Sep 29, 2012

Sexual Objectification: Part 1

I like to be sexually objectified.  Except that I don't.  Not in what that term really means.  Have you ever looked it up?

Objectification: depersonalization - representing a human being as a physical thing deprived of personal qualities or individuality;

I even found this from a Stanford article:

Objectification is a notion central to feminist theory. It can be roughly defined as the seeing and/or treating a person, usually a woman, as an object. In this entry, the focus is primarily on sexual objectification, objectification occurring in the sexual realm. Martha Nussbaum (1995, 257) has identified seven features that are involved in the idea of treating a person as an object:
  1. instrumentality: the treatment of a person as a tool for the objectifier's purposes;
  2. denial of autonomy: the treatment of a person as lacking in autonomy and self-determination;
  3. inertness: the treatment of a person as lacking in agency, and perhaps also in activity;
  4. fungibility: the treatment of a person as interchangeable with other objects;
  5. violability: the treatment of a person as lacking in boundary-integrity;
  6. ownership: the treatment of a person as something that is owned by another (can be bought or sold);
  7. denial of subjectivity: the treatment of a person as something whose experiences and feelings (if any) need not be taken into account.
Rae Langton (2009, 228–229) has added three more features to Nussbaum's list:
  1. reduction to body: the treatment of a person as identified with their body, or body parts;
  2. reduction to appearance: the treatment of a person primarily in terms of how they look, or how they appear to the senses;
  3. silencing: the treatment of a person as if they are silent, lacking the capacity to speak.
The whole article is interesting but it is seriously confusing, derogatory, against pornography, and hard to fit into the lesbian dynamic- especially with how femmes feel about their bodies, their gender, and their sexuality.

Point being: I don't like the depersonalization aspect of objectification.  I love that I am an intelligent, opinionated, respectful, witty woman.  I love when people recognize those qualities in me, and I don't want those qualities to be lost or pushed aside so I am viewed purely as an object to be used for sexual gratification.  I refuse to be treated "as if I lack the capacity to speak."

But I do want those wonderful qualities of mine to step into the background occasionally.  I find it thrilling, arousing, to have all thoughts of how sweet or smart I am fly out the window because of an all consuming sexual desire.  Perhaps this is because I have always felt pretty, not sexy.  Perhaps it is because I have always felt body conscious.  But there is something about when someone turns to me with that heat in the eyes that makes me tingle all over.

Even when I'm not attracted to that person, I'll find myself doing little things to keep up the crush.  I'll dress nicer, keep up my makeup, make an effort.  My smiles are a little slower, my eyes a little warmer, my blouse a little more low cut.

Is it teasing?  Is it wrong?  Am I not supposed to do it? I've never really seen the problem in looking my best.  As long as I'm not flirting I don't feel like I'm leading anyone on.  I'm careful to not give the wrong impression, careful to not say anything that would be interpreted as interested in a date, but I'm a flirtatious person by normally, so I have to cut back and I can't say I've never accidentally slipped.  What do you think?  Is the body language too much?  Am I being unfair to the other person?

Am I, in turn, objectifying/using someone else as he/she/z sexualizes me, in order to boost my own self esteem?  Do you think this is a better or worse form of objectification?  Do you enjoy when your body is sexualized by strangers, acquaintances, your partner?  Or do you prefer that your mental attributes be your sexiest qualities?

Sep 27, 2012


I avoid a lot of things.  In face to face conversations I have a hard time admitting my feelings, even if it's just admitting to physical pain like a headache or stubbed toe.  When I write my yearly Christmas letter, there are giant elephants dancing across the stationary which I refuse to acknowledge.  I won't talk about the man who messes up the family dynamic, even though my extended family is burning with questions about him.  Even when I blogged consistently for a whole year, I avoided talking about the girl that broke my heart.

I avoid doing laundry until it's necessary, and same goes for washing my car.  I avoid making my bed because, honestly, I'm just going to crawl back in it in a few hours.  I avoid important conversations, simmering arguments, anything which I believe will be taxing and a pain in my ass.  I avoid it until I absolutely can't anymore, and then it blows up and smooths over and everything is, usually, fine.

So I was really proud of myself this weekend when I stumbled onto a made-for-TV movie on Lifetime called "Girl Positive."  I'm not usually a Lifetime movie kind of girl, but this one caught my eye and I couldn't shut it off.  The movie stresses the importance of cautious sexual interaction and the reality of HIV among the suburbs and non-risk groups in the US.

When I turned it off, I realized- I'm in my mid-twenties and I've never been tested.  Can you believe that?  It never seemed quite so insane to me because I've never had intercourse with a man, but after watching that movie- how ignorant could I sound?  Like that is the only way to get an STD/I or HIV.

It's not like my sexual education was lacking.  My health class taught me all about being safe and staying healthy, but when I came out all possibility of testing positive for anything sort of flew out the window for me.  Gay and Lesbian sex was not exactly stressed in the health curriculum in my little Mormon and Catholic town.

