It was recently brought to my attention that posting the pictures that I do on here might make me look less than professional and that if my identity were to be revealed, that I might lose support for my nonprofit.
For all of about ten minutes the “unprofessional” comment stewed about in my brain while I tried to determine exactly how I felt about it.
You see, they had a point. I can definitely imagine that if the media were to flash a scantily clad photo of me across the 6:00 news, paired with one of my blog title’s such as “should I bang both of them,” that it might catch people off guard and cause some controversy. I can absolutely see how it might cause someone to reel back a little bit and think “I’m supporting her nonprofit?” I can see how this might not look too great for me.
I thought about it for the entire ten minutes and I decided that I hated it.
I hate the fact that once again I’m being reminded that the entirety of the person that I am could be judged based on how I present my sexuality. That all that I am, all the work that I do, could be washed away completely and the only thing left of me in the public eye might literally be myself and my underwear.
The more that I thought about it, the angrier that I got. Not at the person that brought it to my attention, but that he had a valid point; society might very well judge me based on the pictures that I choose to post of my body. Do you know the message that sends to our women? That our body is our most important feature; that all that we are can be defined by what we do with our body. If that’s true, then that really makes me sad because my body has already been beaten, abused, and treated like trash multiple times over, so I guess my most important aspect is tarnished.
I am so confident that I am more than my sexuality and the way that I present it, that I refuse to hide that part of myself.
It took our country a long time to catch up to the idea that wonderful gay/lesbian people everywhere were more than just their sex lives, that they were worthwhile people who deserved to be treated equally in the eyes of the law. Twenty years ago a gay man might have been fired from his job for being gay and now he can proudly march down the street in a socially accepted televised parade and happily return to his job on Monday morning, all the while knowing that even if he did cross a disapproving citizen, that the law is in his corner stating that he will not be discriminated against because he has been deemed to be more than just his sexuality.
Yet our women? Our sexuality still labels us. “Models are brainless, strippers are classless, and she got raped because of her outfit.” It’s disgusting when you think about it.
I’m a grown woman, I’m not married, I’m not sneaking around and sleeping with a married man, I’m not sleeping with anyone to be honest, and yet all that I am might be whittled down to my body and what I choose to do with it. The fact that all the work that I do to empower women could be torn down because I choose to be an empowered woman myself, saddens me.
This blog is where I go to bare every aspect of me. My soul is infinitely more important to me than my body is and if I’m going to let all of you come here day after day and glimpse my soul, I certainly don’t mind letting you all glimpse a little bit of my body as well, which is the least important part of who I am. The fact that the media would look upon me proudly for overcoming what I have, but shame me for who I became, is frustrating.
As I’ve said before, I refuse to let society label me by how I choose to express my sexuality or display my body. I am sexual, but that is just a part of me, not all of me, and it is certainly not who I am when it comes to my work ethic.
If I’m going to be judged based on my "lack" of professionalism, judge me on the fact that I once got stuck in a yogurt cooler or the fact that I can routinely be found riding the shopping carts at the grocery store. Judge me on the fact that I’m not always prepared or that I sometimes misunderstand the dress code, but don’t judge me based on how much of my skin I let society see.
I could just button my shirt right back up, enter a monogamous relationship, and pretend to be the all American professional woman, but I’m not and I refuse to be. I’ve hidden away parts of who I am for my entire life. I hid away my secrets growing up and I spent years saying what my husband wanted me to say while pretending to be someone I wasn’t to my friends. I’m done hiding away parts of myself. I’m done pretending to be anything other than who I am.
You want to judge me on that? Go ahead. I would just love the chance to be on the news talking about a subject that I feel very strongly about. If people hadn’t spoken up in the past we wouldn’t have gay marriage, we wouldn’t have racial equality, women still wouldn't be allowed to vote, and we would be hundreds of years behind on human rights. I am more than my sexuality. I am a woman, an entire person with many different attributes, one that just so happens to be my sexuality, but one that does not define how I do my job. I refuse to let society narrow down who I am to a single attribute of my existence.
If I crack a stupid joke, does that make me stupid? If I write a brilliant thesis paper, does that mean that I am strictly intelligent and must completely lack social skills? If I choose to post a racy picture, does that mean I am nothing more than a worthless body? Why can’t I be sexy, flirty, and at the same time responsible, hardworking, and most of all, respected?
I run a nonprofit that is aimed at empowering woman to be able to live freely and be their best selves. A nonprofit that helps women leave the grasp of others control and be who they want to be. Who gets to determine who that woman's best self is? I assure you, their abusive husbands have probably already told them who they were and I can guarantee you that I am not about to let society tell them who they should be next.
I would say a majority of the emails that I get center around women who are trying to grasp their own sexuality. Women who have been judged, abused, or are just a little lost, all looking for direction. “Will anyone take me seriously since I’ve slept with so many people? Will my boyfriend still love me if I don’t sleep with him? What will people think of me if they knew what I did? What will people think if they knew what was done to me?” I tell them all the same thing; “you are so much more than that! It is such a small part of the person that you are and to top it off, what you do sexually has nothing to do with how you treat and interact with them.”
So again, after mulling it over, I’ve decided that yes, I am every bit as qualified for my nonprofit as a nun were to be. Each person, regardless of any aspect of their sexuality, is so much more than just that. Don’t discount the entirety of a person because of the one part you don’t understand. If I’m going to give advice, I should believe it, and since I do believe it, I’m not only going to accept my own advice, but I'm going to stand by it as well.
If the media were to ever connect this blog to my nonprofit and someone has a problem with the way that I display myself, I would like to make an official statement:
“I defend my position on how I choose to live and display myself. It is outrageous to me that the sexual activities of a responsible adult are still being used as the method of determination for the worth of a person and what they are able to contribute to society. I am confident that American society is capable of seeing that someone is more than just their sexuality. I look forward to the day when women are not only able to embrace, but also be accepted for who they are and how they choose to live without the fear of being judged for it.”
Stars, like people, are imperfect, yet each one continues to shine in their own unique way. The sky would be a lot dimmer if we only allowed some of the stars to shine.