitely.  But would you like it any better?

You can layer on the mascara under the impression that more lashes always equals better.  But would it really?  Would you really feel prettier?  Would you feel any better?  Or happier?

You do not need every product under the sun.

The people who sell us things see an easy mark.  You need concealer, you need spanx, you need anti-perspirant (even though it has aluminum in it, that doesn’t really matter anyway right?).

Unless something bothers you, don’t let any amount of advertising, beautiful sales ladies or media bully you into changing it.  If you can manage in this world to love a piece of yourself, hold it fast.

Reasons Not To Be Pretty

2 Jun

Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another—physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion.
~Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (via kosdetermination)

There’s something I’ve been trying to write for a long time but every time I try it comes out sounding like “OMG, being pretty is just so hard!” and that’s very much not what I want it to be.

In this, her fantastic slap in the face of the media, Judd calls out how criticizing other women based on appearances is an act of violence against ourselves and each other which the patriarchy has taught us is ‘normal’.

We experience brutal criticism. The dialogue is constructed so that our bodies are a source of speculation, ridicule, and invalidation, as if they belong to others…

Over time, I matured into the understanding that good and bad are equally fanciful interpretations. I do not want to give my power, my self-esteem, or my autonomy, to any person, place, or thing outside myself. [x]

While being punished for our aesthetic shortcomings may sting more, Judd makes it clear that being praised for good looks is an equally invalidating.  Prettiness is an equal sacrifice of power.

One thing that this fool did get right is that men are taught that they are owed prettiness from the women around them.   Women have two options; be fodder for his wank-bank or be loathed.

You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”.

~dressaday

The longer we allow ourselves to be ruled by this guiding principle, that we must be pretty, we are giving our autonomy to others.  When we think that prettiness will buy the things we want we give others the power to say we aren’t pretty enough and use it as a reason to not give us the things we deserve.

Never underestimate the huge middle finger you are giving to the world when you make peace with your body.

~Frances Lockie

Judd was pretty.  Is it making her happier than the rest of us cretins or is she just as miserably scrutinized as the entire rest of the female population?  I rest my case.

When Strangers Call Me Beautiful

11 Mar

I’m going to describe to you what it feels like when you, a stranger, shout at me from across the street like that, touch me, blow kisses at me, call me beautiful, ask me to do something dirty for you, etc.  This might get pretty uncomfortable, but you make me uncomfortable so I think it’s fair.

You walk into a cold dark room with a small raised platform in the middle.  Spotlights are focused on it.  It’s about 4 feet in diameter and 9 inches tall, there is a chair about 10 feet away facing the platform, it’s not lit directly but you can see it in the bounce of the light that is aimed at the pedestal.

You are instructed by strangers to enter this room, there are more strangers closer to the pedestal who are awaiting you.  They greet you coldly, you’re late and they have a lot of work to do.  You stand uncomfortably still while they fuss around you; they are close to you in height and look like they know what to wear, what products to put in their hair, their breath has no odor as it passes across your skin.  They are obviously better than you at looking good and they know it.  They do not speak to you save the occasional stern “Arms up, please” or “Please hold still.”  They do not whine their requests like children but calmly demand them like parents.

They take your clothing from you, stripping you down until your toes are chilling on the cement floor.  Then they slowly alter your body to suit their whims.  Hair removal here, bleaching and/or tanning there.  Then, with a full face and body of itchy powders, scorching chemicals and sticky pastes applied they start layering you back up with ‘clothes,’ small things mostly, an arm band (the Armani ‘AX’ symbol proudly emblazoned on it), some combat boots a famous futbol player has been hawking on TV lately, Tight white Prada boxer briefs you wouldn’t really feel confident in picking out on your own.

One by one this prep team starts to retreat towards the shadows to examine their work.  One makes a wide circle around you before deciding you need more fake tanner to ‘highlight’ your calves.  After that the waxer takes a few turns about you stopping a few times to pluck stray hairs from your arms, abs and lower back with a pair of tweezers.  Someone else stares at you for a while, disappears, and comes back with an earring gun to pierce your right ear and left nostril.  It hurts and you are scolded for flinching because it smears the drying fake tanner.

This process takes a while and by the end you’re exhausted and in pain.  The prep team starts to spend more time standing back and looking and saying to each other (they don’t care what you hear, your input is not requested) things like ‘well that’s the best I can do with his abs the way they are.’ or ‘What do you want from me?  I can’t fix a lazy eye, I’m not a magician.’  You are cold, you haven’t been asked for your permission once all day and you want to sit down and eat something or perhaps just take this sticky eye stuff off and go to sleep.

Just when you think the humiliation is over a man comes into the room through a different door than you (yours is for common people after all) and sits in the chair. He is neither ugly nor attractive but looks like he might live in your neighborhood or one nearby.  He is not someone you would be drawn to at a bar or flirt with ever. The prep team moves aside and quiets down, hoping for approval.  You hope for approval too, not really because you did anything worth approving of but more because you know that if he doesn’t approve the whole process might have to start all over again and by now you really have to pee and are worried about having that feeling while almost stark naked.