But, instead of procrastinating or avoiding, like I would normally do, I called up my local clinic to get a blood test.  Now I have to wait.  The waiting part sucks.  I probably should have stuck with avoidance.  But at least once I know, I'll know, and hopefully it'll just be a reassurance- a peace of mind.

When I drafted this post last night I was scared.  I had expected to receive a call yesterday, but it was just radio silence.  Because we missed yesterday's deadline, I know that because of the clinic and the hours this particular doctor works, I might not get a call until next week.  Now I don't feel quite as scared.  The chances of me testing positive for anything are so slim that it's not worth worrying about until I know.

I just need to relax and let what happens, happen.  I'm sure it'll be fine.

Sep 24, 2012


I dated boys for many years.  It started when I was 12.  When I was 13 I was dating a 16 year old, but he was my best friend, and very gay.  He was the best boyfriend I've ever had.  When I was 14, I had a "friend with benefits" open my eyes to the underbelly of the internet that the school had blocked.  Oh my God, girls could do that?  To each other? Obviously, he found it hot, but I don't think he expected it to turn me on so much.  Whatever got me in the mood, though, so he soothed me, convinced me it was absolutely normal for straight girls to feel aroused by it as he palmed his way under my shirt.

I will be forever grateful to him for showing me the true use of computers. 

However, it was with this way of thinking that I spent my high school years.  I was in unsatisfactory relationships, seeking adrenaline rushes, boyfriends, affairs, and taboos to feed this sexual void in me.  I couldn't figure out what was missing.  And then I slowly began to wake up.

m:2, we'll call her Mary, was my first girl crush that had me thinking sexual thoughts. I was in year 12, so ready to be done with high school, and she was a grade below myself. She had curly black hair (do you see a trend?) that was always in a ponytail, and a huge silver guitar for a belt buckle. She rocked out on it with headphones over her ears like she was practicing for a garage band.  She wore jeans and pullovers and the skater sneakers that make your feet look huge.

She was funny. She had a dry humor, a sarcastic wit, and her responses were lightning fast. Her brown eyes could swallow you. She never really smiled -it was always more of a half smirk, but that fit her perfectly.

At the time, I was convinced that I did not have a crush on her. Me? Gay? No way. I went to school with lesbians, I was friends with lesbians, I was part of the GSA. I'd heard them all talk, when you're gay you know it all the way from when you're a kid.

I remember the first time Mary hugged me. There was skin to skin contact and it was a long time before I let her go. No boy had ever made me want to hug him like that. She smelled wonderful and her body fit along mine like we were two halves of the same whole. I fantasized about hugging her, kissing her, seeing her without her sweatshirt. We went on this school trip and stayed at a hotel, and when we all went swimming she had the most amazing body. Her arms were like woah. But of course that didn't mean that I was gay. As my feelings grew I passed them off as a fluke, a one time thing with just one girl. It helped that Mary wasn't gay, so what was the point of trying to talk to her about it?

I graduated, and found out two months later that she came out and was identifying strongly as a butch lesbian. Way to go, me.

I started college that fall. Again, I found myself crushing on a girl. Luckily, m:3 (I'm realizing that I like a lot of girls whose names start with M) was not the girl I was sharing a room with. My roommate and I got along well enough. m:3 had the room next to ours, and she was something else. She was slightly taller than me and much curvier. She was gorgeous. We traded clothes, dresses, makeup. We hugged all the time or snuggled on the couch together under a blanket watching TV. She would curl into my arms and beg me to play with her hair and it was so long and beautiful and felt like silk between my fingers. We sometimes cuddled and fell asleep in the same bed or on the couch, but she was firmly straight, so I couldn't possibly think of her that way at all.

We started having crushes on the same guy, and I realized that I was jealous. I didn't want them to date because then she wouldn't be spending time with me or cuddling with me. I never had dreams about kissing her, never thought of having sex with her, but I craved skin to skin contact. She was so soft, so smooth, so warm that I snuggled up to her like a cat. I was happy just being next to her, sleeping beside her.

I went nine months in silence, not thinking that I liked her in a lesbian way, but I knew something about my feelings for her was different. She graduated and moved away after I let my jealousy get the better of me.  She refused to speak to me and I was crushed.  Soon after, the summer of my life stormed in like a hurricane.

It began with Patty: she was a very short, curvy thing with gorgeous black hair and dark eyes. She had an attitude that was so strong, confident, sexy. I couldn't take my eyes off her. After m:3, I was a little wary about all of my wonky feelings around girls and I wasn't about to get heartbroken again. I befriended Patty quickly during our shifts together at work, and her laugh was extraordinary. She taunted boys and girls both with her bountiful assets, but I couldn't get a read on her. Would she be offended if I asked her out?

