Pinup For A Day - How I Found Empowerment in Having My Body Appreciated
The work I do in feminism is working against street harassment, or harassment in public places. Street harassment is something that women face everyday simply by existing in public spaces and it is often seen as ‘normal’ or ‘the price we pay’ for appearing female. Pardon me, mister at the bus stop? Did I ask you whether my tits were appealing to you or whether this walk was really working for you? Sir in the department store, did I ask you if I was looking like a ‘sexy baby’ today?
Feeling beautiful is not frequently a concern of mine - I do quite often feel sexy as hell. The thing that actually makes me feel threatened, unsafe, objectified, and thus very very unsexy is harassment. One such time that really made this distinction clear for me was the opportunity to model for The Foxy Shoppe at the Taboo Naughty But Nice Show. My weight fluctuates a whole bunch due to my hormonal disorder and what my doctor is suspecting may be a thyroid problem- no matter how confident I am, strutting around in lingerie was not exactly at the top of my list. My body changes from day to day and doesn’t give me much time to catch up on what it’s been doing throughout the night. I don’t necessarily feel unattractive when I am at a heavier weight - just different. It’s hard to get used to the way clothes fit when there is roundness in places it wasn’t before, when there are new curves and dimples.
But I was given an opportunity to try on things frilly, lacy, sparkly, and sexy that enhanced every inch of me in a place I refer to as ‘girly heaven’ and have my hair and makeup done for free. How could I let a couple of inches of fat hold be back? Holy hell, am I glad I partook in the femme fatale festivities. Not only was I made to look and feel drop dead gorgeous(modesty has never been one of my strong suits), but being around women who were gorgeous and knew it was intoxicating. I dare you to have been in that room and not felt like any lady-admiring individual would not fall at your feet or attempt to make the world stop spinning in your name.
The most powerful part of the day for me was reclaiming being seen as a sexy woman and doing it on my terms. By presenting myself to a really body-positive audience and saying ‘LOOK AT ME IN ALL MY SPLENDOR AND GLORY IN THIS SUPER HOT SKIRT AND TOP THAT GIVES ME CLEAVAGE DEEPER THAN THE MARIANA TRENCH’ I was choosing to allow eyes to take me in and view me as a thing of beauty. As the women so beautiful and strong and confident hollered from behind the curtain and the audience applauded and cheered, it felt like the exact opposite of harassment. This is what being complimented for your looks should feel like - empowering and inspiring, not dirty and gross. Nuance and context are everything - and the sidewalk is not a runway.