I Wallowed In Self-Pity, Yet I Was A Bombshell
From a young age I understood that as a woman my breasts should be full, my waist should be tiny, and I should dress to impress men. As a child I would stand naked in front of the mirror, picturing my body as that of a billboard model, cupping an imaginary chest and making bedroom eyes. So I was confused and disappointed with 40-inch hips and a cup size well below DD. The disparity between my imagined and actual bodies created a conflict: how could I enjoy my own body if it couldn’t land a man?
Lacking a fully developed brain, I set off to find alternative ways to be valued.
If I couldn’t be conventionally sexy, I would fight the system. Women should be fragile, nurturing creatures who adorn themselves in pink? I got into violent movies and punk rock. Even if that meant giving up things that actually brought me joy, like theater and dance. But girls chastised my outfits and outlook, guys distanced themselves and authority figures judged me. Hiding my feminine side as my self-esteem plummeted was exhausting.
Plan B? Women are also valued for their sexuality, so I would exploit that and at least break the double standard.
Of course, sexuality is confusing. There is the “good girl” variety: lure men in only to deny them gratification. Alternatively, focus on his gratification but not your own. Unfortunately, that’s the route I took. So my work at breaking the double standard only went so far.
That search for validation led to sleeping with men I had no interest in, abusive relationships, a reputation for promiscuity, borderline eating disorder, crippling depression, and most horrifically, rape. Plus, lying to the world and myself about the shame I felt. This hypersexual activity was in no way benefiting me. And it begged the question: How could this be natural sexual behavior? It wasn’t.
Being a relatively smart girl, I saw that our culture’s ways often were not in my favor — and that there were options.
Enter feminism, my savior, my pride and joy. While my history may suggest otherwise, I have always held strong egalitarian beliefs. My family motto is ‘strong rugged women.’ Time to take the motto to heart.
Step one: Learn to love my body. The engrained beauty standard had blinded me to the possibility that I might be beautiful. In other times and places my body type has been idolized. As I wallowed in self-pity over my curvaceous figure, I was a bombshell.
Step two: Rework my sexuality. Patriarchy says my body’s worth lies in pleasuring men. Feminism says my body is mine to enjoy as I please. In some societies my sexual expression would be encouraged, and my orgasm prioritized. Sexuality is about exploration; it is not something to be ashamed of, and it is not something to be wasted.
I am now in recovery from patriarchy, so there are days when I can feel scarred and shamed. But I no longer search for validation in the climax of random men.
And now I know that I am a bombshell in more ways than one: my knowledge, my social action, my self-esteem. As for my sex life, I now enjoy only trustworthy lovers who encourage my sexuality and treat it as a gift.
Without feminism — without learning to love my body, my orgasm, and myself — I was an echo. Since embracing my feminine power, I am strong, confident, and in charge.
This was written by one of my students who gave permission to post on my blog.
Posted on November 13, 2013, in body image, feminism, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, women and tagged body image, feminism, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, women. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.