Archives For Freedom

My Short Dress

October 6, 2016 — 101 Comments

my-short-dress-2

 

My short dress is not an invitation. It’s not a political statement. it’s not feminist; it’s not slutty.

I’m not even sure it’s fashionable.

My short dress is one of the only dresses I own. I’m not a ‘dresses’ kind of girl. I prefer jeans and rock tees and clothes that align my outside with my inside. My clothes are wearable art.

My short dress is perfectly comfy. It’s made of the softest fabric ever. It’s loose and flowy and billows out in a way that allows me to eat and drink whatever I want and never feel constricted. My short dress feels like FREEDOM.

My short dress is black, like most of my clothing. It’s not body conscious enough to be considered sexy nor frou frou enough to be considered a sundress. It’s kind of rock and roll and kind of funky and hard to categorize. Like me.

My short dress has a black lace trim all around the bottom. I love wearing it with combat boots; the juxtaposition of the lacy hem with rugged boots. Feminine and tough, all at the same time. Rarely do I get to be both simultaneously.

My short dress shows off my legs. They’re almost always covered up in jeans. So it’s an occasion when I show them in a dress – “THERE they are!”

 

My short dress does not say “come fuck me.” The clothes I wear in public do not communicate a desire for sex. Or a reason for you to expect it from me. It doesn’t mean I am “asking for it.” My short dress is not the reason why women get raped.

While we’re on the subject, women don’t get raped because of clothing. Or lack of it. Or flirtatious behavior. Or alcohol.

Women GET RAPED BECAUSE OF RAPISTS.

 

 

My short dress is not meant to stir uncontrollable lust in a man, creating in him an overpowering urge to yank it up and slam me against a wall. To suggest that is demeaning to men.

It’s also a flaw-ridden concept. How can we possess this inescapable power over men, wielded primarily through our bodies, and yet find ourselves subjugated through most of history?

 

My short dress was not worn to flaunt my body in a sexual way. I have moved beyond the desire to show you my tits and ass.

It’s easy to show you my tits and ass. I want to show you my intelligence, my wit, my courage, my compassion, my vulnerability. I am worth infinitely more than the sum of my body parts.

My short dress is not worn in the hopes that you will find me desirable. I won’t self-objectify, simply because the media has lied to me about what TRUE beauty is. I will not spend my days fixating on how sexually attractive I am. This leaves me with far less mental and physical energy to pursue what really brings me happiness.

My short dress is not an easier way to reach my pussy, although you said that while you pawed at me. You groped at my crotch through my tights and told me that was why I REALLY wore that dress, wasn’t it?

 

My short dress was not a reason for you to slut-shame me on Facebook, although you most certainly did.

slut-shaming

 

My short dress is not a means to an end, but an end in itself. It’s a choice I make.

My short dress is not attention seeking. My short dress is about comfort, visual appeal, mobility, my emotional state, the fabric, the cut. It’s an homage to my icons and an expression of whatever I was feeling when I reached into my closet.

My short dress does NOT say, “I’ll wear what I want, whenever I want, where I want.” That’s as extreme a viewpoint as “she was dressed provocatively, and that’s why she was attacked.” Both ends of the spectrum oversimplify a complicated issue.

My short dress was not meant to weigh in on that issue. It’s just a dress I feel good in.

 

My short dress does show my body, but it should not lead to judgement, pain or dehumanization.

It shows the line of my calves and the strength of my shoulders and the soft skin of my chest, but don’t overcomplicate my motives.

My short dress is a simple celebration; a reminder that I was blessed with one life, and in that life, a perfectly functioning body.

My short dress is not for YOU. It is for ME.

 

Have you ever been shamed because of what you were wearing?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

Come hang out with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so I can have friends without leaving the house. 

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tits for free

 

Angry smoke is billowing up, as all over the world, people are burning Arianna Huffington in effigy.

PAY US WHAT WE’RE WORTH!

WE WON’T WRITE FOR FREE! 

It’s easy to get caught up in the rhetoric of a demagogue who denounces the Huffington Post for not paying their writers.

