Last year I wrote an article for Medium, with regards to this pervasive myth that it’s easier for woman to write about sex than men, and if you haven’t already, I do hope you give it a read for a little extra context for what I want to rant a bit about on here. And perhaps, I will be able to formulate these rants into a more cohesive article for medium. But, for the time being, I want to address this hypocritical murmur I am hearing with regards to my boob forward images, and my hard stance against sexism and harassment. I am body and sex positive, and no that does not mean that I or anyone else who creates content, is therefor open to sexism or harassment. And the irony is not lost on me that I am writing this rant only a week after boldly re-claiming my power, but I guess, my boldness adds fodder to the trolls and hypocrite criers. Ugh.
When I post boobs and beer on Instagram, that is my celebration of two things I love. And when I post bonus content on my Patreon (for a small subscription or one time fee) it is because, I deserve to get a little kickback for all the free content I put out there. Plain and simple. And yeah, admitting that I deserve a little money for what I do, is a tough thing to write down, and own. Phew, glad I got that out of the way. And now onto the hypocrisy of it all.
One of the little notes I sent myself when mulling over how I wanted boobs, beer, and vinyl to look and feel was “Sex and nudity should be normalized, fun, and playful”. And yes, I send a lot of little notes to myself in between writing sessions. The thing about this one is, it is important to me that my images not just be sexy, shot in the best lighting ever, or even filtered. Why? Because real, and raw is who I am, with an element of playful and random. That to me, is the key to embracing body positivity and normalizing nudity and the enjoyment of the naked body. Of course with IG, nudity of any sort is forbidden, so I have to work within the parameters of their platform. Which is perfectly fine with me, and presents a fun little challenge of riding that fine line.
But there are a few things I need to get right out there in the open. There is nothing hypocritical about my strong stance against sexism and my fun desire to be sexy and playful with my photographs and selfies. If you, have ever thought that I bring on the harassment and abuse myself due to my content that I put out into the world, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM! Let me be very clear, we cannot become a sex positive culture if we shame people for putting out content that is sexual or suggestive in nature. As I wrote in my Medium article, it is not easy putting intimate content out for public consumption. Trolls are the worst, and stalkers, are real. I have feared for my safety a number of times over the years, and even changed my nudity policy for my blog articles (if you’re a regular reader, I know you’re sick of me writing that down, but it still irks me that I had to do that).
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I have tried to understand the correlation between writing the word sex and getting trolled. I just don’t understand. Why when people read the phrase sex positive do they short circuit and assume that I’m down to fuck or that I want to talk about sex and my personal life with strangers? I call it trolling simply because it’s something that rational people in the real world would never do. Anonymity creates a seemingly safe space for creeps. And I put content out, in a lot of places, thus there is a never ending stream of violations towards my privacy, sanity, and sexual well being. And no, it should not be this way, nor should I simply accept the fact because I write or photograph “sex” themed content at times. And yet, in the real world, actual acquaintances of mine believe that this is par for the course and I bring this on myself. Ugh! But I don’t do this simply for attention, and definitely not for the money. I do this because it’s what I want to write about, what I am passionate about photographing, and what fuels me.
And there is another element to this, a much more personal one. Yesterday, I was in a terrible mood, and you know what made me cheer up? Taking the time to grab a beer, put on a silly bikini to match a vinyl cover, and plan a little photo shoot in my living room. I got my brain to think about something fun, had tunes going, and cracked a beer. Doing this little selfie absolutely got me out of my head, and brought some playfulness from my living room, and after I shared with those on my social media. It was truly a mental boost for me. And how in the world can that be wrong?
So, if you are one of those in the background thinking that I bring on harassment or sexism myself, it is time to look in the mirror and reflect on why you hold onto those misguided values. I dress for my own pleasure, and I take photos to bring me joy. If you in turn believe that I deserve my trolls, or it should be expected in today’s day and age, please let me know, and I will provide you with some amazing resources to help shake you out of that frame of mind. Putting myself out there is rarely easy. It is often uncomfortable, and hot damn do I wish some days that people would appreciate the work and pay me fairly for it. With that all aside, I more often than not, understand that what I do is important. And that there is value in what I put out there, and I remain hopeful that one day the effort will pay off. Or at the very least, I can stop ranting about all those who call me a hypocrite.
Challenge Time: I want each of you to give a shout-out to someone who embodies a sex positive trait that you admire, or someone you admire for the content they create! Comment on this post, Twitter, Facebook, or wherever you read this blog!