You Have No Right to Wreck My Shoes…

I did a shoot last Spring that’s finally up on the site where I do the nude (topless) modelling. One of the facebook “teaser” shots the site used was me in some sexy shoes; just my feet with some heels and the remnants of a reddish pedicure. These shoots are supposed to be representative of “real” bodies – crappy toe nail polish and all…

I have a facebook “model” account for this purpose and will accept any friend request with scarcely a question asked. It’s an odd account, as I haven’t the slightest idea of who most of my so-called friends are. Some of them are random men (unsurprisingly, but probably not more than half) which is what brings me to the point of this post.

I have no interest in feet, but I can appreciate the photographers’ efforts to accommodate all kinds of interests and proclivities within the various sets. However, the resulting message I got from one random “friend” still surprised me:

“I am not into feet, but your pic would wanna make me cum on yours lol.”
I ignored this for a few days, trying to figure out how, if at all, I would respond.
And then:
“Sorry Would you let me? Lol”
(I do so wish I could also paste the smileys he included in the messages as well)
I felt unconvinced that he was genuinely asking me for consent.

The lovely Sadey Quinn wrote about rape culture today, and I would argue that this is an example of it right here. While my knee-jerk response to his initial message was: “ew! I like these shoes. No!” This was immediately followed with “well what do you expect? You’re posing topless on the internet.”

My Darlings, this is wrong for a number of reasons. On the most basic level: EVERYone deserves respect. This person and I had no prior relationship that established any kind of consensual dirty talk or propositioning. For this man to think that it is acceptable for one of his first encounters with me to include asking to cum on my feet is at the very least vulgar and lazy.

And my knee-jerk reaction of  “what do you expect?” is victim-blaming. It’s a shame when it’s done to yourself, but internalized patriarchy is a bitch sometimes. Society teaches us to be ashamed of our bodies, and women*’s bodies in particular are regulated to the point of oppression. The very reason that I am involved with this site is an act of rebellion: no one has the right to tell me what choices I am “allowed” to make with my own body. And yet, it took me a while to realize that this man’s message was not appropriate, nor was I obligated to laugh it off or accept it as a matter of course.

It was of course incomprehensible to him that I could be participating in a site like this for any reason other than his titillation. Obviously if I am posing (semi) nude, then it must be to get male attention. Or perhaps female attention – but I’m sure he would feel that was dedicated to his gaze as well.

Even as I’m writing this post, I am struggling with the conflicting voices in my head: one telling me that I really wasn’t a victim, and I knew I would get comments like that, and he probably thought it was a compliment that I would appreciate; while the other is asking why it is that it’s OK for men to talk to women that way, why is it we value certain “kinds” of women less (as arguably, posing nude on the internet places me loosely into the sex worker category), why is it that many people would probably agree that I “deserve” those kinds of comments?

Rape culture teaches us that women are less important than men, that our bodies are there for consumption and commodification, and that our voices hold less weight and value. It’s a culture that ostensibly values “purity” and places judgement on a person’s “deservingness” of justice and respect- and sex workers, so-called sluts, feminists or any other kind of transgressive, confident woman does not fit into that category.

Am I broken by his comment? No. I’ve experienced a lot worse, as, I would imagine, has every women I have ever met.
And in response? I sent him this video and told him that once he had watched it completely, with an open mind – then we could talk.

*Cis-women, trans-women, hetero-women, queer-women, I am speaking here about any kind of female-identified body.

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Hyper-Fellating

I’ve been thinking about blow jobs of late. In the giving and receiving yes, certainly. But more particularly on the politics and power dynamics surrounding them. And while that’s an area I intend to explore further, right now I am simply reflecting  on how I’ve gotten to where I am today…

I remember learning; or more accurately *figuring out* what a blow job was in grade 11 gym class. My first real boyfriend didn’t come along until that summer, so I suppose I should be grateful that the entire notion didn’t come as an utter shock once *he* introduced the idea to me. Looking back, I find it amusing that the entire concept of oral sex hadn’t crossed my consciousness before then. And slightly more amusing at how little it took to figure it out.