Wil Wheaton waged war against HuffPost in this article. It was a shot heard round the world. The online writing community went WILD, tweeting in copious agreement.

I have mixed feeling about this issue, but here is a reality check: As of 2016, Wil Wheaton’s net worth floats somewhere around $2.5 million, depending on which source you check. Not all of us have Star Trek residuals rolling in. If he wrote about ass fucking his grandmother in Macy’s window, he’d still be set for the rest of his life.

 

This is just another issue for us to tear each other apart over, instead of uniting over the pervasive damage being done to women, right this moment. By women who post pictures of their naked bodies on their blogs, their Facebook pages, Instagram accounts – all their social media.

 

I understand that women who display themselves naked on their blogs are doing it to demonstrate their freedom. They feel they are making a strong statement of choice and power. They admit they crave the validation; that it’s a turn on, or that they do it simply because they can.

They point out that nudity is accepted in most other industrialized countries and challenge the stifling conformity of American prudishness.

America is flawed as fuck, but a whole LOT of European countries are based on eroding, unsustainable models. Europe is teeming with calcified labor laws, a negative birth rate,  inflated government spending, expensive costs to businesses, and overly restrictive governments.

In the Netherlands, for example, wiretaps are 130 times more common than in the U.S.

So perhaps you should move to Germany or Spain, and romp around au naturel. Have fun dealing with archaic abortion laws that reflect stifling Christian values on reproduction. I’ll stay in the US, and deal with our anti-nudity laws.

 

Is showing your tits really “freedom”?

I know that story. I WROTE that story.

I worked at a Wall Street strip club in the 90’s, because I felt it was my right to display my body in whatever way I deemed appropriate. The money was flowing in an economy on steroids, and I loved earning $500 a day in cash, working 3 days a week. It left me plenty of time to get into trouble squandering all that money.

Today, if I had a daughter who wanted to climb the pole for a living, I’d chain her to the couch. It wasn’t “empowering.” Strip clubs create an environment where men can openly objectify women. They reinforce the notion that women are more highly valued for their outward appearance than for their intelligence or creativity. And I fueled that system, something I deeply regret.

 

To the bloggers who show their tits:

I understand that for you to love yourself, you need approval from men. All women have been taught that from the time we are little girls.

When you isolate and objectify your breasts, you are confirming the pervasive notion that the most important thing about us is how our tits look. Personally, I would much rather see a painting you painted, read your poetry, listen to you play a song on an instrument, read an essay you wrote about a timely issue, pretty much anything that tells me about who you are inside. Your body is superficial and irrelevant. Give me your mind.

The validation you crave from exposing yourself this way is in no way connected to any kind of “freedom.” It comes from a place deep inside you, a place thoroughly indoctrinated, since you were a little girl, into believing that our naked tits have more intrinsic value than anything else about us. You are not free.

You are simply brainwashed.

 

I think the naked female body is one of the most beautiful images in the world. I’ve even played around with that a little, on my own Instagram account, and have photos of my lower body posing in superhero underwear. That was intended to be a playful statement on how the nerdy girl has grown up, and isn’t so nerdy anymore.

I also don’t show any more of my self than I would show in a bathing suit – actually, I’m more covered up in my geek girl underpants.

But I don’t want people to confuse my writing with my appearance. I write anonymously, but that isn’t why I rarely show pictures of myself on this blog. I can certainly show pictures that hide my face. However, I’m not interested in gaining readers because of how I look, or don’t look.

 

The issue over getting compensated to write is so divisive, it may break apart communities that were created to nurture and support each other. I’m not ready to contribute to that by casting a vote in either direction.

 

In the meantime, why not think about a bigger picture? Let’s not fight about who gets paid, and how those who choose to write for free are scabs on the professional writer’s landscape.

Before we bludgeon each other to death over that first world debate, can we at least ponder the global disempowerment of women? Even in 2016, women remain more likely than men to be poor, malnourished and illiterate. We are marginalized socially and economically.

Let’s put aside our differences about paid writing, and embrace a conversation about how women have been subjugated, and the way in which that connects to domestic violence, female mutilation, higher illiteracy rates, forced child marriages, lower wages, and so many of the areas crucial to a gratifying existence.

