Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Placing the blame where it belongs

Although I kept complaining about how vague it was, I found Communion extremely thought-provoking, providing even more blog fodder than I originally anticipated...

In our chat, I talked with Fellmama about "passively accepting", but not loving, my body. I wanted to talk about the reasons why I hadn't loved my body, because they seem fairly different from the reasons I hear from a lot of women who aren't asexual. I didn't think I was too fat. I didn't care about being seen as sexy, sexually desirable, or feminine. If someone failed to love me, I knew that my resoundingly average body was probably not to blame. If it was, then that person is a sillyhead. I know that people of all shapes and sizes are able to find and keep friends and romantic partners. Before I knew I was asexual, I thought my looks were to blame for my never dating. But I let go of this idea when over the years, I saw people of every possible physical description get dates. Yeah, there are some things about my body I would change, but they didn't exactly keep me up at night.

What bothered me, though, is that our culture is constantly sexualizing and gendering my body. As I mentioned to Fellmama, appreciation of female bodies is almost always in a sexual context. I disagree with the gender binary, and I hate gender roles. And yet people will slap these on me, due to my female body. But the thing matter how I looked, people would try to place me in a gender box. Even with people who look very androgynous, the general response is rarely, "Oh! An androgyne", but "Is that a boy or a girl?" While bell hooks makes no mention whatsoever of nonbinary people, she did lead me to this realization: I don't want to change my body, but how my body is seen. I want people to approach my body without the preconceived notions of gender. But if the world isn't ready, then that isn't the fault of my body.

(Locals, don't forget! Pride parade is this weekend, and you can get more details here.)


Becky said...

My thoughts exactly. Exaactly. I'm pretty much meh about the way I look, except for what it means for how others sexualize me.

Ily said...

@Becky: I'm glad you could relate! That's always good to hear, thank you :)

Anonymous said...

As a guy, I'm in the opposite boat. People (read, girls) assume that I see them in a sexual light. I almost never give compliments (unless it's hair, shoes or something not related to her body) because of how it's percieved.

Clean-cut, skinnny white boys like me aren't a "sexualized" group, but everyone assumes we're all horndogs. And most are ... but not me. And I get this unfair reputation as a "skirt chaser" because I have a lot of female friends. It's rather rediculous.

I'm a 24-year old guy, and I don't wanna change anything about my body. I'm modestly handsome and quite satisfied with that. But I do wish people would see more than my gender and realize that guys aren't ALWAYS after sex.

Ily said...

@Anon: So it seems we're either sex objects, or constantly seeking sex. Our current ways of conceptualizing gender can be harmful for men as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!