My whole life people have had issues with my confidence. As a living, breathing reflection of the traits of humanity deemed less than by them, I think I scare them.
What secrets of life have I unlocked? A fat woman, truly happy?! What sorcery is this?! It is unfathomable to some people that although my outer package isn’t perfect, I can still feel sexy and confident. I am less offended by the hard-bodied women who are floored by it, than by the average Joe man who is off put by it. The hard-bodied women had to sacrifice and work real hard on her body to love it, but the man just doesn’t want to fuck you. Two very different reasons. One is like your co-worker being mad at you that you got a promotion she worked just as hard, if not harder, than you to get, and the other is like your co-worker getting mad at you because you got a promotion they want even though they don’t think anyone wants to fuck you.
In the early 2000s being an adolescent girl with a FUPA was a real struggle. Super low-rise jeans? More like, my-gut-is-pushing-the button-of-my-jeans-into-my-pussy-rise jeans. Body image as an issue was being spoken about, but models were still stick thin in all ad campaigns. We were all striving be Gisele Bundchen who, little did we know, would marry a man who frenches his dad. Then, Britney Spears made the “I’m a Slave 4U” video and we all decided our stomachs were disgusting because we didn’t have the abs or core strength to support both a body roll dance move and a boa constrictor at the same time.
I know it’s normal and common for teen girls and boys to not like themselves. Is it necessary to discovering who you are? I think so. What incentive do you have to improve as a person if you never questions exactly how much of a dick you are being? Healthy self-doubt is great. You can have confidence AND healthy self-doubt. They aren’t mutually exclusive.
Now, The term “thirst trap” has integrated itself into the zeitgeist. Dictionary.com defines “thirst trap” as “a provocative photo, often with a coy or confident caption, that will trap (attract) thirst (attention, in the form of comments, likes, etc.)”. My social media game of posting a #DailyThirstTrap lately has really garnered some strange and unexpected reactions. There are a ton of positive and funny interactions, but I want to explore one specific reaction.
Today, one man unfollowed me on Twitter. He told me that he “couldn’t do the self-obsessed Myspace kid vibe” I was putting out there with my #DailyThirstTrap posts. He felt the need to tweet me about why he was unfollowing me.
(SIDEBAR: No one cares that you unfollowed them on Twitter. You tweeting them about why you’re unfollowing them is really unnecessary. Although, lets face it, if someone is tweeting someone why they are unfollowing them they are definitely NOT reading this many words typed by a woman)
The thirst trap is such a funny concept to me. It’s a gender neutral activity, but I feel as though women get the most flack for it. We’ve been accused of wanting too much attention because we wear provocative clothing in public but don’t want to be assaulted or harassed about it. We’ve been accused of wanting too much attention anytime in our lives when attention was for anything other than a man wanting to fuck us. The idea that I can’t enjoy the sensuality of my body and even go as far as to celebrate it online because I’m not doing it for a man to cum about is absurd to me.
It’s a different world today, and I don’t see this happen nearly as often as I did when I was in my early 20’s. However, I think these old biases have more lasting affects than we think. I mean we’re all doing a great job, but centuries of being told our bodies are both for men to covet and disgusting things to be kept away unless they are perfect doesn’t just go away because of a bath bomb boomerang and some free shit from an Instagram company. Cardi B loses her mind every other day. I think we might still be working through some shit.
Women were always being told that our sexuality was a weapon, weakness, and sin. A man was once so angry at me for speaking openly about my sexuality onstage that he attempted to leave the comedy club. The comic I was opening for, Mike Merryfield, convinced him to stay and when he saw the man in the crowd laughing his ass off at him talking about his dick, he let him know that he was a real piece of shit for having issues with a woman speaking out about her sexuality but no issue when he did it. (Shoutout to Mike Merryfield for sticking up for me like that!)
The attention we receive from our sexuality and it’s validity was always attached to some arbitrary societal expectation of how a “woman” should behave. Times are changing, and in our culture we are now shirking these expectations in favor of demonizing anyone who would try to drape you in them.
Now, I tell you all of that to tell you this: yes, it bothers me that someone was bothered by my chosen display of loving myself. Yes, I know this seems contradictory. Why care? It’s not that I’m so upset I lost a follower I needed to write a blog about it. People telling me what I can and can’t do really gets under my skin when it comes to me, my body, or my endeavors. Especially when they are insinuating that I cannot do these things because I don’t meet the physical standards (unless it’s like boot camp). Now, I’d like to clarify that the man who unfollowed me today who inspired this train of thought didn't insinuate anything other than he’s annoyed by all my selfies. Strange to follow someone and then get mad when you see them in their posts, but go off I guess.
I’m really just bitter, ya know. Although I enjoy myself today and have worked really hard to love what I see in the mirror, I’m not perfect. I let my insecurities win and make me mad sometimes.
When you’re an overweight or ugly kid every day you are told by the outside world why what you see in the mirror isn’t good enough. You’re told by the way the other kids treat you:
You’re told when you know that people shouldn’t hit each other but when a kid in class pushes you down months after having surgery and the class laughs because of the funny way you fell. Then when another kid finally sticks up for you and says “hey you’re not supposed to hit girls!”, the kid who pushed you says, “yeah but she’s fat it doesn’t count”.
Don’t worry, I She’s All That-ed pretty hard between sophomore year and junior year of high school and used my newfound sexuality to get revenge on most of my bullies. Like PG-13 teen comedy revenge, not I Spit On Your Grave Revenge.
Did I get revenge on the push kid? Well, if you fast forward about 8 1/2 years you’ll see him crying in an RV and drinking out of a hard liquor bottle, but that story is for another day.
You’re told you aren’t good enough when you start to develop and your middle school crush finds out you like him and pretends to like you back. Then when he kisses you at the 7th grade dance, you pull away to see a group of his friends doubled over laughing and pointing behind him. He laughs and returns to his friends, the triumphant prankster. It’s like, I didn’t carefully place all these butterfly clips in my hair for THIS.
I care that someone was bothered by photos I’ve taken of myself for that very reason. I was told I wasn’t good enough my whole life because of my physical appearance. This isn’t the first time someone has made a comment about the photos I take of myself. I’m not interested in this. This is another person deciding the level with which I am allowed to appreciate and love myself. The level of my worth. Some of you are like, “this isn’t about loving yourself, you just want attention.”. Uh, yes bitch. Isn’t that what we’re all doing here on social media? Or are you on it for educational purposes? We all want attention, we are human beings.
This IS about loving myself. Because that voice in my head saying “don’t post another picture of yourself” is the same one who told me for years “no one will love you unless you lose weight”.
I’m really not interested in letting that voice win anymore. So, babies, if you aren’t into my vibes online the unfollow button ain’t hard to find.