This is for you who saw that woman not wearing a bra in the video she posted on her social media account. This is for you who blatantly judged her and called her a ‘famewhore’. This is for you who liked all the negative comments about her and said nasty things that you know would make her feel bad and make everyone like you feel better.
I feel bad for you.
This is for you who saw that photo of a naked, overweight woman whom you called a living ‘disaster’. This is for you who laughed at her for exposing her body to the world. You have no idea how much strength and courage it took for her to be able to do that and be confident in her own skin.
My heart breaks for you.
This is for you who ran into your very skinny female friend somewhere, and shamelessly commented about her eating disorder. This is for you who needs to know that being skinny doesn’t always correlate to anorexia or bulimia. This is for you who needs more education about life.
My brain wants to explode for you.
This is for you who saw photos of me in black and white, with only a small object to cover my chest. This is for you who think my clothes are too short, and that I should cover my body more. This is for you who is against my freedom to be able to wear whatever I feel comfortable in. This is for you who instantly come to a conclusion that I wasn’t raised well, that I need Jesus in my life, because I clearly am a liberated woman.
This is for you parents, sons and daughters who don’t understand the right we enjoy and the freedom of expressing our femininity by what we wear and do not wear.
Cheers! I don’t give a fork about you, but please keep reading.
One of my favorite female activist, Emily Ratajkowsky, wrote a comprehensive essay about the body shaming and the importance of being able to freely express a female’s sexuality. She wrote:
“I see my naked body in the mirrors of all the places I’ve lived, privately dressing, going through my morning routine. I get ready for my day as one of my many roles in life — student, model, actress, friend, girlfriend, daughter, businesswoman. I look at my reflection and meet my own eyes. I hear the voices reminding me not to send the wrong message. And what is that message exactly? The implication is that to be sexual is to be trashy because being sexy means playing into men’s desires. To me, “sexy” is a kind of beauty, a kind of self-expression, one that is to be celebrated, one that is wonderfully female. Why does the implication have to be that sex is a thing men get to take from women and women give up? Most adolescent women are introduced to “sexy” women through porn or Photoshopped images of celebrities. Is that the only example of a sexual woman we will provide to the young women of our culture? Where can girls look to see women who find empowerment in deciding when and how to be or feel sexual? Even if being sexualized by society’s gaze is demeaning, there must be a space where women can still be sexual when they choose to be.”
— Ratajkowsky 2016, Baby Woman
The female body is a work of art. Skinny, plus size, average, no matter what size it is — it is a beauty that anyone should take time to recognize and appreciate regardless of its flaws. Unfortunately, while some may understand, not all of us are innately appreciative of it.
The body of a woman goes through many stages until it reaches its peak and its ultimate form. And as a woman myself, I value my sexual freedom very well. When I say sexual freedom, I am talking about me being able to fully appreciate my body, feel sexy in my own skin and express my sexuality in a way that doesn’t violate other people. If one’s nakedness violate your morality or your humanity, you also have the freedom to close your eyes, shut your mouth or isolate yourself.
I grew up in a dysfunctional family, but it doesn’t mean I was raised out of love and care. I was raised very well despite the fact that my parents weren’t always around. At a very young age, I was already very much conscious of how I wanted to express myself to the world. I already knew what I wanted people to see and perceive me as, and how I should let them know I didn’t really give a fuck about what they would think of it.
I wanted people to see me as a human being who grew up being able to be myself and to express my sexuality in a way that diminishes the idea that to be a good woman, one should be careful about exposing her skin to the society. I have to admit that I am never perfect. My body isn’t perfectly flawless.
I am skinny, but I have curves. I am flat-chested, but my clavicle shows off great. I got a small ass, but at least it’s round and a little stuffed. I don’t have an eating disorder. In fact, I eat a lot but never gain weight. I try to be healthy and strong by eating healthy food and by doing little sports.
Other than that, I have always liked wearing cropped tops, short shorts, body fit short dresses, and backless tops and those with low necklines. Since I live in a tropical country that doesn’t really get too cold, I don’t have to wear long and thick clothes. My family and friends would always make fun of me and ask, “Why do you even bother wearing anything?” I used to take their comments very seriously, but now, I just laugh at them every time since I have already made them understand that these are the kinds of clothing I am very much comfortable in.
“I think of women in their workplaces worrying about how their sexuality might accidentally offend, excite, or create envy. I think of mothers trying to explain to their daughters that while it wasn’t their fault, they should cover up next time.”
— Ratajkowsky 2016, Baby Woman
I remember one time, I was wearing high waist shorts that almost showed off my underbutt. I went out with a couple of colleagues to get some food. On our way out, I was catcalled by a bunch of passersby. My colleagues were surprised that I wasn’t affected at all. One of them even asked, “Those guys were catcalling you because of your shorts, and you didn’t even react?”
Well, I did react by not reacting to it. I ignored it, not because I didn’t feel wronged at all, but because I was already aware of the fact that not everyone had an open mind. Not everyone would understand that I have this innate desire to feel comfortably sexy all the time and it doesn’t give everyone the permission or the title to get something out of me just because I want to appear the way I am.
And I don’t really have to explain myself. I feel sexy and I want to be sexy for myself. Being sexy in my own way is my way of pulling in confidence into myself. It is my way of getting rid of all my insecurities every day. It doesn’t mean you have the right to tell me what to do and not to do, to comment on how I dress or to voice out your opinion about me being an attention-seeking woman. I don’t dress for you, and most importantly, I can get naked whenever I want and it’s not for you or for anyone else.
As a matter of fact, I enjoy being naked when I am alone. It’s not because I want someone to catch me completely exposed. It doesn’t mean I want someone to insult me or even, to sexually assault me. It’s because I feel something within myself — a certain power that makes me feel better and makes me say to myself that, “hey, I have this body, it’s not perfect, but I am very proud of it.”
I used to think so much about what my friends would think about me. I used to care so much about what my best friends’ parents would say when they see me barely wearing anything. I knew some parents who stopped talking to me and even blocked me on social media because they couldn’t take me or handle how outspoken I am about almost everything. But now, I don’t really care so much anymore. I have come a long way. I have been through a lot. I was mostly alone my entire life, but my parents raised me well. I have never committed a crime. I am a good person regardless of how I expose myself to the society.
I am aware of the fact that not everyone is open to the idea of freely expressing yourself, your thoughts or your sexuality, but you also need to understand that while there are people like you, who think that when someone looks sexy in public, they want to be sexualised or that “they are asking for ‘it’, there are also those people who will never care about what you and other people think and say. There are people who feel sexy and they are comfortable about it. And you are not allowed to take that right away from them.
If you want to stay conservative or traditional, I am, not judging you. Stay the way you are and let others do what they are comfortable doing without judging them back.
Read Emily’s Essay via this link.
Featured image source.