Systematic disempowerment of women doesn’t affect only writers. It affects every single woman on the planet, and therefore every human being on the planet.

Today, I’m going to put aside my feelings about paid writing, and instead, focus on what I can to do raise awareness of an issue that has the potential to change lives all over the world.

I just hit “Publish.” Your turn.

 

Am I asking the right questions? 
Talk to me. I’m listening.

When Cowbells Were Sexy

August 20, 2015 — 72 Comments

 

Once upon a time, there was a young girl who left home at 16. She claimed it was to attend school, but she chose the school based solely on how far away she could get.

She put hundreds of miles between her and where she never wanted to be again, and still they weren’t enough. She wanted to rid herself of that oppressive atmosphere, the pain and violence, the loneliness and sadness.

She carried with her the burden of her virginity, a gift she had been unable to give away.

It no longer felt like a gift; it was a yoke around her neck, binding her to what she knew would soon be the old version of herself. It suffocated her, like a coat of armor that made it impossible for her to dance gracefully through the world.

She had tried to unbind herself of this before, and others had tried with her, but none were succesful. She waited like a princess in a tower but no princes could manage to rescue her.

She was too young and small and strange and smart, and much, much too eager. And they joined her in this eagerness, falling upon her delicate frame, fumbling with clumsy hands.

While she stayed tethered. Turning every prince back into a frog.

And there were always brothers around, violent and shrewd. There were so many of them one was always somewhere she was. Guarding her.

They tried to tell her she couldn’t go away; they insisted she stay home to go to school, but she laughed in their faces. Their home had always been total anarchy and she left to her own devices. They would not tell her what to do now.

She left, and never returned.

 

It was a magical town at a magical time and she turned 17 there. It was a beautiful place with fields and waterfalls and lakes and woods and there she reinvented herself. Here she turned herself from a strange and skinny ugly duckling to a beautiful swan.

But still, there was the matter of her innocence. It was a shackle that dug into the tenderest parts of her soul.

Here, she waited. Because here there was magic.

Here, the weather got warm and she walked around the tiny town in her bare feet, putting out her thumb to get a ride from cars passing by. Driven by strangers who were always just friends she hadn’t yet met.

And in this clean air, she could finally. Breathe.

There was a boy who liked her. He wrote songs for her, which he played for her on guitar while they sat on a blanket by the waterfall and had picnics.

One day he filled her room with hundreds of wild flowers he picked in the woods. “White for purity,” he said, and she laughed and pressed them to her nose.

But this boy would not be The One.

 

 

And one early summer evening she stood on a porch and saw a man who saw her, seeing him.

And she knew he would be The One.

He was 21 and had one year left to her three. He was tall and strong and his eyes were green; the color of the moss next to the waterfall where that other boy had declared his love for her.

They stood on the crowded porch and the laughter of partygoers swirled all around them. But now there was no long any need to be there; in each other, they saw the reason they were both there. They left together as if it had already been decided.

Which it had.

 

And that night the walls of his room shimmered in different shades of gold. On the next night and every night thereafter they were just brown, but that first night she remembered them as gold.

And later she would remember his smile and his moss-green eyes and his strong gentle hands. And his patience.

 

There was wine and music and candles and the walls glowed in prisms of gold.

 

♪♫  Whatever colors you have in your mind,
       I’ll show them to you and you’ll see them shine ♪♫

 

Their rhythms were not in sync and her heart was beating too fast. So he moved very slowly.

And in the morning, as the sun rose over a pastoral country dawn, her face smeared with fatigue and want and need; finally, finally this man took from this girl what she had wanted so badly to give.

Finally, finally.

And she lay next to him, grateful and glad. And brought his hands to her mouth and kissed them.

She looked out the window and saw all the colors of the world opening to her at once.

There was nothing left of who she had been.

Finally, finally.

And she was Free.

 

 

The End

 

(But really, the Beginning)

 

 

Did you ever realize the clip-clopping sound in the beginning of “Lay Lady Lay” was cowbells? What songs remind you of the most incredible moments of your life?
Talk to me. I’m listening.