Posts Tagged ‘Sexuality’

Image of a potato with text saying “I’m offended by this potato”

I am so sick of hearing folks talk about how terrible it is that other people make an effort to be respectful to other people- ie, caring if something they say is offensive. And images like the potato one here being shared around social media as oh so edgy! When did intentionally being an asshole become something to brag about?

This was going to be a facebook post but I feel like this will get too wordy for a facebook status, so blog post it is!

This is actually most recently inspired by conversations I’ve seen around a free pride (alternative to the main pride which many feel is too commercialized) in Glasgow deciding against having any drag performers at the event because some felt it would be offensive to some trans people. They apparently are working on changing this policy btw.

The thing is, looking at discussions about this- I actually saw a lot of really great and thoughtful discussions about this with people talking about the role drag has had in the history of the lgbtq right movement through time, and how it has been important for many cis gay/queer people and trans and genderqueer people in being able to embrace who they are. And some trans folks spoke about why they find drag upsetting, negative experiences with drag performers, and some cis gay/queer folks talked about why they are uncomfortable with drag performances- how many performers draw on misogynistic, classist, and racist caricatures yet it’s given a pass because it’s a performance/comedy/part of queer culture.

And then other folks but in with such insightful commentary as “haha pc police going overboard!”, “the movement to not be offended is imploding on itself!”, “if you are offended by anything ever just never leave your house!” and so on.

The underlying idea behind all that of course is that the thoughtful conversations that I previously mentioned are utterly worthless. Attempting to understand where other people are coming from and find ways to be more respectful to a wide variety of people is stupid. The cool thing apparently is being an asshole just for the sake of being an asshole. If you hurt someone unintentionally and they say so, laugh at them for being a human being who has feelings- what a loser!

The thing is, there is not actually any real movement out there to never be offended. What does exist is a lot of people who have decided “hey, let’s try not to be assholes!” Who actually care to listen to what other people have to say and perhaps make changes if what they are doing is upsetting people.

I don’t think “I’m offended” is or should be the end of the discussion. And the truth is, I don’t think anyone thinks that. That may be the starting point for a larger discussion that hopefully leads to greater understanding and empathy. It is certainly not the end all, be all it is made out to be by the same people who talk about “social justice warriors” as boogie men. (Because when being an asshole is cool, social justice is bad.)

If someone tells me something is offensive to them and why I like to hope that I would consider the point they are making. I would certainly not keep doing/saying the same thing for the sole purpose of hurting them, because I’m not a sociopath. I recognize that other people are human beings with feelings, and I try to be respectful of that. If I have a reason to say something that I feel is important though, I will say it. Take for example “queer”. A lot of people, especially in my experience older people, in the lgbt community find the term offensive. If I know someone who find it offensive I will not purposefully refer to them as queer to upset them, in fact I will do my best to use their preferred identity to refer to them specifically. I won’t stop using queer in general though, because it’s still the term I feel best fits my identification and I’m not ok with being told how I’m allowed to identified. There is actually nuance to these things. And there is a huge difference between using a term because it has important meaning to you, and using a term just to upset other people or because you can’t be bothered to be considerate of the fact that other people exist and have feelings.

In contrast to my use of the word queer, many years back a friend called me out on my usage of the word “retarded” as a generic negative. And while my immediate reaction was actually rather defensive at the time, over the next few days I considered the point she made and realized she was right, and there was really no good reason for me to keep using that word. It took awhile to get out of the habit of using it, but at the end of the day there was no good reason for me to use that word. Whether I agree with people being upset by it or not isn’t even relevant, they are and it’s a word I have no good reason to need to use, so why not make an effort to be respectful? It’s not that hard.

And yet, for some reason instead of recognizing the nuance and purpose behind these discussion, there is a large portion of people who want very much to reduce this all to “haha, you’re a person who has feelings!” and cries about “pc police”.

