Monday, June 16, 2014

It's Not Bragging, It's Resisting! (A Memo)

By Anči

Psst, guys! Complaining about cat-calling ISN'T tantamount to bragging about how "attractive" I am.
 (cause of all things I have to be proud of, why would my alleged fuckability-- which by the way is entirely dependent on the whims of a handful of sexist creeps-- make the cut? Duh.)

Not to mention, that I have no problem talking about how hot I am, without the aggressive promptings of a balding passer-by.  Don't believe me?  Here goes:  I'm a sexy bitch, with rosy apple cheeks, and the breasts of a young boy. (see? Easy.)

So yeah, I don't eagerly wait around for a bro to whistle at me in order to "finally" get the "opportunity" to let y'all know about how flyyyy I must be.  I can do that much more effectively, by.. simply posting a selfie, or straight up saying "daaamn I look good."

mexican magic

 But that brings me to something I've struggled with for a long time-- the momentary self-consciousness that arises whenever I choose to draw attention to predatory behavior. Sure, it never lasts long enough to deter me from speaking out, but it does give me pause. Because, regardless of how confident I am in my own convictions,  I still painfully aware of how needlessly vigilant society can be about keeping our lady egos in check. And I'm also aware that any feminine display of self-importance is instantly regarded with a kind of hostility rarely afforded to comparably confident men..
Of course the irony here is, that being catcalled has NEVER actually made me feel confident-- if anything, it's only served to strengthen the tedious constraints invoked in this aforementioned brand of know-your-place backlash. Get it? Catcalling puts us in our place,  while speaking out elevates us. Hence, speaking out must also be turned into a punishable offense. (anything to silence the uppity bitches right?  Like, "be grateful men want to fuck you, and stop pretending to be offended.")
And because I sense that some people still aren't buying what I'm selling, i'll put it in very plain vulgar terms:

The thing I deal with, when I talk about being cat-called is a strange man-- usually  middle aged, fat, and sweaty-- going out of his way TO LET ME KNOW not only that he would like to fuck me, but that he derives pleasure from my visible anxiety and discomfort at his unwelcome presence. (Sexy stuff, right? Makes a girl feel like a million bucks... NOT.)
Can I get this made into a shirt?

 Because getting approval from gross-looking, Panera middle-managers named Chet does NOTHING for a self-respecting broad like me, maybe it's time y'all stop flipping my harassment narratives into one of forced-self empowerment. (cause like I said, I only have to post a selfie to feel smug and sexy.)

And that's not to diss (both) women who do (inexplicably) happen to thrive on street-side creep attention.
Like, if that kind of dynamic conjures up feelings of pride and confidence in you-- then, you're very lucky because you happen to live in a world that's tailor-made for your ego. But if you're anything like me, or pretty much any other living woman, you'll quickly recognize this phenomenon for the intimidation shit-show it really is... and hopefully, turn that anger into feminism.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

On body confidence

 By Anči

So I've been getting a lot of messages from friends and readers seeking advice about body image, and self-esteem... which I suspect has something to do with the dreaded advent of "Bikini Season" panic being shoved down our collective throats. (patriarchy loves coming up with new ways to shove shit down protesting feminine windpipes, eh?)

And because I'm neither famous nor unbearably in demand these days, or actually ever (though I've heard that's not something you're supposed to advertise? Oh well my wasp points were in the negatives  anyway..) I always take the time to answer each and every query...utilizing my exhaustive scope of registered empathy-for-hire, (which for a highly sensitive person like myself, tends toward the dramatic.)
Anyway... this compulsion naturally makes for an colorful communion of exchanges, with other women...which I fervently cherish, (as an introvert, inexplicably fitted with an extrovert's connective tissue. But we can analyze that anomaly some other time...)
But, because the letters I get are also very similar in theme,  I do end up repeating myself quite a bit... so I thought I'd tackle the crux of this body image issue in one sweeping, verbose motion. (with plenty of room for future follow ups in my inbox!)

So... I'm sure you've all heard the feminist saying by now, though it certainly bears worth repeating: "How do you get a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body." Succinct, and brilliant, eh?

Though yes I know, no punchy adage can undo decades of sexist conditioning, but it does make for a promising start, when the only alternative involves some degree of self-loathing.

Moreover how are self-described "bigger" women reasonably supposed to feel confident about themselves, when they're surrounded by representations of conventionally fit bodies?

First of all, take a breath, ladies. What I'm about to tell you, won't magically evaporate all your insecurities away-- but it should  give you the mindful skill-set necessary to debunk any abusive  self-talk.
So, whether or not you believe me, Yes you are. I am talking specifically to YOU right now, nobody else. (so don't over think this.) You are sexy, and it's your feminine birthright to own the crap out of that blessed certainty, with as much dissident daring as you can muster. 

I get it: it's a scary burden to shoulder-- after all, we're taught that beauty comes with a terrific responsibility to impress or 'deliver'-- but girl, you don't owe nobody shit. You don't owe anyone your time, your attention, or your respect-- just like you don't depend on anyone else's! Why? Because the miraculous fact remains that you deserve to take up space-- as much space as is required to comfortably accommodate each luxurious layer of flesh adorning your abundance.

And your abundance is damn sexy. From the alluring shimmer in your thigh which creases and crescendos every time you hop up and down, to the ripple that embraces your abdomen, with its notoriously demanding volume, every time you sit down or bend over. More than that, it's magnified by a  lover relishing in the generous expanse of your sinewy bounty, and then again by a child seeking comfort in your welcoming lap, (because nobody else's will do!) And girl, you radiate resplendence just by knowing  how freaking gorgeous you are--and not letting anyone-- anyone convince you otherwise. Because the second you give in to self-destructive habits, disordered eating, or similarly punishing behavior, your glory starts to shrink and diminish. And nobody is worth sacrificing that.

So ask me again how to reconcile the pressures of bikini season with the fickle immensity of self love. Or better yet, give yourself a giant fucking hug...
Remember, it's not for nothing you are somebody's source of comfort, and it's not for nothing that you're somebody's wild wellspring of unrestrained gropey passion. (that's the ardor your body inspires! And that's also the only narrative you should be internalizing... as long you never post any pictures. There is such a thing as too much luminosity see, and the corresponding cut-off wattage is generally heralded by the unscheduled appearance of its purveyor's pubes. ) Now.. ladies, carry that certainty with you-- store it in the softest corner of your gut-- until it unravels into a brilliant outpouring of warmth and self-acceptance.
Believe me, this will lessen the impact of the hoards of skinny bitches, paraded unceremoniously into your criminally violated consciousness... and will hopefully help ground you to a much more ancient fountain of feminine power. The first power. The one that you draw your esteem from.
Cause anything else is a manufactured mirage, cynically imbued into an elaborate reservoir of consumerist self doubt and guys? its foundation have begun to crumble.