She was constantly teasing the lesbian girl who worked with us. I knew her vaguely- she had been infatuated with m:3 and made her extremely uncomfortable, but Patty didn't seem so uncomfortable, so maybe she'd be open to the idea.  I remembered that m:3 was no longer talking to me and I decided I'd be damned if I let another girl slip away.

We were joking one day at work and I tried to be casual about it. "So, Patty, you want to go out on a date sometime?"

"Tabby, you're such a charmer!" she laughed. "Ran out of cute guys to ask?"

"You're prettier than they are," I threw out the compliment unabashedly, but she laughed and took a sip of her water. "God, I wish more people were as sweet as you," she said and walked out.

I sighed and leaned my head back against the wall. She thought I was joking.   She thought I was super sweet, which was great, but also that I was straight and joking.

That night I went out to a party, got drunk, and made out with a boy. It was wholly unsatisfying. The next week, Patty began dating the lesbian girl from work. Shit.

Sep 21, 2012


Crap.  I went away for two years- just stopped writing.  I'm so sorry.  I don't think that I can do anything or say anything that would make you understand.  When I started this blog *gulp* three long years ago, I was still so broken.  Every time I tried to write about what was truly eating at me, I couldn't.  I put it off and put it off because I was still in love with, still heartbroken over, the first girl to bring down all my barriers.

By starting this blog, I tried to give myself a space to explore all the other things that were going on inside me.  All of my daily gender struggles, my issues with my sexuality- I turned to you as a community for strength, guidance and compassion, and I'm thankful for all you've given me.

When I left, I had just had surgery.  It was hard for me to eat, physically, and I could feel the old habits of my anorexia creeping back up on me.  While I've never been diagnosed or hospitalized, anorexia is never very far from my mind.  The opportunity handed to me on a silver platter, to relapse with a perfectly good and unquestionable excuse, was too hard to pass up.  I lost forty pounds.  I felt amazing.  As with all things, it was a cycle.  I had to eat eventually and am now back up to my former weight.  It's been an interesting two years.  I've dated, I've learned, I've grown, I've started to heal, and I think I've become more comfortable with myself.

All those thoughts that were constantly plaguing me about who I was, about labeling myself, have faded into the background.  I am who I am and I enjoy the person I've become, for the most part.  There are always things I'm going to want to change about myself, but for now I'm not so focused on how I want to be labeled in a relationship or should be labeled.  I just act, and let things go from there.

When I started the blog I said I was going to write about being gay, because it was so new and overwhelming that I felt obsessed with it.  I feel like it overshadowed all else that I was, and sometimes it still does, but more and more sides of me are stepping into the spotlight, and that's the way I want it to be.

If you'd read my initial post from last night, you know that I had a relationship end.  She was a sweet, charming, raunchy girl that made me laugh constantly.  I don't know why I let her go, but I think that part of it was that I'm not quite healed.  So I've started something that I ached to do a long time ago, but never had the courage or conviction.

I've started writing about first:girl.  I feel like I've referred to her enough that I owe you my story, and maybe I owe it to myself to tell it.  It doesn't hurt me anymore to think about it.  I still occasionally get shivers when I think about her, or feel a warm glow when I remember her smile, but it was four years ago- long enough to feel like it happened to another person.  I'm so different now than I was then.

I hope, in telling it, the remnant of longing will disappear, and I can finally shut that door.  And perhaps all of you will finally feel like you know me as more than just words on a backlit screen, because every part of who I used to be was wrapped up in her.  I want you to know me.  I'm so sorry I disappeared, but I'm back and baring my soul for the world.

Sep 20, 2012

The Lightning Effect

I know I haven't blogged in forever, and I know no one even reads this anymore, but I couldn't possibly write this on Facebook, and I have to get it out somewhere, so this is my chosen place.

How many times have you thought you let the love of your life walk out the door? Do I let go too easily? Do I fall in love too easily?

 Maybe I have such a vivid imagination that when I see her, when I find her, I can see our whole life like "BOOM!" It's just there. I know her. From one look, one glance, I'm hers and she's mine. And it happens over and over again- this lightning phenomenon.

I'm never disappointed in her when this happens to me. I never want to leave, never want to break it off, but the moment she starts to back out, I don't fight for her either, and that's the part I can't seem to figure out.

 Do I feel like I don't deserve her? Am I waiting to become a better person? What if I never become a better person? What if I just let a beautiful British redhead walk away from me and I'm never going to see her, touch her, feel her, ever again?

Every time I've locked eyes with someone and felt this thing, this indescribable click in my chest like I'm finally whole- when that person leaves I feel like they were the person I was meant to be with. But then it happens again a few years later. It happened to both of my brothers, but only once for each of them. They married that girl. It's never happened to them again. So what happened to my wiring?

Maybe I'm afraid I'm going to fight for her, only to get bored and leave her later. Maybe I'm afraid of missing out on something better later. Or maybe I'm afraid that if I get in too deep I'll be utterly heartbroken like the first time I fell in love unguarded.

Her laugh was absolutely beautiful.