"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Sunday, April 05, 2015

the fuckability of being an f-word.

Now Playing: Fuck Love by Iggy Azalea (it's my life, I'mma do who I want to, do what I want to, and I don't want you)

Three years after high school and I called it quits, I still remember the incredible pressure, conflict and contradiction surrounding sexuality.

I remember being endlessly frustrated that I couldn't express myself for what I was; that, because I looked and behaved a certain way, because I could do some things and couldn't do other things, I wasn't considered a sexual being.

Of course, most of the girls I grew up with were not, and still don't consider themselves to be, sexual beings. They were sex objects; things people found to be sexually appealing. Of course, this kind of degradation is not everyone's cup of tea, so I was lucky to escape that.

But I still felt stunted. The idea that I would have a sexuality was laughable; the idea that just because specific people didn't find me appealing somehow meant that I never found anyone appealing was stuck fast in everyone's minds.

I joke a lot that I was the 'unfuckable feminist' in high school. Nobody actually called me that - to my face, but trust me, I've heard *all* the talk - but that's how I was treated. I wasn't acting like a girl, so I didn't get the boys. Simple.

To this day, when the feminist debates get really fired up, the first thing that is picked on is my sexuality. My lack of sexual appeal, my excessive sexuality, the way that this doesn't curve in an appropriately Photoshop way, the fact that I have the audacity to eat pasta and this has cost me my career as a catwalk model.

I get endlessly frustrated when feminists say that sex is always, always, always, degrading, humiliating, and just more risk than it's worth for us females. That we should be 'better' than that, that we don't 'need' that, that life is so much moooooore.

My goal as a feminist, though, is to humanize the female experience. And humans, in general, get their freak on. And, for me, it is empowering to be open about my sexuality, which is such a huge part of what I am, and is something that I was taught to be so ashamed of for so long. And in a world where feminists are subjected to all sorts of 'you'd be lucky if you got raped' vitriol, being in control of one's sexuality and having happy, healthy sexual relationships is something that I am really, openly proud of.

A lot of people have told me that all my 'arbitrary rules' about my body and sexuality is going to get me nowhere - in the world, with men, and in a man's world. So it's endlessly infuriating to my detractors that I have, somehow, even though feminists are all fat ugly lesbians and men are apparently terrified of non-supermodel bodies and body hair, managed to have a personal life on my own terms, where everyone is safe and happy. It's a paradigm shift; I refuse to believe that men need to chase and I need to be caught or that there's something wrong with switching that up or eschewing that altogether.

There is a certain confidence in pursuing, and then demanding, the kinds of sexual relationships that I am happy with as a feminist. There's a certain confidence in walking away, in demanding better, in expecting more of people. But from that, a different sort of confidence is gained; and when men attack and ridicule my sexuality, there is a confidence in knowing that you are the fully fledged sexual being they claim you are not, and in knowing that there are people out there, who, in spite of hostility and gender feuds and rape culture, can give that to you. And that confidence is what keeps me going.

We have to stop thinking about sex as something good or bad or damaging or empowering. We have to stop stressing about what our necklines say about our emancipation, or the feminist logistics of virginity and promiscuity (you can be both. That is a thing. Especially as they are both constructs, you can indulge in more than one patriarchal delusion at a time.) I'm a feminist. I love the company of men. This is what I am and my job as a feminist is to make sure all women have the opportunity to be their true selves; and I'm starting with myself.

When I was younger, I believed that somewhere in between my feminism and leg hair and Asian-ness and love handles that I would never be able to be what I wanted to be; in all things, but especially as a fully realized sexual being. I was so ashamed of what I felt and had no idea how to express it. But shame is a lie that somebody told me, and I refuse to believe it. Feminism, for me, is going out there and getting what I want.

Which for me would be, of course, consent and pasta. Mmmmmm.

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