Tag Archives: sexy

Toxic female – asking for it

I’m exploring the things that women do to other women that hold us all back and keep us down. Today I want to talk about body shaming, slut shaming and how we give each other toxic ideas about consent.

Women can be very quick to blame other women for sexual abuse and harassment. Choices of clothes, makeup, shoes and how a woman presents are long standing targets. There’s a long history on calling a women ‘no better than she should be’ – being a roundabout way to slut shame another woman. It has been women, historically, who have particularly alienated from their social circles the ‘fallen’ women, where men with mistresses and illegitimate children never faced the same consequences.

Clothing, hair, shoes and makeup are never a person’s consent. No one gives sexual consent to a total stranger or a passing acquaintance, or even a friend or a boyfriend by wearing clothes. Or not wearing clothes. No one is asking for it. And yet, I saw only last week a whole bunch of women on facebook agreeing that a topless woman was just asking to be groped by a stranger and that it was her fault for not covering up.

When we make male behaviour about female clothes choices, what we tell each other is that men can’t control themselves. It’s a pretty shitty attitude to men. We teach our daughters to cover up, look demure and not act sexy so as to avoid rape and other assaults, when we do not tell our sons not to assault women. If a woman is sexy, we blame her for any negative consequences that can be associated with that. I think this is because there can be a tendency to give jealousy a lot of room in these situations. So often it seems to be women who do not suit the conventional male gaze shaming and blaming women who do. But that keeps it all about the male gaze, and doesn’t get us talking about healthier and broader takes on beauty and not making invisible women who are not young and curvy.

We tell stories about women who we think have slept their way to career advances. We haven’t told stories about male abuses of power, but about women using their sexuality to get results. Those stories need to change, and I think they are changing.

We tell stories that suggest we don’t have the right to own our own bodies.

The thing about covering up is, remember what happened with the Victorians. Swathe a woman in fabric, and suddenly a flash of ankle becomes the erotic focus of the male gaze, and the woman who shows too much ankle is just asking for it and is no better than she should be. The problem is not what we wear – no matter what we wear. The problem is that the female body is sexualised, and treated as an object. So long as we keep telling each other that women who get attacked were asking for it, we let this sort of thing continue unchallenged.


The Politics of Pants

Go into a regular supermarket and eye up underwear for women, and you will find that pants tend to start at a size small enough to not cover your pubes, and get smaller from there down to buttock-floss with triangle. Cotton pants can be bought, but a great many knickers are made to be lacy, and thus are made from a high percentage of synthetics. This kind of fabric will keep you cold in the winter (inviting piles) and make you sweat in the summer, (encouraging thrush). Women’s pants are designed to be looked at, comfort is secondary.

Now shuffle yourself round to the man pants isle, where you’ll not find anything synthetic or lacy. You’ll find sizes that start at a close fit and expand through to shorts. Pants to keep you warm in winter and pants to keep you cool in summer. Pants to either let your tackle swing free, or to hold it neatly in place depending on your needs. Pants you can pee from without having to take half your clothes off. Man pants are made for use, not for decoration.

Of course women’s pants have to be small otherwise the edges might be visible under our closely fitting clothes, and that would never do!

For a whole array of reasons, I’ve been wearing man pants for a couple of weeks now and it’s been a revelation. They don’t chafe my inner thighs. They’re so much better for temperature management. I have discovered that I feel more confident, more sexy and more powerful wearing them. I can saunter about in just my pants, and not feel self conscious, because these pants cover my genitals rather than drawing attention to them. If I was the sort of person with shaving inclinations, I might be affected by the way that all of my pubic zone is entirely covered up.

Small female pants leave you exposed, and make your genitals accessible. I’ve never felt sexy wearing lingerie, only self conscious and vulnerable. Not least because lingerie is something I’ve only ever worn for someone else. I wouldn’t wear it for me, because what I want for me is to be comfortable.

I know there are people of all genders who enjoy lingerie and who feel sexy in it. All power to them. What bothers me is that if you’re one of the women who doesn’t get on with that, it’s not easy to find underwear designed for women that isn’t designed to be small and ‘sexy’ in line with the idea that revealing is sexy. If women’s underwear was designed primarily to be comfortable, it would be all soft fabric and a variety of leg lengths, and we’d go from thongs to shorts as well. In an ideal world I think there would also be more availability of sexy pants for men. You won’t find posing pouches in the supermarket. Male undergarments designed for the female viewer are few and far between. It would be good to have a more level playing field.

Kissing Dr Who

I watched the Christmas Dr Who, and noticed at one point that the Doctor pounces on a female character, dips her, and kisses her. It started me wondering about when that became a thing to do, and the implications of it.

The dip and kiss clearly isn’t consistent with Victorian etiquette, although you’ll find it in later bodice-ripper fiction. My guess is that it turned up with cinema, in the swashbuckling films so keen to impress on us that bad boys are sexy. Bad boys don’t ask, they just pounce, dip and snog. The victim surfaces from this starry eyed and adoring, most often. It is important to note that in reality, the victim was expecting it and had been told how to react by the director.

I have been dipped and kissed. I had consented and knew it was going to happen. It was some time ago, but what I learned was this. It is bloody disconcerting. The dip is an act of overpowering the victim. If you are anything other than still, passive and compliant, you’re going to get dropped on the floor, which is going to hurt. Being swung over backwards is not terribly dignified, and the total awareness that your bodily safety depends entirely on the person dipping you is not an easy thought. I did that with someone I knew passably well, trusted enough and was pretty sure wouldn’t drop me. To have that done to you by a total stranger would not be sexy. It would be scary and threatening. You need a height and weight advantage to pull it off, and it makes obvious to the victim that the perpetrator has superior strength. It’s an act of intimidation.

The idea we are sold in the movies is that if the guy is sexy enough, women are happy to be treated any way he likes. This is not a healthy thought form. It teaches us to put up with a lot of shit ‘for the right man’ and it teaches men that if you have the nerve to pounce on a woman and force her, and you’re reasonably pretty, you’ll probably get away with it. She might even like it. This is not a thought form that helps the guys much, either. I have no idea how it translates in same sex relationships, but from what I’ve seen, same-sex couples are largely free from the mad cultural baggage that plagues straight relationships.

There’s a lot to be said for asking someone before you kiss them for the first time. That can be romantic, or sexy if you play it right. If words are not comfortable, then starting slowly, giving the other person time and space to decide whether they’re going to consent or not, is a good way to go. If you leap in, dip, and kiss, there is no space to consent, or to refuse consent. In my book, that’s not romantic, that’s a form of assault, and it’s a slippery slope from there.

Dipping is a theatrical move. I suspect it exists because of the visual impact. If you’re wondering about what it’s like to be dipped and whether it is as appealing as you think it looks when the Doctor does it, find a willing partner and experiment. Make sure you have something soft to land on if you misjudge and one of you gets dropped. Try to imagine how it would feel if forced on you unexpectedly.

Sexual predation isn’t sexy. It isn’t respectful, it isn’t honourable and it does not make for any kind of relationship. While we keep depicting predatory acts as attractive, we perpetrate a culture in which the right to consent, is horribly undermined.