The Price Women Pay for Embracing their Sexuality

I was just 10 years old when I hit puberty and I physically matured into a young woman very quickly.  I had C cups by the time I was 12 which made me the target of a lot of unwanted attention from a very early age. However, my body still hadn’t finished growing and soon I became known as the ‘girl with the big boobs’, whether I liked it or not.

Picture: Paige ‘Rampaige’ Halsey Warren

As a young girl with a body of a grown woman, things got really awkward. During my school years I would be so embarrassed to participate in sporting activities, especially running for obvious reasons. I wouldn’t dare to get undressed in the common areas of the changing rooms, I’d wait for the next free cubicle. And clothes just didn’t fit or if they did it was because I had stretched out the material to maximum capacity. The buttons on my school dresses would constantly break free.

In my teens I became acutely aware of how I would be perceived if I wore certain clothes. Things I wore always tended to look suggestive or provocative without even trying. Even if I wanted to wear such clothes my parents wouldn’t allow it. So, the only other option was to wear clothes that made me look and feel – and I mean no offence – like a nun. My sisters have always been petite and they could wear anything – singlets, backless tops, crop tops, but for some reason they didn’t look suggestive, so it was okay for them to wear whatever they wanted.

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Picture: Paige ‘Rampaige’ Halsey Warren

I remember how I would CRY. I would throw the worst tantrums because I was frustrated. It felt so unfair that I couldn’t wear nice clothes because I was going to be perceived as attention-seeking, slutty and promiscuous, yet my sisters could wear whatever they wanted.

As I entered my late teens, like any other girl my age, I wanted to look and feel sexy. I felt so constricted and repressed that I couldn’t wear the clothes I wanted, so I started to rebel. My parents (who are the greatest and who I love very much) were not happy. ‘Have some self-respect’, don’t look like ‘trash’, ‘cover yourself’ they would say, as if there was something inherently shameful about my body. And for a moment in time I internalised that shame, that false correlation between what one wears and their self-respect, and the view that our bodies are somehow tied to our worth.

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Me SLAYING – Present Day

However, it wasn’t long before I became ‘woke’ (a slang word for socially aware). I learnt about women’s sexual liberation. A movement that challenges traditional social expectations about how women should look, dress, talk and act, in relation to sexuality. And IT IS LIBERATING. IT IS EMPOWERING. TO OWN AND EMBRACE YOUR SEXUALITY. TO EXERCISE CHOICE. To rid yourself of the shame and outdated expectations that have been imposed upon women for so long.

Unfortunately, not everyone is woke. People still judge, criticise and condemn women for embracing their sexuality. What makes me so sad and quite frankly fucking angry – is that there is ALREADY so much self-hatred in this world, so many people suffer from body-image issues, low self-esteem and depression. Why are we trying to bring people down and shame women for embracing themselves, or for showing an ounce of confidence? (live and let live, love and let love). It’s freaking hard enough to love yourself in a society that constantly tells you that you’re not good enough.

However, I do believe that one should dress for the setting they are in, like in a professional setting, funeral or gym. There are appropriate clothing conventions we abide by for various reasons. But even if a woman respects dress codes where ‘appropriate’, the moment she’s caught violating ‘traditional social expectations’ which dictate how a woman should dress – some people will question her worth, credibility, value, assume things, judge and criticise her.

Source: Screenshot from news.com.au

Don’t believe the Western world is as dire as I’m making it out?

Well, Emma Watson’s recent photoshoot illustrates the situation. Watson, a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and highly successful, talented actress was criticised for a ‘topless’ photo taken as part of the shoot. She was shamed, even by other women on social media. Watson, known for championing feminism, was called a hypocrite for showing her boobs. A writer for the Huffington Post described the situation PERFECTLY:

“In one simple photo, Watson has inadvertently bared a troubling truth that our society still, in 2017, cannot fathom the possibility that women can both express themselves sexually AND express a desire for equality, simultaneously” – Hannah Cranston.