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This morning on my facebook newfeed I came across this image:

Image Description: A flyer says "Check Your Privilege Gender - Man (+50) -Woman (-50) -Genderqueer (-75) -Intersex (-100) Transgender (-300) Race -White (+100) -Asian (-50) -Latino (-50) -Black (-100) -Middle Eastern (-150) -Other (-100) Religion -Christian (+50) -Non-Religious (-10) -Jewish (-20) -Muslim (-50) -Other (-20) Disability  -Able-Bodied (+25) -Disease (-30) -Immobile (-50) -Deaf or Blind (-50) -Autistic (-200) Sexual Orientation -Heterosexual (+50) -Bisexual (-50) -Pansexual (-50) -Asexual (-50) -Homosexual (-150) Status -Plutocrat (+100) -Wealthy (+50) -Middle (+25) -Poor (-25) -Homeless (-250) Appearance -Average Body (+10) -Overweight (-20) -Underweight (-5) -Disfigured (-40) -Tall (+10) -Short (-10) Very Priveleged: 100+ Priveleged: 50-100 Non-Priveleged: -100-0 Very Dis-privelege: >-100

Image Description: A flyer says “Check Your Privilege
Gender
– Man (+50)
-Woman (-50)
-Genderqueer (-75)
-Intersex (-100)
Transgender (-300)
Race
-White (+100)
-Asian (-50)
-Latino (-50)
-Black (-100)
-Middle Eastern (-150)
-Other (-100)
Religion
-Christian (+50)
-Non-Religious (-10)
-Jewish (-20)
-Muslim (-50)
-Other (-20)
Disability
-Able-Bodied (+25)
-Disease (-30)
-Immobile (-50)
-Deaf or Blind (-50)
-Autistic (-200)
Sexual Orientation
-Heterosexual (+50)
-Bisexual (-50)
-Pansexual (-50)
-Asexual (-50)
-Homosexual (-150)
Status
-Plutocrat (+100)
-Wealthy (+50)
-Middle (+25)
-Poor (-25)
-Homeless (-250)
Appearance
-Average Body (+10)
-Overweight (-20)
-Underweight (-5)
-Disfigured (-40)
-Tall (+10)
-Short (-10)
Very Priveleged: 100+
Priveleged: 50-100
Non-Priveleged: -100-0
Very Dis-privelege: >-100”

The more I look at this or think about it the more wrong with it I notice, including the misspelling of privilege. I can’t make out anything on the flyer that indicates who created it. I’m sure they had good intentions to help make people aware of their privileges with it. Though I am skeptical of whether this is even effective for that.

The first issue with this is that privilege and oppression cannot simply be added. My experiences as a queer woman are not simply sexism + heterosexism. Rather the way I experience sexism is as someone who is queer and the way I experience heterosexism is as a woman. Or to put that another way: I don’t experience sexism as straight women do + heterosexism as gay men do. This goes the same for areas of privilege. The way I experience sexism is also impacted by my white privilege as much as by queer oppression.

This is also one reason I’m skeptical of this doing much good for helping people be aware of their privilege as this suggests that my being gay somehow cancels out my white privilege (and then some). That’s not how it works. When it comes to race my privilege is not less just because I lack privilege in things not related to race.

Next up is that a lot of the numbers relatively are off. The first that stood out to me was sexual orientation, bi and pan represent 1/3 the lack of privilege of being gay which is just bullshit. bi and pan folks experience heterosexism/homophobia just like gay folks. Passing privilege is a thing, but not one specific to bi and pan folks- it’s neither inherent to those identities nor limited to them. As a single queer/gay/lesbian* woman I often have an easier time passing as straight if I want than a bi woman in a relationship with another woman. I’m never outed by talking about a current significant other or just being with them.

*I prefer queer as an identifier but will also use gay or lesbian. On a spectrum I fall somewhere closer to totally gay than middle of the road bi. On a kinsey scale about a 5.

And then that being bi or pan is equal to asexual that I personally do not think belongs there at all. Heteroromantic asexual people (those who have/desire hetero relationships but do not desire sex) are not oppressed imo. This also reminds me of the recent Daily Show segment showing past reports from correspondent Jason Jones where he is talking to a man who says that (gay) people shouldn’t have special rights just because of the kind of sex they have. The thing is, sexual orientation is not about the type of sex one has! At most it give you an idea of the gender of people I have sex with. It is a common question of how two women have sex, but the reality is the answer is all sorts of ways! There are many different acts that two women may or may not engage in, they may have very vanilla sex, or very kinky sex. And if it’s kinky, my sexual orientation tells you nothing of if I’m a domme or sub or a switch. It doesn’t tell you what my kinks are or aren’t. Gay sex shouldn’t be extra taboo imo, but being queer is about far more than sex and it’s effect on our lives goes far beyond the bedroom.

Other categories have weird hierarchies int hem as well. Autism is the most oppressed of all disabilities? Who decided that being middle eastern is the most oppressed racial group?

