Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Revenge of the Finger-Guns

Body image as it relates to asexuality is something I've been meaning to write about for a while. It's something I'd be fascinated to see a study about, but I can't expect that to happen any time soon. As far as my own situation is concerned, I've noticed that in addition to an uncommon sexuality, I also have an uncommon body image. While I'm not exactly making finger-guns every morning in the mirror, I've realized that my body image is much more neutral than many of my peers' seem to be. In fact, I rarely think about my body at all, except when I'm pushing it's limits, such as trying to run more than a quarter-mile at one time. While I'm generally at peace with my body, I don't like to "flaunt it". I always enjoy compliments about what I'm wearing, but I'm uncomfortable exposing the body underneath. When most of my friends would wear heels and miniskirts to clubs, I would wear jeans and sneakers; who was I trying to attract, anyway? (Besides, when you're 5'4", everything's at least to your knees.) I don't care if people think I'm sexy or if they approve of my body. I've been told by many women that one reason why they seek sexual relationships is because it makes them "feel sexy" or "feel beautiful". But I've never understood what's so desirable about "feeling sexy" in the first place. I feel like I can look good whether anyone else notices or not.

And I wonder why this is. Sure, it could be because I'm asexual, and I'm not trying to reel people in with my abs of steel. But it could also be that body issues are just one of those randomly-distributed neurosis that I just happened not to get. Maybe it's because when that woman on television tells me about my "unsightly body fat", I am offended instead of in agreement. Maybe I've just accepted the fact that no matter how little I eat, I'll never have a "perfect" body, and learning to appreciate my given body is cheaper than liposuction. At a size 12, I'm a few inches past the ability to discuss your body problems in public; that's an opportunity usually reserved for the very thin. Since I've been the same size since I was in middle school, maybe I just got out of practice lamenting my body. So, there could be many reasons for my body positivity (or perhaps, indifference). However, a perusal of AVEN will show that there are many aces who aren't satisfied with the way they look. In many cases, it seems like people would like to look more androgynous, and I've heard women comment that they don't like their breasts. (If you're not planning on ever having biological kids, what's the point?) Or people would like to look plainer, so they don't attract sexual attention from people (would it be insensitive to wish I had this problem?). So I would theorize that while aces are by no means immune to body issues, ours tend to be different from what the mainstream might worry about.

If this wasn't enough body talk for you, Glad to Be A has written an interesting recent post on the topic...


The Impossible K said...

That would be an interesting study. I'd like to see the correlations, if any, between body image and sexuality.
I'm aware of my imperfections, but I'm not overly bothered by them either. And I do notice that when I'm shopping, the average ad doesn't appeal to me the way I think it means to...

Mary Maxfield said...

The asexual relationship to body image would be a seriously fascinating thing to study. I know that, for myself, (to whatever extent I "count" among the ace population), I didn't manage to escape the more traditional "oh god not a mirror" relationship to my physical self. I actually wish it did correlate, more significantly, with asexuality. Freedom from the body image crap would probably enough to make me buy the asexual label hook, line, and sinker. :P

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Details here:

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Superquail said...

I have found that my body image has changed since coming to China. Most of the time I wish I could pass for Chinese so I would get less attention. I have thought about dyeing my hair black or getting contact lenses, but there's nothing I can do about my fabulous nose!

Anonymous said...

I've often wondered about this myself. Personally I don't really understand why everyone's so hateful towards their body. I can't grasp the concept. Sure there have been times I've cursed my breasts and female-parts, but eh, I realize I'm stuck with them.
I've got a very mild feeling towards my body. I'm aware of what others might think about it but if they don't like it well...that's just their problem.
Adds on TV and everywhere that say to be "beautiful" you have to look "perfect" just piss me off.

What does it matter what your body looks like? You die and it rots away anyway (what a morbid thought D: )