A few years ago, a similar image went viral:

As perfectly evidenced by this picture (below-right) – the price of a woman owning her sexuality means that people will try to diminish and discredit the reputation, accomplishments and character of even the most highly influential women in the world – just from her choice of attire.

Rape Culture/Victim Blaming/Slut Shaming/Image-Based Sexual Assault:

Source: Facebook

The price of a woman owning her sexuality can and does become very dangerous. Women are often victim blamed and slut shamed in cases of rape, people say ‘she shouldn’t have worn that, she was asking for it’. Women are often victim blamed and slut shamed in cases of ‘image based sexual assault’ such as revenge porn, for sending intimate images in the first place. It really seems like women are being punished for just being women.

For too long, women have been told to hide themselves, that they should feel ashamed of their sexuality. Women SHOULD NOT have to pay a price for embracing their sexuality. Let’s celebrate women reclaiming their bodies and dressing however the fuck they want, in whatever the fuck they want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

47 thoughts on “The Price Women Pay for Embracing their Sexuality

  1. I hate how society is today just as I did in the past. I know what you went through, and had nobody to help me through the years about my body. All they would say, “you’re a whore if you don’t wear this T-shirt.” The shirt was way too big. All because of my huge breasts.
    Women should embrace their sexuality, yes, and not give a damn about it either. Impressive, inspiring post.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m beginning to really appreciate something I heard growing up: It’s not wrong unless it’s illegal, violates your own sense of morality, or hurts someone.
    I like this post, because it is so empowering.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The only reason women have been VERY careful about protecting their reputations over the last 5,000 years is because they DO NOT want to attract the attention of the wrong type of men! Why any woman would embrace the naive, radical, third-wave feminist premise, that exposing their boobs in public, is “empowering” is just a lunatic. It becomes a TOTAL distraction and diminishes the woman’s ability to be seen as a woman of intellect and discretion. Only a fool would deliberately portray herself as simply a set of walking boobs. In other words, she IS a boob!

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    • Respectfully, K.Q. Duane – If you think that because a woman is embracing her body or ‘exposing her boobs’, that she is portraying herself as ‘simply a set of walking boobs’ or worse that ‘she IS a boob’, THEN sorry but it is you that is reducing her to an object. WHEN you say that a woman who embraces her sexuality, distracts or diminishes that woman’s ability to be seen as a woman of intellect, YOU are perpetuating the idea that women cannot be BOTH sexy and intelligent – YOU are perpetuating the idea that a woman’s worth/respectability/intelligence is dependant on how SHE dresses, looks or acts. YOU are actually undermining the worth, intellect or value of women when you judge a woman for how she dresses. THE PERCEPTION that women cannot be taken seriously or respected if they look/dress a certain way – despite the sad fact that some people think that way – is the very thing third wave feminism fights against. I’m sorry if the female anatomy offends your delicate sensibilities but there is NOTHING shameful about our bodies.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are so far off base it’s almost laughable. Yes, a woman who struts her stuff is ALWAYS going to be perceived as a woman who thinks her boobs are somehow more important than her character, intellect or integrity! Especially today when most are fake, store-boughts. There is absolutely NO logical, sensible or rational reason to expose your boobs to every schmuck on the street unless you are looking for trouble! Where’s your self-respect? Only savages of old exposed their breasts to the general populous and even they associated it with the grander social need of fertility. Your ridiculous justification for your booby behavior doesn’t even come up to that standard! You’re need to “embrace” your sexuality in this manner is bizarre! Since when is it necessary to “embrace” your sexuality as a WOMAN? You ARE a woman, are you not? Or are you just a set of boobs and a vagina? YUK! Everyone knows you are a woman. That’s all anyone needs to know and prancing your boobs along the street in front of you will not advance that reality. If anything, it will make you appear to be an ill-bred boob or promiscuous, neither of which you should be aspiring towards! Radical, third-wave feminism is a profound betrayal of young women. It is a scam meant to lower women into the gutter so that they can be taken advantage of by every Tom, Dick and Harry who comes along. So, if you want to become a old, used piece of crap and thereby eliminate your ability to someday marry a good guy and have kids, follow the Helen Gurley Browns of the world! Be my guest. But, don’t say I didn’t warn you when you find yourself Single, Sad, Sidelined, Sick and 60 because I know plenty of those women who made the same mistakes you’re making when they were young and invincible!