There are also issues with terminology. First off I don’t get the categorization for class, I don’t see anyone identifing as a plutocrat, and wealthy folks will just think they are middle class anyways.

“immobile”, “disease”, “disfigured”- many of these seem like they were chosen by people who are not part of that group. Even though I have diseases, in context I would prefer “chronic illness”, since I think of myself as “ill” not “diseased”- there is definitely a negative connotation to that. I’m not even sure who all is supposed to fall under these categories. There are definitely disabilities that don’t fit any of them.

Then there are the cross group issues. I’d rather speak to those that apply to me, so let me talk about those. First off, short? I’m short at 5’0″ but I am not oppressed by that shortness. Even within the appearance category, it is not comparable to being fat. And fat is nearly equivalent to being poor? I don’t think so. And for me I feel being a woman is a bigger factor in oppression that being queer, though I’m not sure where I’d rank everything. But socio-economic class needs to be higher up there. Of course the problem with ranking is it is personal! To me being a woman feels like it should rate a bigger negative score than being queer but that does not mean another queer woman won’t feel differently from her experiences. And much of this goes as well to the fact that we all typically experience varying degrees/aspects of oppression. My experience being queer is different than someone who was disowned by their family when they came out. My experience being fat is different than someone who has difficulty with chairs in public spaces accommodating their size. Experience with disability varies so fucking widely I wouldn’t even know where to start there. And socio-economic status is incredibly complicated in how we define it and where one falls. By income level I am poor. But that is to some extent ameliorated by other aspects of class privilege like education.

All in all, it’s just kind of a mess. Which tends to be the result whenever anyone tries to quantify or compare privilege.

For some reason there is something… or somethings… about me some people just really hate. I mean, I never expect to be everyone’s cup of tea. But honestly I am surprised at times the amount of obsessive hate I get directed at me. Particularly the obsessive part. Like the folks who obviously disagree with me and clearly straight up do not like me, yet still apparently read everything I write here and on other websites- and check all my workouts I post online. I mean, I have a blog specifically identified as being about feminism, I expect the random nasty comments. That some people really get so obsessed though that they don’t just say “haha fattie!!!!” (<- real comments I get often) and move on but keep following all my activities across various websites- that was a bit unexpected.

But I guess I should have expected, I’m fat, I’m a woman, and I’m queer a dyke, several characteristics that mean a lot of people are very bothered by my mere existence on the internet. I actually try not to venture too far away from certain safe internet spaces usually (my facebook that is limited to those I have friended, and a few forums that restrict membership and are heavily moderated against hateful or harassing comments). Though I’ve branched out recently. Though I still won’t go on reddit. But I have this blog, and another, I use twitter now and then, and I started posting on instagram a lot and even made my account public, and I’m active on this fitness website called fitocracy.

The latter being the primary source of most issues I run into.

None of this should surprise me. I stayed out of #gamergate and mostly out of #shirtgate but I read about both and I know women who actively posted bout them. I know about the rape threats and misogynistic comments that followed those who did. I know about the doxing and many women who had the harassment go beyond the internet resulting in being stalked and threatened IRL. Women who no longer could feel safe in their own homes all for speaking out on the internet against sexism and in support of other women.

Misogyny on the internet isn’t news to me. But I stayed largely uninvolved in both of those precisely because I have limited energy to deal with bullshit. I have more than enough stress in my life already, and I do research that revolves around violence against women- when I want to relax and get away from that, I don’t want to get away from it by reading a bunch of rape threats.

And it shouldn’t surprise me running into so many issues on a fitness based website, it should be no surprise that a number of men who are interested in lifting feel the need to fuel that interest with misogyny and homophobia. Because it’s all about proving one’s masculinity which apparently means tearing down women and gay men.

And even though this is titled “haters gonna hate”, I wish I could sit here and say that it hasn’t changed anything for me and I just ignore it. I do my best to, but sometimes, it doesn’t work. I’ve deleted a number of workouts after just downright mean comments (not advice, just mean for the sake of being mean.)  I’ve started not tracking a lot of workouts online- not for the reasons I hear others use about just not caring about points anymore, or because they track other places instead, no- for me when I choose not to track something online it’s because I just don’t want to deal with comments from folks about how they are laughing at my workout.

I want to connect and talk to folks who have a similar interest and I want to celebrate progress, but I can’t do that without also opening myself up to all number of rude comments there, and here, and probably soon enough other places as well as a small set of people follow me around from site to site.

