“What does it mean when the tools of a racist patriarchy are used to examine the fruits of that same patriarchy? It means that only the most narrow perimeters of change are possible and allowable.” #audrelorde
I spent a great deal of my life policing my own erotic expression. From the clothes I chose to wear, to the way I configured my body within “public” spaces. Let me be clear, this was an intelligent response. It kept me safe at ages where I did not have the skills, voice, or center of gravity to navigate such ongoing assaults. It also takes a great deal of energy and life-force to decide when, where, how, and why I engage.
Continually hyper-sexualized, fetishized, and exotified, the level of objectification that orbits my existence is honestly inescapable. And to be frank, has been dangerous to my own life, at times.
Culturally, western understandings of sensuality and eroticism are limited and, in my experience, suffocating, aggressive, intrusive, and violent.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been posting photos of myself that are accompanied by my own musings regarding Eros. In that time I’ve received messages from cis-men that range from “you’re sexy, we should get together” to “boing!”
Let me be clear - I am NOT posting photos of myself so as to engage that quality and nature of conversation. My posts do NOT automatically grant others the permission to engage with me in that way. Arguments of behavioral justification stem from cultures of rape (i.e. “look at how she/they/he dressed - asking for it.”)
In fact, should the impulse arise to engage from such terrain, spinning ones attention to that place would be (in my opinion) time better spent. To sniff out, lick at, and roll around in the (collective) shadow, projection, and trauma that often perpetuates that form of behavior.
My musings that find shape and form through picture and words are an invitation to widen the narrative, and to break apart the cultural inertia that perpetuates harmful power dynamics that narrow the terrain of relational expression for all. To consider, from places of cultural impoverishment, other relational pathways that enrich and nourish the ground of connection. To sense how our eroticism is ecological, and turns on our co-creative capacities. And to create space for the multiplicity of embodied articulation.
I don’t expect our world to reach some utopic state where I don’t need to be discerning, boundaried, and resilient. I can, however, decide for myself what kinds of conversation and relationships I say yes to. Trespass, at minimum, I’ll block your ass.
Photo by my beloved Matt Huntze