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      • Tbh it just saddens me how much internalised sexism/misogyny is present in your views. I mean your site’s tagline speaks volumes ‘It’s the women, not the men’.

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      • I’m a champion for young Christian men because their female contemporaries, like yourself, have foolishly, irrationally, viciously and unjustly TRASHED them! Good Lord! Despite what radical, second and third-wave feminism has brainwashed you to believe,, they are NOT the enemy AND it’s NOT all about YOU!!! All this blowhard, macho crap you third-wave feminist’s spew was created by 3 miserable non-Christian sociopaths (Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug,) in 60s and 70s (well before you were probably BORN). Trust me! I was THERE too! And they were CRAZY! They were twisted, unhappy women who hated men because they were abused by their non-Christian fathers as youngsters! Their vicious misandry and illogical feminist ideology was based on false allegations, misguided assumptions and irrational arrogance about, and towards, Christian men, none of whom abused the women in their lives!!! They instead loved and adored them, even to the point of DEATH! You are so misinformed, it’s unnerving! You need to read my posts (if you have the GUTS) to hear the TRUTH about the tyranny of feminist ideology, “Longform Essay – Why Did the Founders of Radical, Second-Wave Feminism Hate Men?”, “10+ Tenets of Christianity vs. 10+ Ideals of Radical Feminism”, and “Longform Essay- How Did “Patriarchy” Become a Dirty Word?”. Then read “Short Essay – Radical Feminism’s True Legacy – Being Single, Sidelined and 60 Sucks!” Try and remember that I’m NOT your enemy. I am your godmother of sorts. I’ve been there and it really does SUCK. As my very “LIBERATED” and profoundly regretful (and single) girlfriend once told me, “If you can’t be a good example, at least be a terrible warning.” That’s what my blog proposes to do! WARN YOU! You should also read my very long post (you’ll need 30 minutes to read it) which charts the suffering my 15 formerly fabulous girlfriends have experienced in their lives because they substituted the ideology of radical feminism for their former Christian faith. There difficult and troubled journeys would be laughable if their stories weren’t SO tragic. It’s titled, “Divorce is Dumb Vol. #1 Essay 12”. I sincerely wish you the best of luck and hope that once you get past your defensive anger that you’ll see the wisdom of my assertions and SAVE YOURSELF from the evil shrouded within the smoke screen of feminist ideology.

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  4. Yeah, really enjoyed this post. Very liberating to remember that choice to be ourselves and wear what we want to wear. The idea that a woman can choose both to enjoy her sexuality, AND have intellectual drive and goals. This reminded me of Erin Brockovich, the film in which the main character is told by the other women to dress differently, and she simply doesn’t budge on who she is and also kills it in terms of her work.
    I’m interested on the flip side of this, about men being expected to wear what they wear, and showing skin is never an issue… why is this? Opens up a whole new line of enquiry, and always questioning what ‘womanly’ actually is.
    Thanks for the post!x

    Liked by 3 people

  5. This is so powerful. And being a male, a “red-blooded” male…if you know what I mean…I am aware of the hunger to objectify beautiful women like you. But, my lust is checked…yes too much…with the Shakespearean “pauser reason” and I’ve not been the male chauvinist pig that my heart yearns to be. Have much more to say. And will say it. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi literarylew – I appreciate the fact that you are checking yourself, your views and beliefs. I appreciate that you are willing to hear women out and re-evaluate. Regards, Noelle.