He does not smile, he does not walk around you, he sits in his chair and gets comfortable.  He looks bored.  He looks you up and down and tells the prep team to add or subtract things.  You’re changed into underwear of a different color, you’re given a ‘shirt’ that doesn’t cover enough to be called a shirt by anyone other than American Apparel.

When he looks satisfied he takes out his penis and starts touching himself.  You flinch, unnerved and are snapped at for moving without being instructed to.  The man in the chair periodically and stoically demands changes to be made.  You are instructed to turn around for a short while, smile for a while, strike a Charlie’s Angels worthy pose and a pouty face for a while.

You want to find this whole scenario funny but no one else in the room does.  The man is quite intent on getting himself off and the prep team while not directly looking at him (our of respect) are staring at you mentally noting what parts they should have tried harder to fix and wishing you were a better canvas.   No one smiles.

You scratch your nose and he yells at you, the prep team looks at you like you’re an idiot and they can look forward to being reprimanded later for not adequately preparing such a fool.  At some point the man stands up, still stroking himself and walks around you in a tight circle, you follow him with your eyes for a moment but are instructed to look forward as before.  His breath too is innocuous smelling but the heat of it on your skin is more bothersome than the prep teams.  He’s smelling you, getting very close to you and continues to stare and touch himself, examining and getting off to the ‘shadows’ the fake tanner has ‘cast’ down your legs.

The man finally finishes, relieving himself on the floor just to the side of you getting some on the platform and a speck or two on the combat boots.

He refastens his pants, gives an appreciative if not patronizing look to the prep team and looks at you like you’re the Porsche he has just taken out for it’s maiden ride; like he’s excited to break you in as you’re his and he has all the time in the world to make you look like and do and be what he wants.

Is it a compliment now?

I want to point out quickly that for some kinksters this actually might sound like a good time and that’s okay.  That scenario would involve consent and trust.  This one does not.

Because They Are Not Human And They Are Not The Same As You

12 Jan

An article ran in Jezebel recently that upset a lot of people.  It was called

Can You Tell The Difference Between A Men’s Magazine And A Rapist?

Researchers collected quotes from nudie mags and rapists, mixed them up and asked people which were from magazines and which from rapists.  And people got it wrong.  Here are some examples.

1. There’s a certain way you can tell that a girl wants to have sex . . . The way they dress, they flaunt themselves.

2. Some girls walk around in short-shorts . . . showing their body off . . . It just starts a man thinking that if he gets something like that, what can he do with it?

3. A girl may like anal sex because it makes her feel incredibly naughty and she likes feeling like a dirty slut. If this is the case, you can try all sorts of humiliating acts to help live out her filthy fantasy.

4. Mascara running down the cheeks means they’ve just been crying, and it was probably your fault . . . but you can cheer up the miserable beauty with a bit of the old in and out.

5. What burns me up sometimes about girls is dick-teasers. They lead a man on and then shut him off right there.

6. Filthy talk can be such a turn on for a girl . . . no one wants to be shagged by a mouse . . . A few compliments won’t do any harm either . . . ‘I bet you want it from behind you dirty whore’ . . .

7. You know girls in general are all right. But some of them are bitches . . . The bitches are the type that . . . need to have it stuffed to them hard and heavy.

8. Escorts . . . they know exactly how to turn a man on. I’ve given up on girlfriends. They don’t know how to satisfy me, but escorts do.

9. You’ll find most girls will be reluctant about going to bed with somebody or crawling in the back seat of a car . . . But you can usually seduce them, and they’ll do it willingly.

10. There’s nothing quite like a woman standing in the dock accused of murder in a sex game gone wrong . . . The possibility of murder does bring a certain frisson to the bedroom.

11. Girls ask for it by wearing these mini-skirts and hotpants . . . they’re just displaying their body . . . Whether they realise it or not they’re saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got a beautiful body, and it’s yours if you want it.’

12. You do not want to be caught red-handed . . . go and smash her on a park bench. That used to be my trick.

13. Some women are domineering, but I think it’s more or less the man who should put his foot down. The man is supposed to be the man. If he acts the man, the woman won’t be domineering.

14. I think if a law is passed, there should be a dress code . . . When girls dress in those short skirts and things like that, they’re just asking for it.

15. Girls love being tied up . . . it gives them the chance to be the helpless victim.

16. I think girls are like plasticine, if you warm them up you can do anything you want with them.

With evidence like this I’m always amazed when men don’t understand that the culture we live in hurts women and that the way it talks about/shows sex with women is inherently violent.

There was a post I did a while back that pointed out how the media and advertising dehumanize women

and how that dehumanization along with sexualized violence

leads to violence against them.

What my male friends who insist that “feminism isn’t necessary anymore” don’t realize is that it isn’t laws that are used to oppress women anymore (outside of the birth control debates), it’s media.

And it’s time we fought back.