Part of my inspiration for this is when I see folks say this doesn’t happen, they don’t see it. Well, you wouldn’t if it’s not directed at you. Many of these exchanges have not happened in the open. I’ve deleted them on other sites, on this site comments need to be approved so if I delete it without approving it no one except me knows it happens. And so that’s part of why I’m writing this. To acknowledge that this happens, even though if you looked through comments here or elsewhere you would find no evidence of it.

And a big part of my inspiration in writing this is just how exhausted I am with it. I’m exhausted at having to put my guard up if I venture over to certain sites. I have to prepare for the backlash if I do something as radical as suggest that folks should maybe not use homophobic slurs. And it’s just fucking exhausting and there are so many times I just want to delete all my accounts, block everyone, and hide from the whole world because of this. Usually I get over that. I get some rest, get my strength back up, but the mental armor back on, and venture back out to deal with it all again. But god damn it blogging, tracking workouts online, and wanting to talk to other people about lifting should have to feel like that.

And it’s on a totally different topic but I am somewhat reminded of this article I read recently about Lena Chen’s experience blogging about sex. There are a number of parallels, plus it’s a great piece and worth reading so I’ll take any excuse to link to it.

I was hanging out with a friend once, and we were driving somewhere in my car with my music playing when a song I like started- Emotional Girl by Terri Clark. It’s a song that came out when I was 9 and I’ve been listening to it ever since then. My friend starts telling me how he can’t believe I would like this song. I’m confused, he’s hear enough of my music he should know by now that I like country music. That’s not it. He explains that this song supposedly represents everything I disagree with because I get upset at sexist stereotypes and this song is saying they are true.

Except not. I’ve listened to this song a lot. No where in the song does she says “women just more emotional than men!” or “women can’t control their emotions!” She sings about herself being emotional, and the artist happens to be a woman (or “girl” in the lyrics of the song). This led to an argument about whether or not it “proves” a stereotype for an individual to meet it, which he claimed it did- I still find interesting considering how many stereotypes he would be “proving” under that logic.

But I’m reminded of this conversation from time to time because while most people would never say they think a single individual displaying a characteristic means that proves a stereotype of all people like them in some way will have that characteristic, people still are inclined to take such things as evidence that their stereotype is accurate.

And this is one of the problems with stereotypes- making people in certain groups feel like everything they do has to be defined by that stereotype by way of disproving it.

You tell me women are just too emotional compared to men, and now I’m apparently under some obligation to never show emotion to prove your stereotype is wrong and show that I am worthy of being treated equally. And suddenly an entire group of people are not allowed varying personalities and characteristics because if even a few fit the stereotype for the whole group that is taken as proof the stereotype is accurate.

I’m writing about this because in a lot of ways it took some work to say “so what if I fit your stereotype?” For a long time I did feel like I had to behave in certain ways so I wouldn’t be considered a stereotype. But the thing is, the problem with stereotypes is the stereotype, not me being whoever I am.

And who I am sometimes fits certain stereotypes and sometimes it doesn’t. I wrote recently about musing about fitting the stereotype of the man-hating, lesbian feminist in combat boots, and the thing about that stereotype is there was a time when I did feel like I had to counter that stereotype personally and would be afraid of fitting it. Of course I still don’t fit the stereotype perfectly- usually the stereotype also includes “hairy legged” and I do shave. But, that’s kind of how individuals work.

Some stereotypes about women don’t fit me at all, some do. Some stereotypes about lesbians fits me, some don’t. Et cetera. And that’s fine.

There is nothing wrong with being an emotional person, so why should I be bothered if I fit that stereotype? There is nothing wrong with being a lesbian or wearing combat boots, so why be bothered if I fit those stereotypes?

Also fitting one part of a stereotype does not mean all the things people think about that are accurate.  See for example: fat lesbians do not prove the stereotype that lesbians are just gay because we are too fat and ugly to get a man. Being a fat lesbian doesn’t even prove that lesbians are as a group always fat (even if most of us are, your stereotype still sucks because it doesn’t ft all lesbians) and it certainly doesn’t prove all the extrapolation beyond that about the supposed meaning of our bodies and sexuality.

The problem is with people who make and operate under stereotypes about whole groups of people, not me for being who  I am instead of always trying to be the exact opposite of every stereotype that could maybe be applied to me.

