When you see me, splashed about social media & prancing about for blog photos, what do you notice first?
For some, it will be the clothes that I wear.
For others, it will be my face – which is mostly likely a stern pout.
For some it is my weight – and I have written my thoughts on that contentious issue before!
When I began blogging I expected criticism and I have had my fair share. I have been called names too hideous to even repeat and had my pictures splashed across hate sites. I’m not going to say this hasn’t affected me, that I haven’t doubted myself or felt unworthy of putting myself out there – yet for every foul remark there has been praise!
Women have taken the time to let me know I have inspired them to wear what they want; women who, seeing me put myself out there, feel just that little more confident in their own skin. For all my triviality of pretty clothes and lacy underwear – that is the reason I blog and that is why I can sit in bed as I write this, sipping my hot honey & lemon drink, whilst feeling perfectly content in my round, scarred, wobbly, fat body.
However, what I never really considered is the forced sexualisation that comes from being a confident woman unafraid to bare her face, and her body, to the world.
Perhaps I was naive in thinking I could talk about my love of lingerie without attracting sexual attention. I mean, I have lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked (even before starting this blog) if I buy lingerie for my husband or myself – perhaps that was a sign that people don’t truly believe that a girl can enjoy scanty lace and silk strappings unless they are for another person’s pleasure. Perhaps, even in this enlightened age where women are running multi-billion dollar industries, instigating international humanitarian aid, leading nations, and even exploring space itself – perhaps, we’re still not allowed the simple pleasure of liking something for ourselves?
Recently, I listed some items for sale on eBay. A sports bra that no longer fitted, a couple of dresses hardly worn, some shoes too high for me to wear now that I have a dead leg. Three days later I was on the phone to the eBay complaints department to prevent people from contacting me unless they were verified accounts who had made successful, complaint free purchases. For those three days leading up to that call, I was hounded by messages – ‘Are you single?’, ‘If I win the listing, can you send pictures of yourself with the item?’, ‘Wow, your boobs’, ‘Can I have your number’, ‘You are beautiful can I have more pictures’.
I’ve grown used to it on my blog and on social media. Most comments get deleted and the account blocked. Emails also mostly get deleted. One or two I do chuckle about – like the man who wanted me to take pictures of myself splashing about in puddles so my stockings would get really muddy and dirty and soaking wet. I mean really – you want me to get wet and cold in winter? No thanks, I’m quite happy with my cup of tea and a custard cream by the fire place! Blocked!
I know others have been subjected to this too. I spoke with Becky of Mrs BeBeBlog who has experienced it when promoting plus size and fuller figure lingerie.
Becky’s response is very measured and grown up – more mature than my initial reactions and I admire her for that. However, isn’t a sad state of things if we expect to receive dick pics and obscene messages?
Lingerie blogger Two Cakes on a Plate speaks out quite vehemently against the whole situation.
It is not an unusual story even outside the realms of lingerie and fashion bloggers. A very good friend of mine is a pole fitness artist – an incredible athlete who dedicates hours a week to her art. Yet her Instagram is plagued by those wishing to objectify her.
Friends on dating sites, there for company and commitment, are also sent message after message. Kathryn Kaupa of Miss Kathryn’s MissTakes talks of her online dating experience.
In fact, sexual fetishisation of the female form seems to be more rife than ever. The rise of the internet, the ability to hide behind a screen, to distance yourself from social prejudices, has led to a rise in freedom of expression. This is, for the large part, a fantastic thing as people do not need to closet their desires. People can join communities previously unknown to them, where judgement is set aside and sheer indulgence is allowed. What is not right, however, is when unwilling participants are dragged into that community – just because they have listed themselves on Tinder, posted a picture on Instagram, or tried to sell a sports bra on eBay.
Is it right, that we should be sexually objectified, fetishised, and subjected to the desires of a person we have never met and whose attention we have never asked for? By putting ourselves out there, are we asking for it?
I certainly don’t believe we are!
Tonight myself and some other bloggers will be taking to social media to protest against this objectification. We will be sharing our stories and having our say … join us and tell us your stories … use the hashtag #NotForYourPleasure so we can find each other and support one another in making a stand against this hyper-sexualised view of women!
PS. Go give Two Cakes on a Plate’s take on this post – it is really quite marvellous. And if you write a post on the subject yourself then let me know & I will link to it!
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