AN ATTEMPT AT EXPLAINING ONE ASPECT OF BEING FEMALE

Or: How You Can Simultaneously Occupy The Space Of Feeling Undesirable AND Objectified
  1. 1.
    Let's suppose that in general, you're at peace with yourself
    You've spent years cultivating behaviors and practices to ensure something ranging from tolerance to love for your own skin and hair and body and face. This is a reaction to spending years cultivating a fluctuating hatred for your own skin and hair and body and face. You now accept yourself. More or less.
  2. 2.
    You attempt to reconcile all your beauty routines with your evolving ideologies
    You try to distinguish the choices you are making for men vs. the choices you are making because of societal norms vs. the choices you are making as a reaction to media representation vs. the choices you are making for yourself. You wonder if perhaps you are too brainwashed/too deep in to accurately assess your motivations.
  3. 3.
    You have serious internal debates about your sexual choices and your personality and your look
    What is going to make life easiest? vs. what is going to make life most enjoyable?
  4. 4.
    You are constantly redefining yourself, trying to adjust to feedback you've received about your appearance and behavior
    Each new critique seems to contradicts the last. "You are too aggressive." "You are not aggressive enough." It will take years to realize that most of the advice you've been given has come from the lips of people who have deeply hurt you. However, sometimes, they're right. You will attempt to sort out what information is actually valid and useful.
  5. 5.
    You may stand next to a beautiful woman and feel how quickly you cease to exist to the world
    People will trail off mid-sentence. People will stop making eye contact with you. People will only be hypnotized by her. But you will know that this woman is probably struggling with the exact same shit as you.
  6. 6.
    It may sometimes feel like you are chasing something that is always out of reach
    You may feel undesirable. You may feel guilty for wanting to be desirable.
  7. 7.
    But all of this time and energy and soul-searching will be worth it, because you will begin to feel confident and true to yourself
    You will feel this independent of your appearance and "desirability"
  8. 8.
    MEANWHILE, the entire time you are on this journey of empowerment and acceptance...
    A journey which takes years and years
  9. 9.
    You are going to be harassed by men
    By men you know and by men you don't. Perhaps you've had a man walk past you on the street and slip his hand under your skirt. Perhaps you've walked by a group of men who loudly discuss "getting your pussy wet." Perhaps you've walked into a bar and had a man immediately criticize your outfit. Or call you a slut.
  10. 10.
    And you may feel outraged and frightened and weak and embarrassed
    And you know there are acts against women that are so fucked up that a strange man calling you a cunt seems like nothing in comparison. In a bizarre way, you start to feel grateful that you were ONLY sexually harassed.
  11. 11.
    So you take in this dichotomy and try to comprehend it
    And talk to others about it. And breathe through it.