I just posted on my facebook about being amused that I’ve pretty much become the stereotypical man-hating, lesbian feminist who wears combat boots.

And I was thinking more about this, and how I wear combat boots all the time these days- but but often with dresses and such. So being femme even though I wear combat boots I don’t look like the stereotype of a lesbian.

Which then got me thinking about being fat, which is often a stereotypical lesbian trait. The awesome Lea Delaria had some asshole comment on her twitter I think it was about how she was a walking stereotype being a fat, butch lesbian.

But I’m fat and femme. And these often feel like contradicting points to me. Even though they are not at all. But if you were to say “fat lesbian” I think most people would be more likely to picture someone who looks like Lea Delaria than Mary Lambert.

Speaking of which, how adorable are they! *swoon*

On the other hand I follow a lesbian page on facebook that primarily talks about femme visibility. It’s cool, but I notice a lot of the time there is stuff I just can’t relate to, because “femme” ends up being used to mean “conventionally attractive”, but the two are not necessarily the same thing. I’m femme. I’m attractive in my own way, but I’m not conventionally attractive. And the biggest part of that is because I’m fat.

#fatfemmeproblems

I’m just going to leave this there because I’ve been drinking and I’m not sure how to nicely conclude my rambling thoughts on this.

So apparently there was a study which found that among the lesbians sampled 75% were overweight or obese.

I first heard of this when I saw this article on my facebook feed about what is wrong with the statistic. The woman who wrote that article mainly takes issue with the fact that the sample size for lesbians was 87 compared to a sample size of 5,460 straight women.

I read this awhile back, and it made me uncomfortable, but I often like to stop and sit on those kinds of thoughts and feelings for awhile so I give myself time to think through why. But my thought at the time and my thought now remains- so what if it is true?

Putting aside whether the statistic is good or accurate, I’m more concerned with why we care one way or the other.

The author of this article is concerned that this statistic will be accepted as fact, will morph into countless memes and jokes used to mock lesbians and “delegitimize our sexuality”.

But it seems to me- as a fat lesbian- that the underlying issue to that is that it’s considered mock worthy to be a fat lesbian.

Ferndale Pride with Extra Lesbian Sticker

Fat Lesbian! … Fat extra lesbian? … or Extra Fat Lesbian?

Side note: I took 3 selfies at ferndale pride with 3 stickers- extra queer, extra gay, and extra lesbian (all 3 being terms I identify with), and of course it’s the extra lesbian one, which was most relevant to this post, that I like the least. Oh well. 

And why should this statistic “delegitimize our sexuality”? Being fat does not make my sexual orientation any less legitimate.

The author of the article explains further: “the publicity around this ’75 percent of lesbians are fat’ statistic on social media is at present exacerbating the stereotype that ‘lesbians are just a bunch of ugly, lazy, misguided women with low self-esteem who can’t get a husband because they’re fat and don’t wear make-up, and therefore they’re terrible people and don’t deserve to be taken seriously!'”

And here is where I get deeply uncomfortable with this. Because my sexual orientation is not a response to low self-esteem nor an inability to get a husband. Being fat doesn’t mean I have low self-esteem and it sure as fuck does not mean I can’t get a man. I get hit on by men with some frequency. Whether or not those are men I’d actually date even if I was dating men is another issue. But if I were really desperate for a man, I could get one. But I’m not. 1. I’m single and not desperate for a relationship period. I have no interest in being with someone just for the sake of not being single and proving to society that I found someone who found me attractive. 2. More on point here, I don’t want to date men. I am attracted to women. My attraction to women is not a back up, substitute for men. And my weight does not make that any less so.

The stereotype that “lesbians are just a bunch of ugly, lazy, misguided women with low self-esteem who can’t get a husband because they’re fat and don’t wear make-up” is a problematic one. It’s a problematic one for fat lesbians too. It’s still problematic even if 75% of lesbians are overweight or obese. Because fat lesbians are not lesbians because we are too fat to get a man. Being fat and a lesbian does not make this stereotype true. Just like lesbian women who don’t wear makeup don’t make this stereotype true. If 75% of lesbian don’t wear makeup this stereotype would still be a heaping pile of bullshit.

So given that fat lesbians are still not lesbians due to an inability to get a man, given many men find fat women attractive, and that the reasons fat women are lesbians are pretty much the same as the reasons thin women are lesbians- what would it matter if 75% of lesbians are fat?

