I continue to learn about humanity, and I am continually appalled at what humans will do when no one is looking, when they think they won’t get caught, or when they get congratulations for their actions from their peers.
I’m not stupid. I know people look at me. I know people can see my boobs. They’re fucking huge. They have their own gravitational pull. There’s a singularity of vision-suck, and it’s located in my sternum between two huge mammary glands. I. Get. It.
Yes, I catch people staring. Yes, people make comments. Yes, people look at photos of me, and some folks even LIKE to look at photos of me instead of poking fun. Yes, I already knew that some people handle their physical persons in a sexual fashion while looking at photos of me, there’s no need to inform me if you have, or that people do. Masturbate away, ye underfucked ginormaboob-lovers everywhere. That doesn’t bother me. I could not give fewer fucks that you think of me during the act of self-pleasure. We all do that thinking of someone, and that someone is often unaware that we find them attractive. This does not bother me.
That said, there is a recurring issue which must be addressed.
My body is not your property. Neither are photos of my body or body parts.
My body is mine. I sublet ownership to one other person, and that’s my husband’s name you’d read on the lease. I have ultimate say, but he has a voice, too.
You, however, have no say. You have no ownership. So when you take my photos, label them with your name in a declaration of possession, and post them elsewhere out of my reach, I get really fucking pissed.
I am mine. I am not yours. No, putting myself out there reviewing clothing does not mean that I have made myself fair game. No, putting photos on the web does not mean they are yours to take. No, seeing myself among hundreds of other girls you’ve done the same to does not make me feel better, it makes me feel worse. No, it is not respectful, and the fact you think it is respectful is repellent. To curate a collection of females and expect them to be pleased about it is an action which is beyond vile.
Do you understand what you do when you do this? Do you understand the nausea, especially for anyone who is a survivor of sexual assault?
Do you understand that it might make a woman rush to eat a bag of cookies to rebuild fat content in the hope that if she were just a bit fatter, no one would look at her any more?
Do you understand that it might make a woman starve herself so that she becomes what she assumes is a more pleasing way to look, because now she feels under scrutiny?
Do you understand that you might make a woman might do both in the same day?
Do you understand that a woman might go through all of your albums in response, and count the women prettier than her so that she can feel less stared at? Obviously, those women would be looked at first! Can you fathom how a woman might be then disgusted with herself for shoving other targets in front of herself?
Do you understand that, if you already have willing participants sending you photos that you have plenty, and taking more without permission is unnecessary?
Do you understand the quandary that woman is put in when she sees someone she knows in that list of photos? To tell the other victim or not to tell? How do you even begin to compose that conversation?
Do you have any comprehension that “Hey, I made a photo album of you, you’re hot!” is only going to make a woman frantic wondering what other albums she doesn’t know about?
Do you know how sick it might make a woman seeing your label across her photo like some kind of brand on a cow?
Do you fathom that this woman might be climbing up a steep slope towards body positive self-image, and you just knocked her back down again?
Did it ever occur to you that it might be more respectful to just link to the goddamn page she’s on with a caption of “Hey, I think this woman is really beautiful!”
Did you ever think of asking first?
Did you ever, and I know this is a mindblowing thought, perhaps think that the woman you’re looking at is so much more than just a set of boobs? And no, I’m not talking about other body parts, either.
I’m talking about things the woman has actually worked on to develop, her accomplishments, her achievements, and her personality. For fuck’s sake, I wonder what it would be like to be ogled for my vocabulary? Or to dance without being thought of as a semen target? For someone to appreciate my singing voice without drooling into my bosom as my lungs contract and expand with extended breath support? For fuck’s sake, I long to be seen as the soul who owns this body and not a body entrapping a soul, both to be exploited. It’s happened a very few times – those are people whom I call friends.
Don’t tell me I should be pleased with the attention. Don’t tell me to stop whining about someone thinking I’m beautiful. If someone whom you felt uncomfortable with did this to you, then you would be upset, too.
For the last fucking time, I am not an object. I am not your object. I am not an item to be possessed. If you don’t like that, that’s too fucking bad. I guarantee that you gave me more grief than you got pleasure, and at least you gave yourself a choice. You didn’t give me one. For that, you are not forgiven.
You could still at least apologize.
Definitely don’t fucking do it again, to me or to anyone else.
EDITED TO ADD:
Wow, this post got popular quickly! Can’t help but feel I’ve struck a chord here. I had another thought about this, which ended up on my FB page:
Depriving me of my voice and identity really is just another insult in addition to the many I’ve already endured.
That’s really where the issue lies. I would like to reiterate that I do not mind my photos being shared, preferably via retweet, reblog, or ‘share’ button, and I need to know where they’re being shared. Someone adding their own watermarks is too much.
Edited to fix typo (argh!)