I’m going to piss a lot of people off here but I can’t help it. There’s trouble brewing in this little heart o’ mine and when I feel it, it comes out. Like they say in the funny papers, I gotta be me.
I’m 50. I’ve been through a lot in my life. That’s not some kind of drama statement like “OMG I’m such a martyr you have no idea how MUCH I HAVE SUFFERED.” I have seriously been through a lot. Child abuse, incest, rape, prostitution, homelessness, and most of that before I was 18. There’s stuff I know about the human body and mind that most people don’t know. Some of it is bad and some of it is good.
It bothers me when I see this meme, conceit, idea that nudity is not sexual. This is generally seen in the context of the rape culture discussion. As in, a woman’s naked body is not inherently sexual and should not be taken as an open invitation for sexual contact. Watch out, cause this is where you might get pissed off.
The people who advance this meme are conflating two separate ideas and this is wrong. And dangerous.
A. “A woman’s naked body is not inherently sexual…” Human beings, like all mammals, are designed to procreate. Baboons are attracted to a spectacular red ass and the bigger the mane the hornier the lioness and people, god bless us, zero in on pussies and cocks and boobs and bottoms. I hate to break it to you, my fine friends, but nudity IS sexual. It is nudity which inspires the Pavlovian response of blood flow, fluid generating, vascular pumping, oxygen inhaling, pupil dilating wanty kind of need. The curve of a back, the line of a thigh, the soft pout of moistened lips, above or below, the turgid response, the convulsion of muscles, these things are necessary and primal. They are instinctive and in many cases involuntary and they are inspired by skin, among other things like intellect and humor and commonality.
B. “… and should not be taken as an open invitation for sexual contact.” What separates us from the baboons and lions is our brain and our ability (whether we use it or not) to reason and to obey laws and make informed decisions. Nudity is NOT an open invitation for sexual contact. Just because someone is naked doesn’t mean you can walk up and honk their hooters.
But if we are teaching children that it is wrong to view nudity in a sexual way then we are setting them up for a lifetime of confusion and self-doubt. Because when their bodies start to do what bodies do, and respond to nudity, then they will suddenly feel as though they are doing something wrong and they aren’t. As a species we have never done very well with sexual education. We swing wildly from sexual puritanism to sexual perversion and there isn’t any in between. A meme that says you should not view nudity as sexual is setting people up for a life of frustration. And from sexual frustration bad things come.
Here’s the irony of what happens here on tumblr and elsewhere in social media. We spend a lot of time glorifying the act of sex. We are free to view images of butt plugs and cum shots and fucking in swings and fucking outdoors and fucking fucking fucking. We like cut abs and perky asses and fabulous boobs and great big handfuls of long hair and collars and crops and fucking in heels and fucking on flour-dusted kitchen counters and then we reblog memes that say nudity isn’t sexual. We wear lingerie and pose provocatively and we place fingers in sexy places and document our sexy times and our lonely times and we do all of this nude which is wonderful because nudity IS wonderful and then we reblog memes that say you should never ever view a naked body as sexual and it’s wrong to fetishize any body part. And then we focus on that very body part.
We are missing the point. We should be teaching children to understand their bodies and to glory in the fact that we are designed to feel so much pleasure with other consenting people and alone. We should be teaching children that it’s only natural to feel something when you see that beautiful brown-haired girl walking down the hall in the morning sunlight. That it is a wonderful part of the human condition to look at that handsome boy and daydream about making out under the bleachers. These are happy things. We should definitely NOT be talking about nudity as if it shouldn’t inspire these feelings. It’s a bad business and it’s dangerous.
And just in case some of you still aren’t pissed off, here’s another thing. Nobody asks to be raped or enjoys being raped or deserves to be raped no matter what they are doing or wearing or saying, or how they are behaving. In a perfect world, you could wear/say/do whatever the fuck you please and everyone would just leave you alone.
But this ain’t Xanadu my friends. This is the real world and in this real world there are predators and psychopaths and all manner of bottom feeders who are just waiting WAITING for an unsuspecting moth to flit into their net.
Don’t be the moth. Protect yourself. Teach your children that no means no but there is nothing shameful about becoming aroused. Teach them that they should mind who they trust and dress appropriately and have manners and protect themselves and live consciously and have self-control because modern life is no picnic and if they are not paying attention you can be sure that someone out there is. Rape is about violence and power and just like in the animal kingdom, rapists go for the weakest member of the herd. This is a fact. It shouldn’t be that way but IT IS. You can take it from me. Once you have been raped you will never ever ever be the same. NEVER.
Nudity IS sexual and that’s ok. But no still means no.
If you want to reblog a meme, let it be that.
Eloquently said and, in my opinion, entirely accurate.