Okay, this story begins with a photo that I decided to post on Facebook a couple of years ago. It was just me sitting at my desk, wearing only a bra. The bra was no more revealing than a bikini top would be. The photo was only from about my mid-stomach up, so that’s all that was visible.
Of course, there were the first few comments from guys praising it and complimenting me. Flattering naturally, but I posted the photo because I thought it turned out good. That was MY opinion, whether or not anyone else shared it with me.
Everything went fine until people from my family started to inevitably see it. They were not exactly happy and their comments reflected that rather clearly. One of the first to chime in was my grandfather, of all people.
For some context, I was raised by my grandparents and so they are more like a mother and father to me than they are grandparents. They are who I grew up calling mom and dad, so really this is more like my father than anything else.
He’s always rather brief in his written communications and if I recall, he simply posted a comment to the photo that said, “I don’t like.”
Ouch. Only three words, but they carry so much weight.
As I said before, I felt good about this picture and that’s why I posted it. People are saying nice things and then along comes my own flesh and blood and they tell me they don’t like it…as if my family hasn’t rejected me enough as it is.
Remember that old saying that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all? I can literally remember my grandfather saying these words to me as a young child. I thought it was so stupid back then, but perhaps I should have echoed them back to him after all those years.
I obviously don’t want my own father saying that he DOES like a photo of me in a bikini or a bra. That would be creepy. But if I was visiting him and my grandmother at the coast and was wearing a bikini top on the beach, would it be appropriate for him to say that he doesn’t like me wearing it?
I think not.
I find it troubling that if the article of clothing I was wearing in this photo was simply made using a different and more water-proof fabric, people’s opinions would change so drastically. At least I assume they would.
Besides, guys walk around during the summer time with no shirt on at all. And I get negativity from my family for wearing something that was essentially designed for swimming?
I call bull shit on that.
So as if that wasn’t bad enough…then people started adding more comments, criticizing my grandfather and even asking him if he was gay. Obviously these people were completely clueless to the fact that he was related to me, which I had to explain.
Still, that was hardly a valid excuse for making someone feel shitty about themselves.
I replied to his comment, making it as clear as I possibly could that yes, I was a sexual creature and that no, I’m not going to apologize for it no matter what people say to me or how negative it might be.
Forgive the language, but fuck that.
Things seem to calm down in the thread of comments for a moment, then a female cousin who is about five years older than me decides to chime in as well…
She starts off by acknowledging that we are all sexual creatures, but then tries to tell me that when I claim that my work is something I do of my own free choosing that I am making excuses for what I do and then insists that there is inevitable shame and disgrace in my work. She ambiguously states that there is “a reason” why I do it in exchange for “stuff or money,” but fails to share what that reason could possibly be in her mind.
I find this kind of bull shit enraging, to be honest. Clearly this would be an outstanding candidate for most presumptuous comment of the year for several reasons. What I found most appalling was the part where she implied, rather ignorantly, that I don’t have sex unless someone is paying me to with some form of compensation.
THIS is the misconception that I would like to clear up right here and right now.
I had to go on to explain that I have PLENTY of sex OUTSIDE of my work, and that as shocking as it may be to someone like her, I am not paid for the sex I have with significant others or random one night stands that I have for no reason other than enjoyment.
Do people really think this, or was she just crazy?!
Sadly, it seems she is not the only one. Since then and even before this incident, I’ve encountered many people who seem to share in this mind-boggling assumption:
Since she has sex for money, she must be having no sex unless the guy pays her
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
And really, who the hell does my cousin think that she is exactly? I would NEVER in a billion years think I had any right to stumble onto her Facebook and leave comments about how what she chooses to do to make a living has “inevitable shame and disgrace” or tell her that she was making excuses when she defended it by saying she worked to feed her family.
Why? Because that would make me a total idiot and an asshole, among other things I’d rather not be. Who am I to judge anyone else, and who are they to try and judge me?
It’s fine if others don’t understand how myself and many other women can possibly work as escorts. To each his own, right?
But when you start making judgments about other people who are doing nothing harmful to anyone else, that’s when your narrow mindedness becomes crippling and you start putting out negative energy that does nothing but make others feel shitty while reinforcing your erroneous sense of being high and mighty.
This is something I feel strongly about. The attitudes people have of women who are sexually free really needs to change. People should stop slut shaming and making outcasts of those in the sex trade. It just stigmatizes and isolates people who are usually decent human beings and want to live a happy life like everyone else.
If only the world would stop trying to make that impossible.