And I leave you with: Extra Fat Lesbian in Rainbow Fishnets

And I leave you with: Extra Fat Lesbian in Rainbow Fishnets

So I was looking for new blogs to read related to what I blog about here- which is difficult at times. Search FA and get anti-FA too, search based on fitness interests, get blogs all about dieting and weight loss.

So I saw this anti-FA blog post that compares being fat to being a slut. For reals.

And I find myself thinking “well, I’m both of those, so… was I supposed to be offended by that?”

And yeah, I’ll call myself a slut. For pretty similar reasons to calling myself fat. I mean, I call myself fat because I am. But as a word that is hurled as an insult, it’s also about reclaiming it. About saying I’m fat, and I don’t see anything insulting about that fact about me.

Slut is a word a lot of people define very differently. Though… when I think about it, not to much different than fat. For the most part, it seems society typically deems any woman who dares enjoy sex a slut. Though, that’s not totally true- wear something too revealing, seem too vain, or flirt more than people think you should and you are also a slut, even if you’ve never had sex. So I take that back, I think slut seems to be a word we use for women who dare to not be deeply ashamed of their sexuality.

It’s also a word used to tear other women down. Some folks will tell me that I’m wrong, that slut really only refers to women who slept with 20, 30, 40+ people or some other thing. Just like other people will tell me that I’m not fat because if you workout you aren’t fat (even if you are), or if you are under 250, 300, 400+, you’re not really fat, or whatever other arbitrary definition someone comes up with.

But in both cases, the reality is that’s not how society defines those things, and in both cases they just shouldn’t be insults. Being a slut means being a woman who is arbitrary defined as being too ok with her sexuality just the same as fat is arbitrarily defined as having too much mass.

And neither of these are things that should bear any shame or stigma, in my opinion. Whether one gets called a slut just because they wear short skirts, or if it’s because she really did sleep with 40+ people, and whether one gets labelled fat at just slightly over the “normal” bmi range or at 400+ lbs, why should these be things to be ashamed of? Who cares? Why on earth would having too much sex or carrying too much reduce our worth as people? Well, they don’t!

And so, as a person whose mass is arbitrary defined by society as too much I will call myself fat, and I will feel no shame in doing so. And as a woman who is comfortable with my sexuality, I will all myself a slut, and I will feel no shame in doing so.

huh, so maybe being fat is sort of like being a slut? Still not ashamed of either.

Ok, so this post is going to talk frankly about nudity and sex so if that makes you uncomfortable, stop reading. *cough*family I shared this blog with *cough* So you’ve been warned.

 

Now, this post was inspired by reading something elsewhere about fat people’s sex lives and the question some pose of if fat hurts sex lives. Of course one of the biggest ways they seemed to be saying that being fat ruins people… well, mainly women’s sex lives is through not feel comfortable and confident. Making folks either not want to have sex because of it, or having sex but still being plagued by self-conscious feelings that detract from the ability to fully enjoy it.

And it makes me sad how many women’s sex lives suffer because they can’t imagine themselves as being attractive. I’ve met women who insist on lights out, shirts staying on, trying to cover as much of their body as possible during sex and constantly afraid their partner isn’t really attracted to them or won’t be because of their size.

 

And I’ve fallen into that before too, found myself ruining the mood mentally for myself when suddenly all I could think during the act was “are they going to be turned off by my fat? omg is my stomach jiggling in this position?” and similar thoughts.

And it seems that maybe I just got lucky in a way because for the longest time I never saw hiding during sex was an option. I guess because my first partners were folks who liked lights on, it never occurred to me that turning the lights out to make it harder for them to see me was an option. Actually until a recent ex who would always turn the lights off, I kind of thought that was just a joke- a myth. I didn’t realize there were people who really did only have sex with the lights off. After that experience I started talking to people about this and found that it was actually incredibly common! Of course every person I talked to who only felt comfortable having sex with the light s off was a woman.

It also had never occurred to me to stay partially clothed during sex to hide my fat. Even when I’ve been less than confident in my body, I’ve always approached sex with a feeling that if you want to have sex, you just gotta suck it up and get over it because you are going to be naked, they are going to see you naked. They are going to see you naked up close! That’s just what sex is. It was kind of a culture shock almost when I discovered that it was so common for women to do all these things to try to stay hidden during sex.