A girl I was acquainted with was talking in the change room about meeting “Cedric” at a party, and how he had driven her home. And how else was she supposed to thank him other than blowing him? Based on the shocked/disgusted/judgmental looks on the faces of my other friends, I realized she had said something fairly shocking. I was fairly quiet as we walked to our next class, trying to figure out what she could have done to result in such a reaction from my fairly open and kind friends.

I knew what sex was; I wasn’t that sheltered, so I tried to sort out another activity from the context. OK: driveway; car; “blow job;” gratitude; not sex…Then it hit me what she must have done. Like a moment of divine inspiration.

Oh! That’s a thing! Interesting.

I then took a moment to process the idea that saying “thank you” is also a way of thanking someone for something. And I considered the notion that perhaps she was pressured and was trying to play it cool. Or perhaps she just liked doing it. I didn’t know, and I was too fascinated with this new concept to sit in righteous indignation over the actions of someone I only sort of knew, and really didn’t even like that much.

My first boyfriend Dave really liked sex. Ya know, not unlike many teenage boys. (If you are interested in my actual diary entry from the first time we/I had sex, please see here) And I can’t remember if it was him that told me that getting blowjobs was one of his favourite things in the entire world. It seems like something he would have said, so he gets the credit. It was at that point that I realized what a big deal it was to ALL MEN (at age 17, of course there are only absolutes). So I shrugged, and resigned myself to swallowing when he told me that it was the thing to do.

You see I never thought I would *ever* have a boyfriend. And sex seemed like some exotic thing that only the pretty and popular got to have, and I certainly didn’t feel that I fit into that category. Sexuality seemed to me more like a gift, something that lucky girls had the opportunity to express. I never judged anyone for it, nor felt that it was something that should be regulated or deemed bad or immoral. And if swallowing and blow jobs and sex were the things to do, then I would work with that. Now of course Dave was an asshole and told me that if I didn’t have sex with him soon I would be “forcing him to break up with me” and so I can appreciate the notion that I was pressured into it. I recognized the fact that I had the right to say that I wasn’t ready, but I somehow thought that he also had the “right” to express the limits of his patience. Ya know, and then make out with Maria at a party even though I *did* give it up, and then get annoyed with me for making an issue of it. Ah youth.

Anyhow, next came Rob in early University. He had more experience and would talk about how enthusiastically this one girl serviced him over the summer. I certainly don’t remember her name now, but I nicknamed her “hyper chick,” ostensibly because I felt energetic fellatio was the result of some sort of disorder. Or something. Anyhow, I was somewhat competitive, and as he was going away for a couple weeks, I wanted to give him something to remember me by. What I lacked in technique, I made up for in creativity and effort I’m sure – he received a very thorough blowing, and laughingly assured me that I had certainly guaranteed his fidelity while away. And from that, I was felt I had a skill. Blow jobs were now my *thing.*

Gawain tells me I have a “good sense of cock.” And while I find this assessment to be delightful, I still have moments of wonder at how that came to be. It’s surely a result of insecurity and naïveté in many ways. I didn’t want to be different or less than the other girls that I assumed were more experienced or skilled than I was. I had heard about being a “dead fuck” in high school, and it seemed like the worst possible thing to be. And this was from conversations with my girlfriends – not boys. But upon reflection, it made sense to me – why would someone want to be with someone just lying there? And it translated to blowjobs – why would someone want a blowjob from someone who was miserable about it?

I occasionally would like to speak with my 17 year-old self and have a calm discussion about proclivities and pleasure and manipulation and objectification. But the fact remains, a lot of this has been ingrained in me. And I also still have some sort of belief somewhere in there that sex is more for men. *Sexuality* is for women, but *sex* is for men. Ugh, so wrong and complicated and a little bit sad. But there it is. Something I am working to conquer. And I am so lucky to have a man like Gawain to work through this with.