Saturday, March 23, 2013

Those little boxes aren't my friends.

Recently, very recently I realized I don't actually need to put myself into one of those little boxes that says I'm heterosexual, or homosexual, or bisexual. I've honestly struggled with those little boxes my entire life. They are not my friends. I remember 'coming out' to my best friend in high school that I thought I was bisexual, I remember a lot of discussion about it and confusion on her part.

How could I be bisexual? I never acted that way, I didn't chase girls, I wasn't like the other bisexual girls we knew, was I sure, how did I know etc. It was impossible to explain to her my own sexuality, because, in all honesty I really had no clue if I was bisexual or heterosexual or whatever, at all.

I've left it alone with for a number of years now and let people assume I am heterosexual, until I recently realized nobody requires my sexuality to be put into a neat little box, I can be attracted to women some days and men others. I don't need to justify or explain this. My beliefs and feelings about sexuality are based on my own experiences with it.

The best way I can think to describe it is like this:

Generally, I am sexually and romantically attracted to men, but, on occasion I will be sexually or romantically attracted to women (I call these guy days and girl days, not sure if that makes sense or not, but sometimes I'm just more attracted to girls than guys, basically). Part of this has to do with an ingrained assumption that all women are attracted to men and therefore not attracted to me so I shouldn't bothering being attracted to them, but all men are attracted to women and therefore could be attracted to me so I have a shot and can be attracted to men, I realize and acknowledge how completely wrong this is, but it is an unconscious assumption my brain makes.

I have come to the conclusion, that since sexuality is fluid, mine is just really really fluid, like it slides around a lot. I also know that generally I have a harder time making emotional connections with guys which makes it very hard to have a proper relationship, I just generally prefer the company of women. I also find women more physically and aesthetically pleasing then men, even (especially) naked, I just don't find guys bodies as attractive as girls... but I'm usually sexually attracted to guys... So you can see why this is so confusing for me.

I have come to the conclusion (this was my initial conclusion when I started thinking I was bi) that I would probably prefer a relationship with a man, but due to the fluctuating and fluidity nature of my sexuality, I can't rule out relationships with women, because I might be more comfortable emotionally with a woman.

I'm also almost always attracted to guys that have more traditionally 'feminine' traits (whatever that means), basically I usually get along with the guys that have tons of female friends, because they just get along with women better.

The girl thing is entirely different, I've had so many close, very close, emotional relationships with women that don't even compare the the relationships I've had with guys, but they've never been of a romantic or sexual nature, but I just prefer them.

So you can see why sexuality has always been very confusing and impossible to define for me, I still don't even know where I'd start with dating girls, the idea is so completely foreign to me, but not really unappealing.

I feel like in saying all this I should briefly address some of the backlash I've experienced (and I'm sure others experience) when I've tried to explain my sexuality in the past.

"It's just a phase": yes, I'm sure 'phases' last for 10 years, that's totally normal. I'll start growing out of it, like, tomorrow or something. Geez.

"You don't actually like girls, you just want to be different": wait, what? I 'want' to be 'different' because I haven't always struggled with this and it hasn't left me feeling very confused and left out my entire life, yeah I totally want the stigma and unhappiness that can come with been queer. Totally.

"You'll probably end up with a man so it doesn't matter": not sure how anyone could know who I'd 'probably end up with' since I have no clue at all who I'd end up with. Also, why the fuck does it matter if I end up with a man or woman that has absolutely nothing to do with what my sexuality is and how I prefer to identify.

"I think you're just straight, therefore you must be straight": I don't care what you think about me, I say I am queer, therefore I am queer.

"But how do you know you aren't straight": I don't. That's the bloody problem and somehow nobody can wrap their head around that. I'm also not required to identify as straight if I don't feel comfortable with that, which I don't. So bugger off.

"But you've never been with a girl...": that is so totally and completely irrelevant to how I define my own sexual identity. Being or not being with someone does not mean I can't want or not want to be with someone. Gosh.

I think that's all the ones I've heard. Some of them are things people have said to me, and others are just things I've heard that bother me.

This was on my mind because I hang out all afternoon in the Pride office (room, place, whatever) all afternoon Friday and my friend asked me why I thought I wouldn't be welcome there when I identify as queer and I was like oh, wait, I don't really know... I guess I constantly think of my self as heterosexual and never really address any other thoughts/feelings I might have because it's just way easier to not worry about it and get all confused, but at the same time I feel like I'm being very untrue to myself and I am missing part of me. Like, I need to learn to accept this and not dismiss it myself, which I've essentially being doing for years.

Soooo now that that's all straightened out (haha), what do you identify as? Do you have issues with people dismissing your sexual identity or sexual orientation and saying it isn't valid or not understanding it, etc?

Do you have a confusing sexual identity as well? Let me know! I'd love to hear about other peoples experiences.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Awkward Conversation.

I can't get a conversation I recently had with a professor out of my head.