And it makes me really sad that people feel that unhappy and uncomfortable with their bodies. Especially women in long term, loving relationships, who still find it too hard to believe that their partner really does love their body just as it is because we are so surrounded by and beat over the head with this message that there is only one body type that is attractive and people are never really attracted to anything else.

And to me, how could this not hurt one’s sex life? How could feeling ashamed of your body, afraid to be seen, and questioning your attractiveness to your partner not affect sex negatively? Like I said, while I was never a shirt on, light off girl, I’ve had those negative thoughts during sex and yeah- it ruins it a little. The problem there is not obesity, the problem is being told we are not attractive, that no one would find out bodies sexually appealing, and being told these things so many time,s from so many media sources and individuals, that we internalize it and believe it ourselves. Like many things blamed on obesity, the real culprit actually seems to fat hatred. If this is a bigger problem for fat women, it’s a bigger problem because fat women are taught to hate their bodies and view them as unattractive. Of course like most body image issues, thin women aren’t totally unaffected either. And certainly one area where weight loss is clearly not a solution- one woman used as an example of obesity ruining her sex life, lost the weight and still experience the same problems because she still didn’t see herself as beautiful. And yet, somehow people still think the solution is blaming obesity, and making fat women feel even worse about their bodies?

Ridiculous!

There is a spoken word poet I saw on youtube who has a really great piece related to this:

My favorite parts:

Fat girl don’t hate her body, fat girl hate the world

&

Fat girl dance anyway.

Fat girl shirt off.

Fat girl lights on.

Fat girl LIGHTS ON!

Sounds like a great motto to live by to me! 🙂

I wish all women had the confidence in their bodies to be naked. Be naked alone, be naked during sex, and maybe be naked in other scenarios too if you want. I wish we all were comfortable in our own skin, realized not to hate ourselves but hate the messages that say we aren’t good enough. Dance anyways, take your shirt off, leave the lights on. Do it regardless of your size, regardless of stretch marks or scars. Be naked as you are and be confident and happy and have awesome naked sex!

Ok, if it’s not clear from the title, this post is about sex. If that make you uncomfortable *cough*family I shared this blog with*cough* just skip this post.

 

Ok, so with that out of the way, most of this is taken from a comment Ieft on another blog, but figured I’l make it a post here (sorry to anyone who already read this in that comment.)

I really hate the whole stereotype that women who have casual sex don’t have any self-respect. In fact, th way people talk about women having sex is generally pretty godawful. I wish I had some brain bleach to erase all the times I’ve heard men talk about “sloppy seconds” when they have sex with a woman that had sex with another man they know first. Here’s a radical idea- women are not objects! We don’t lose our value as people, or even sexual partners, by having sex (while on that topic, quick anatomy lesson- the vagina is composed of muscle. It is not a sock that gets worn away with frequent use. A quick google search brought up this article on the topic and I like the analogy the author uses of stretching the sides of your mouth open. So sick of hearing how women who have too much sex are less valuable partners because of being “loose”. Also annoyed with how people normalize the idea that virgin women are so tight that pain is inevitable- tightness in virgins is going to due largely to not being relax. And expecting pain just increases nerves the first time.)

Back to the self-respect thing though, we always feel the need as a society to tie up women’s worth with how little sex we have. And so, we reason, if sex devalues a woman, then for her to have lots of sex or any kind of casual sex, she obviously doesn’t respect herself.

Bullshit.

I like casual sex. And I respect myself plenty, thank you very much. In fact, I found that being able to enjoy casual sex came out of developing a strong sense of self-worth, self-confidence, and respect.

I respect myself enough to not place my value as a human being on how low the number of people I’ve had sex with is. I respect myself enough that if I want to have casual sex with someone who is only after sex with me, because I’m only after sex with them, I’m going to do it. I respect myself enough to know that I like sex, sex is fun, and I like casual sex. I respect myself enough to do something I like regardless of sexism. I respect myself enough to not let sexist notions about women’s worth dictate my life and happiness.

While this stereotype of casual sex being caused by lack of self respect applies to all women, it seems to be applied even more strongly to fat women. Because fat women are stereotyped as being desperate. The stereotype says that fat women are so used to be seen as undesirable that we become completely desperate for any and all attention, and so we will sleep with anyone just for the attention.

