I am not your property. Photos of me are not either.

I am not your property. Photos of me are not either.

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!)

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Hair

Well, one can’t discuss bodacious proportions and not include hair in the discussion.

Wait, not sure that came out right. Well, whatever.

As I was saying, hair. Most of my life has been hair fail, but I had no one to teach me how to do hair. I made it up as I went. I copied the styles in Seventeen magazine and got made fun of for doing so. I copied the popular girls’ hair and got made fun of for doing so. My mom took charge of my locks for a bit and forced me into a hateful cut and I got made fun of for her doing so (I’ve never forgiven her). I won’t talk about my hair during my New Kids on the Block phase (trust me, you’re better off not knowing), but I assure you that I got made fun of for it. I was never able to match my cousin’s hair panache, and never got that teasing and spraying just right. Then again, she has always been epic-level cooler-than-moi, so I wasn’t surprised. She also had an infinitely more awesome collection of metal tees to accessorize, so there you are.

When all my nasty layers in high school got long enough, I chopped everything to the same length, and started junior year with a bob. I didn’t get made fun of for it, but I loathed it. (I had already started growing it out when this photo was taken.)

It was long again for senior photos, and I swore I’d never destroy my hair again! No more bangs! (that’s fringe, for you UK folk – you can see some baby hair-ness though) No more layers! No more anything!

Which is why I promptly dyed it black, killed the length, and cut horribly short bangs in college. Goth, you see.

The post-collegiate grow-out put me off dye, I can tell you. I don’t want that immortalized, so here, have a photo of a blood-sucking belly dancer. (Best use of bad hair EVER. As long as one looks past the poorly styled costume. Look! Gothic French manicure!)

Or, perhaps me in a braless top, back when I still could do such chicanery. (Note, this was zip-front closure, and had an open back with five tendrils dropping from neck to back band. I can only dream of that now!)

But yeah, I left my hair well alone after this. Well, sort of. I learned to get my woolly mammoth eyebrows tended to. Thank goodness.

Then, I started to get told that I should do something with my hair. Like my ex who was with me during the grow-out: “All women do stuff with their hair, all women get dye jobs. You should do something with your hair!” I thought this was daft of him, since he’d seen the effects of the last dye job, but he took an hour and a half to get his hair done before we left the house (including strategic shaping in a towel), so maybe I was just making him feel prissy with my three-style stable (ponytail, bun, or down. No tricks). He wasn’t the only one saying this, though. But I never did do anything. A bout of henna dye does not count. Neither do the three trims I had in nine years.

I simply felt paralyzed when it came time for styling. I would try something new and get shot down for it. I never could get a curl to hold. I never could use hairspray without ending up with a helmet. I don’t have the fabulous curls that my husband does, where you can just run gel through them, tousle, then run out the door (not that he ever does such things). I have to actually make hair choices.

Ick.

The past five years or so, I’ve been adding a twist here, a braid there, and I’m getting somewhere. I actually get non-ironic hair-centric compliments (even creative ones!) from coworkers. Male coworkers. You know, the ones who aren’t supposed to notice such detail? I even tried to go red, but the stylist refused. He said that he had women who paid him hundreds of dollars to get my hair color, so he wasn’t about to destroy natural beauty. (I’m still astounded that a hairdresser in Los Angeles of all places said this to me!) But I still have so much growing to do. I thought I’d share some of that growth and some of my experiences.

Like this from a few weeks ago:

It was a flyaway mess, and it was still hot out, so I kept nudging the main curl out of the way to wipe my brow. Curls don’t like to be nudged repeatedly. I know this via science.

Here was Halloween 2012 work night hair:

Not too bad, eh? The after shot was better, but you’ll see that eventually.

I am, however, delighted that the hair I had for my cousin’s wedding is nowhere to be found in the Facebook photos, so maybe that one died sans memoriam. One can only hope.

One day, I’ll learn…

I’ll learn not to go bra shopping when I’m about to start menstruating. Eventually. Hell, maybe I’ll learn not to clothes shop in that time frame, either. I’m just so much more sensitive about my figure than usual. I didn’t even snap shots of the two bras I tried because I felt so awful.

For the record, I went to Nordstrom in Atlanta on the strength of this post by Obsessed with Breasts, just to have a look at the Freya Piper in person. It’s gorgeous, and I am so upset that it doesn’t come in my size (when I’m not swollen/bloated/plumped via menses). It’s possible that I could have worn the 38G before I started lactating, had I paid for alterations down to a 34 band. I’m praying that I go back down to my pre-pregnancy breast size when this breast milk gig is done. I’ve been excited to find longlines coming available in so many of the brands which run realistic sizes; now if they’d cease with making them only just a bit too small. One more cup size, Freya! That’s all I ask! (and in the Deco, too!)