It honestly just keeps replaying there over and over and it's starting to drive me mad.

I couldn't figure out why the conversation bother me so much, except that I felt like he was lecturing me with out any actual grounds, or for that matter, right.

Why do older, 'paternal' figures put themselves in that spot where they think they can tell you what to do. I've been worried about some many things I've chosen to do since this conversation, he's an intelligent man and I do not doubt he has guessed at my part in, shall we say, the tumblr 'body positive' community, then again, maybe he was just trying to get me to look at patriarchal power structures in society, either way it fucking well worked.

I think I need to give a little context for this conversation before I go any further. So, context. I'm a tumblr blogger, I run an almost popular, rather interest, personal/all-interests/feminist blog on tumblr called A History. You probably haven't heard of it unless you're a follower or you've seen the username 'faomosgirl' pop up anywhere.

Anyway I decided for a sociology project to do research into why people join tumblr and what sort of participation they have in body positive blogging because, in all honesty, it interests me to no end. I put some thought (but apparently not enough) and a lot of time into writing a research proposal for this research for my class.

The research requires that I interview two willing participants (to be kept confidential) about their body positive blogs. Well there were a few issues to overcome in this situation, but I managed to work most of it. I honestly did not consider my own participation as a major part of my research until I started thinking about the implications of body positive blogging and the amount of nudity it involves (or doesn't involve, depending on the type of blogger you are).

The conversation I had with my professor didn't really surprise me, we were discussing my research project and how I should approach it, now this the part that bothers me and I can't stop thinking about. He sort of asked at one point, with a bit of bewilderment and surprise if women were actually posting pictures of themselves nude on tumblr and their identities and when I said yes he seemed surprised and went on to tell me, no lecture me, about the dangers of this and how he would feel if he found nude pictures of his daughter online... it was horrible. I honestly felt humiliated. Ashamed of myself for a moment as I imaged my own father finding my photos online, this wasn't really what bothered me the most though. He said that even if the images weren't meant to be sexual others could use them for sexual means or in a degrading way and that is were everything starts becoming clearer.

This man, this professor of mine, he is not afraid for the women posting pictures of themselves nude, he is not worried about the harm that comes to these women if this do this, he is worried about what society thinks of these pictures. What will happen to this women in the work force (yes, he brought that up as well), how the 'internet is forever' how anyone can find these pictures and see them, but mostly, how they can be sexually exploited by men.

So everyone who doesn't see it here, this is rape culture, this is body shaming, this is slut shaming. I will not stand for such nonsense. I am tired of being such a  fucking push over and never feeling like I have my own beliefs and yes, maybe these ideas aren't originally mine and they might not have come from a very positive place (trying to impress a body, no less), but I know when bullshit is being spewed at me.

Be afraid of your body little girl, be afraid of what it can do, be afraid of sex little girl, be afraid of your power, be afraid of yourself little girl, be afraid of you.

Fuck that. I am done.

I know he made some good points, yes, the internet IS FOREVER, yes nude pictures can be exploited for sexual purposes, yes it is RISKY. But if we all just sit back and say oh, keep your clothes on because that's what society says you should do, well what the fuck nobody would ever see any naked body and how miraculous and wonderful they are. Honestly. I am so fucking done with shit like that. MY NAKED BODY DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO SEXUALLY OBJECTIFY ME. JUST BECAUSE PEOPLE SEXUALLY OBJEFY NAKED BODIES DOES NOT MEAN I CANNOT BE NAKED WHENEVER THE FUCK I WANT (err within the law of course).

I am sick and tired of rape culture, I honestly spent all week wondering what was bothering me about that conversation and it took me until now to realize it because I was reading an article about rape culture and I realized that this was rape culture. That entire fucking conversation. I will show him.

I realize that he might not have realized it was rape culture permeating his every word and thought in that interaction, I realize he was picturing his own daughter sexually objectified, I realize he isn't a stupid man (you don't become a university professor being stupid), but that conversation, well making some valid points, was ultimately offensive and, well, pretty awkward.

Yes, I know the internet is forever, I know future employers will look at how you've portrayed yourself via social media to see if you can work for them, which I think is frankly stupid. The fact that we are STILL having scandals about women who post nudes online or participate in porn is completely ridiculous. You never hear that shit about men. Ever. I mean maybe it will come up, but nobody ever seems to question it or stop them from hiring those men, no it is almost always women and this is just another way our bodies are controlled by society.

I am sick and tired of apologizing for myself. Feeling nervous and self conscious, hating myself, not believing in myself, lacking the confidence to just go out and do things I know that I could actually do. I am honestly done with all this. I am so done with bullshitting around and wasting time not doing or saying what I want. I have told myself to change so many times, told myself to grow the fuck up (what does that even mean?) but here's the thing, the thing I always ignore. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME. I don't need to change, I just need to believe in myself. I'm an amazing person, smart, interesting, funny, beautiful and kind. I don't need to do anything differently.

End rant.