So much wrong with that. First off, there are plenty of folks who find fat women attractive, trust me- as a fat woman, being told we are attractive is not an unheard of thing. I’ve also had the awful experience too of men telling me I was attractive and then getting confused that I didn’t fall all over them. Seriously. I’ve had this happen numerous times where men seem to expect that if they pay me a simple compliment, I will fall all over them because I’ve been waiting my whole life for a man to tell me I’m beautiful. So no, not going to fall all over you for saying that. It’s nice and flattering to be told your beautiful, and don’t get me wrong, I like compliments, and I will thank you. But, don’t be surprised that it’s not the first time I’ve heard that. Don’t act surprised that I didn’t immediately drop to my knees and start sucking your dick because you complimented me. And while I’m sure it’s true there are some folks out there who will have casual sex they don’t want to be having just to feel like they are getting some positive attention (and that is bad because sex is something you should be having because you want to have sex), that is not the only reason to have casual sex. Some of us just like sex.

And being fat does not mean that me liking casual sex is because I don’t have confidence (actually I find that casual sex requires a fair deal of confidence), that I don’t respect myself, or that I think I’m undeserving of real love and real relationships. Of course I’m deserving of real love and commitment. Casual sex is not how I go about finding love. It’s how I go about having sex because sex is fun, when I meet someone and we mutually want to have sex with each other but also mutually are not interested in anything else with each other. Finding someone you fall in love with and who falls in love with you is awesome, and it’s also fairly rare. And in the meantime while I’m waiting on finding that special someone, I’m going to meet other not-as-special someone’s who I don’t want a relationship with, and who don’t want one with me, but we have some mutual attraction and mutual interest in sex, and so I will have sex with those people. Because sex is fun.

Spilt Milk has an amazing blog post on queer mothering in a straight world, very worth a read. As I was reading through the blog post I found myself crying. And I wasn’t really sure why; this shouldn’t, to me, evoke such a strong emotional response.

But when I think about it, it should be totally reasonable for this to be an emotional topic for me. Reading that post I started crying thinking about what my future children might experience. Ideally my future involves meeting a woman who I will fall in love with and want to start a family with, and if that happens then my future children will have two mommies. Reading that also made me wonder and worry if my future kids in this scenario will be taught that that they have only one real mother, and what if I’m relegated to the role of unreal?

I notice this as a theme with queer issues and myself. I often find myself surprised by how emotional I feel about them, but more than the surprise at it I find that I often feel like I’m not “allowed” to have these feelings.

Coming out was one example. I was afraid of coming out- every time I have. Because I’ve never been 100% sure how people would react, if people would see me differently. And yet, I felt I wasn’t really allowed to be afraid of it. I’m very lucky to have friends and family who are supportive, and I knew they were ok with lgbtq people before coming out. The first people I came out to were close friends. And while I knew those friends had other friends who were queer and were allies, I couldn’t help but wonder if me being queer would change things between us. Would they feel differently about common friendly touches, or expressions now? If I tell a girl friend that I love her, as I’ve done many times, will she start to think I mean something other than friendship with that?

I had similar fears coming out to family. Yes, they’ve always been supportive of queer friends and family. But I also know that how we feel about things can be different in theory, or when it’s distanced from us, than how we feel when we are forced to confront it up close and personal. And sometimes we do not react according to our ideals when things hit close to home. I also know that things can look different when you are on the outside rather than inside- the degree of acceptance can seem different from an outsider perspective than an inside one. Actually the above blog post has an example of this- from the outside, to a straight parent the school may seem very accepting of queer parents and different families by including Tango Makes Three, whereas from the perspective of the author as a queer parent who met with the school and saw them reject 3 other books that represent queer parents the level of acceptance would seem a bit lower. There are a lot of aspects of prejudice and discrimination that we don’t see unless we are on the receiving end.

Even though queer issues are deeply personal ones to me, and ones that it’s reasonable for people to feel emotional about, I still often feel that I personally am not entitled to feel that way. That I am appropriating these feelings. That because I have been lucky to have people in my life who are supportive and because I have certain levels of passing privilege I’m appropriating these feelings that belong to people who really have to struggle with these things- people who have to face friends and family who are homophobic, people who are currently in same-sex relationships (compared to me being single and able to pass with no relationship that would out me), and queer parents who actually have to deal with those struggles (compared to me whose relationship to queer parenting is all based on a hypothetical future right now).

And the rational part of me knows this makes no sense, that as a queer person being emotional about queer issues is not appropriating anything. And yet I still found myself surprised when these issues have such an emotional impact one me.