I drenched my hair in the shower. The water stung my Christmas weather body, and the miniscule lingerie I slipped into, only added to the hairs on my skin shivering up. I was in the process of taking ‘sexy’ images for my ex-boyfriend. The one who flew home when his degree was over, and who pounced in provocative text messages. I objectified myself; I objectified my mental pain.
The feminists fight
Women can’t post their figures without a negative reason. It’s attention seeking, or a cry for exposure to either cover insecurity or help aid it. These nonchalant excuses are similar to what a school would use on a quiet child – they are polite, friendly, but show a lack of confidence. Maybe they are just quiet and dislike a percentage of their classmates?
Maybe the women who exhibition their bodies, are deeper and more profound than stereotypes assume. Feminists tick-away time calculating whether it’s empowering or degrading – why is the why as simple as toast and butter?
Why do we have to assume skin-flaunting woman are on the pursuit for Kardashian likes? And if they are, why does their reason as to why they want the appraise, have to be one which attacks them?
Self-validation through my body
Picture an insecure, needy 21-year old, having to let go of the guy she adored. I couldn’t believe the first guy I said I love you to, had to hop on a plane and travel to his home country, and live. The idea of long-distance propelled me, despite that we never lived together, never had a lengthy relationship and were neither rich enough to waste income flying to the same two locations repeatedly.
He messaged me when on his air-craft to leave. I remember tears flooding, because I secretly knew we wouldn’t see each other again. One day he was gone, until his mind reappeared through my phone.
Months dragged by and our phone communication slipped. It was obvious he was moving on, while I became blinded by daggers and sharp knives pricking my heart. And then, my desperate plea began. If I can show my body, I can keep him interested.
The tragedy of sex symbols
Anna Nicole’s Lifetime movie came on TV. You almost forget, this woman who became a parody; a celebrity reality star caught in a billionaire divorce proceeding, was once considered a fantasy model. Every Guess campaign blew the minds of both sexes. She was beautiful, but early 90’s interviews reveal she hid numerous mental pain. Her background was drenched in sorrow, and her sex-appeal acted as a blanket shield.
Since the first ‘it girl’ Clara Bow, sex symbols have witnessed a prominent rise and fall from grace. Eating disorders, depression, anxiety and drug-abuse typically follow. Their pasts are hazy in childhood acceptability; things happened, happiness didn’t blossom in their youth.
While sex-symbols seem non-existent today – unless you classify Kim K as one, the act of baring skin to receive something – money, fame, devotion or approval, is long reining in society. Through looking at the Golden Era of film, it’s easy to calculate the desperation for love and belonging, in the photographs created for men.
My mental pain
They were tasteful. A couple of buttons undone on a shirt, my thong on camera, my state of undress captured. Before long, I found myself going further, pushing boundaries and playing the role of seductive temptress. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a thrill, a wicked excitement in my ex noticing me. My lustful poison cast and spell bounded our beings. I ate Snow White’s apple and slept through my cries.
I didn’t know how to say I felt lonely. How do I write my insides are burning me? My confidence drowned; I built a spiral staircase to spiteful steps. Besides believing I wasn’t loveable, I imagined myself as the same girl on the playground with nobody to like her. I forever assumed I’m the problem. A man cuts communication because I’m not worthy.
My neediness and self-insecurity, has continued to other relationships. To hide my low self-worth, I play a sexy game. Let’s showcase my body, let’s talk dirty. Why not pretend I’m craving this person constantly? They immediately take notice, and in the sense when they do that, it confirms to my mental pain, I myself am not noticed. It’s a short-term solution to long-term issues.
Who can we really blame?
BBC published an article asking whether it’s time we all unfollow Kim Kardashian. Its argument – she is creating low self-esteem and ruining good ideals for young women. Her skin-baring, contour-wearing and glamour-glaring self represents a bad role model.
However, if Kim didn’t receive all the notoriety and appraise, would she still go on to post the same? Surly we have to ask, who are the people encouraging her behaviour? Is there anything wrong with her living her life – who is anyone to dictate the correct way to post pictures?
Sex-sells whichever the medium. This article is not intended to suggest females taking intimate images are broken inside, or that they need a reason behind their photos. Hopefully, in the conversation between empowerment and insecurity, there’s another discussion.
There is a movement which stops putting these women together. Instead of going by stereotypes and assuming the likes of Megan on Love Island and influencers on Instagram in underwear are the same, we take them as individuals and stop grouping ‘sexy’ women as symbols or things.
How do you feel about the idea of sex-appeal used to cover up mental pain? Have you ever taken photos before which you now regret?