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.