I tried this particular Elomi bra – the Caitlin. I think I’ve tried this one several times in several colors, and I am always disappointed. This Nordstrom doesn’t seem to carry too much variety in the way of the prettier, color Elomi bras, but they get this style every season. That’s great, but it’s a shame that I can’t wear it. The smooth satiny section that runs alongside the cup and up the strap creates a boob overflow reservoir, and it’s not lovely to behold. It makes my bust bulge oddly on the side. I thought that it was a too-wide underwire issue, but when studying the design, I’m getting a better sense of the real problem. Women with firmer breasts than mine wouldn’t likely have this trouble. Looking at photos of other styles by Elomi, I think other bras by the brand could work – I may have given up too easily. Will report back on that, eventually. Have to find some to try on first.

So, this makes my current record for this Nordstrom as six visits and one thing purchased across all of them. That one thing was a too-small in the cup, too big in the band Deco. On sale. In beige. Not a great streak, in other words. This is in great contrast to the Nordstrom that I first went to in Woodland Hills, CA, where I once dropped $500 on bras in one go. That one had an actual selection of Freya and Fantasie bras, as opposed to one Fantasie and three Freya (one on the clearance rack). This is my closest Nordstrom, and I have to drive 170 miles to get here.

The Intimacy in the same mall is where I got my first matching set and several subsequent ones, but their on-hand stock has declined dramatically, and I barely even go in any more. That store has changed for the worse in the past eight years in terms of selection. The store I got my first properly sized bra is closed, but since they only carried the horrific-looking Goddess bras, I wouldn’t have gone there anyway.

Looks like it’s back to the web and considering surgery again. I hate this part; I just loathe myself for hours.

Which is why I need to stop shopping for bras when I’m pre-menstrual. Or else find a place with actual stock in my size. The first thing is much easier to accomplish.

Musings of a Petunia

I used to be much more in hate with my body. I mean, I’m ambivalent about it a lot, but in general, I’m much more accepting and proud of it than I used to be. In some ways, I think it has to do with my husband, who likes what I have and how I look. He is encouraging and I don’t mind being a bit objectified sexually by him – he does it in such a complimentary fashion! This is not to say that I need a man to make me feel better about myself, but he’s undoing a lot of damage done to my psyche over the years by idiot males.

Contrast this with my ex, who was a piece of work on his best days, and downright cruel on his worst ones. He once called me Petunia Pig. Quite possibly insulting said in passing, but certainly insulting the way he said it. He meant that I was fat all over. I can’t believe I married him, and I’m sure some of his more sparkly gems will come out over the course of this blog. Nope, this isn’t the worst thing he ever said to me. Not by a long shot.

It’s taken years, but I finally figured out that Petunia Pig was always pretty awesome. She’s a shapely gal with a steady man, rocks the pigtails, is super plucky and spunky, and I distinctly remember her being kinda sly and naughty – she’s fun in a way you aren’t supposed to think cartoon characters are. She’s not shaped differently from Minnie Mouse, who was the queen of clunky heels that Petunia didn’t need to wear. Daisy Duck had the booty going for her, but she always sort of struck me as high maintenance. In no way do I look like any of them physically, because kids’ cartoons don’t have Giant Racks of Doom ™ like I do. Miss Piggy barely even has boob curve, and to see it, they have to put her in those plunge numbers that I could never wear until my great invention of Anti-Gravity Nipple Clamps ™ comes to fruition. I look much more like a shortened, compressed Jessica Rabbit. I’m unfortunately missing the legs for miles part of that equation, but we can’t all have the exact genetics we want. I’ll deal.

The one thing I learned from the interaction with my ex: We can’t please everyone due to their interpretations of our shape and size. We shouldn’t even bother. Those out there who prefer the Hollywood skinny look are what they are. They like what they like, regardless of whether or not they’ve been brainwashed by society and the media. We should go forth and find our match in those who like us for who, what, and how we are, not how they wish us to be. This is why my second marriage is going so much better than my first.

On my first date with Gabriel, after some 4.5 hours of lively conversation, the topic of what we liked in terms of physical features came up. He has a big nose, and I like big noses. Really, really, really like! I told him so. He said “I like what you have.” I pressed him for details, since I was coming out of a marriage where I was not appreciated, so he elaborated. He managed not to blush, though he grinned a bit self-consciously when he said “Boobs and ass.” Well, I definitely have that!

If I am a Petunia in someone’s mind, so be it. In my mind, I’m busy being a Jessica, and having a commensurate amount of fun!