      Like

  6. I was that same 12 year old girl in a D cup who avoided anything that made my breasts move to avoid the attention it brought. I wore baggy clothes to conceal it and avoid attention. I have a friend in her late 20’s who still gets shit for the size of her breasts. I’m a lot older than my friend and I find that I just don’t give a shit what people think. Yesterday I had a skin tight sleeveless shirt on and if people looked, I didn’t notice. Those type of people aren’t worth my time or reaction. I just wish my 12 year old self knew then what I know now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The feels!!!!!!!!!!!! I also wish my 12 year old knew then what I know now!!!!!!!!!! I’m so happy you don’t notice anymore and just do your thing! To your friend who still gets shit, that is so frustrating but I hope she doesn’t let it get her down and embraces the beauty that is the woman’s body! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tell your 12 yr old that nobody’s opinion but her own matters!! My friend is still learning to embrace it. I joke that I’m old and don’t give a shit and I really don’t but I remember what it was like and I sympathize. Have a great day!

        Like

  7. I love this! It’s really unfortunate how some women have internalized the double standard that has created such horrible opinions of women who celebrate their bodies, as evidenced by certain comments on this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Noelle,

    Thanks for your to the point, powerfully written post. I’m so sorry you’ve had to cope with society’s body image issues… basically dealing with something you had no control over. There are men… and some women, too… who are far too quick to judge the book by the cover… i.e., a woman by her fashion statement.

    Guys, in particular, need to grow up and realize they’ll never discover who a woman truly is if they’re viewing her as a gender specific, Gray’s Anatomy textbook illustration. After all, it’s what’s on her mind… i.e., what’s going on within her gray matter that really matters. The former approach is disrespectful, objectifying and objectionable.

    Thanks for following my blog… I’m now following yours, too!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. One would think after the progress in the last fifty years more would’ve changed by now than actually has. It’s sad people still has nothing better to do than harass a child about her bust size. A lot of it smells like jealousy to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. i really really enjoy this blog. It eloquently puts into words all the things i want to say but don’t have the words to say when boys come to me and and say shit like:

    “why do you need feminism? All you girls want to do is show your nipples like sluts, the world doesn’t need that. There are more important issues.”

    And all of the arguments you just put forth pop into my head but I never could figure out how to get them out in a concise, bulletpointed manner without sounding like an idiot. So thank you for this. Just gonna…print it out and keep it in my purse.. for future arguments….

    Um, I wrote an article about colorism and women on my blog, and if you have time, I would like to know what you think? They say to get feedback from people who write about things similar to you, and so I would really appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Tahinah, I tried to look for your blog site but it appears I cannot access it. I would love to have a look at your work and would even be willing to feature it on contemporary women because we are looking for passionate, like-minded women who want to use their voices. I would love to give some feedback, so send an email through to contemporarywomen.org@gmail.com. Don’t give up on your writing! Also, I am very happy to hear that you could relate to this piece, it is an issue that needs addressing head on. Keep fighting the good fight XOXOX

      Liked by 1 person

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  12. Beautiful post, Noelle! Thanks so much for writing about it. I loved reading the comments too, though part of the conversation was heated. You handled the controversy well though – some bloggers would have lost their composure. Congratulations! You are so inspiring!

    Like

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this! You just became my new favorite blogger!
    I recently just started openly blogging about sexuality and people in my personal life have gone straight to slut shaming mind you- I am not explaining explicit details of my personal sex life. The sheer topic of sex on my blog has instantly turned me into a “slut” and it’s disheartening that my peers and fellow women are looking down on me for openly discussing a natural act.
    Thanks again for reassuring me to be confident and proud of my sexuality!

    Like

  14. Such a powerful post and we couldn’t agree more!
    It’s so sad to read the ugly truth of what still happens to so many women (and young girls!) in today’s society, especially being ‘shamed’ for one’s body at such a young age. We wish more people were more socially aware (‘woke’) of this social problem, so the world could just accept women for who they are and move on.

    Thank you for sharing your story and your struggle with us, as a campaign ourselves (aiming to end ‘slut-shaming’) we hope that many more people will get the chance this inspiring post!

    Like

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