IG "SLUT SHAMING" & BECOMING YOUR OWN MUSE

 

Since last week we left off on the topic of Instagram and selfies, I figured I’d just pick up from there—as sad as it is I think I could write an entire fucking book on the subject. Now that I got all the photoshop shit out of my system, I’d like to focus on IG “slut shaming,” something I’ve (mildly) dealt with that totally baffles me. We live in a world that demands sexuality and shoves it in our faces at every turn, yet when we’re free and comfortable enough to embrace it ourselves we’re guilted into feeling like whores.

 

Before I really get into it, let’s first define the term slut. What makes a slut? In my mind, it’s all subjective. I mean, I use slut as a fucking term of endearment with my best homegirls. I’m sure a plethora of old-school feminists would read that and be horrified, but to me it’s just like “bitch”—taking labels created to make us feel insecure and playfully stripping them of that negative significance. Now that doesn't mean I haven’t called a chick a slut and meant it the bad way—if you ask me, what makes someone a slut is sleeping around with people in ways that fuck up other existing relationships. If you home-wreckin’, you a slut to me. But sleeping with as many people as you want without mad receipts and sloppy evidence to show for it? Do you ma, just be low and safe.

 

The other day I read something that really intrigued me; I’m not sure where I saw it, but it was something along the lines of “Instagram turns women into whores.” When I first got my IG account, I was 21 and still in a relationship with my ex. Initially, selfies were very scarce. I mostly used it to take photos of my dog and food. Not that I didn't take selfies at all—I’ve been taking those shits since I was like, five—but when I looked in the mirror, I saw nothing I felt like sharing with the world. Mentally, I was in a completely different space than I am now. I had zero confidence. Even my sense of identity had dwindled into the depths of a no longer stimulating, four-plus-year relationship. I’d gained over 40 pounds and lost most sense of myself.

 

 

When we ended things, it was literally like taking a blanket off over my head after being in the dark since 18. It’s not that we had bad times together; I just became engulfed in something so intensely that I couldn't even recognize myself anymore. And as soon as things ended, I was onto the next. I was determined then to truly become the person I wanted to be, the fresh start I so desperately needed to reclaim myself. Suddenly free and single at 21, Instagram became like a new outlet for expression. With an exciting new job on the horizon, traveling the world, and an even more titillating new relationship budding, everything began to change little by little.

 

I started losing weight at a really rapid rate—between boy stress and the number travel does on my stomach, I was back to my 18-year-old weight in under a year. I started to see the girl I wanted to see in the mirror; I didn't have to contort my body into weird positions or suck-in to the point of faintness to make the sight bearable. Even if it would take time, I was starting to see that I could really shape myself however I wanted. If I always wanted my hair to look sleek and beautiful, I’d just have to straighten it. If I wanted my ass to be higher and tighter, I’d just get on the squats hard. Maybe this all sounds very vain, but it’s just the path I put myself on for physical acceptance. Instead of crying about my weight in the mirror, telling myself I hate myself (which, if you’ve had weight issues, you know is a very real moment—looking at yourself and literally saying “I hate you” without any doubt about it), or throwing up all my meals into the toilet, I decided to become my muse.

 

 

I remember my first “risqué” selfie very well. I was in a beautiful hotel in Paris one morning, getting ready in my bra and panties in front of the mirror, and I looked up and thought, “Wow, not bad.” I stood up on a stool and took, what is now in retrospect, a very tame photo—covered in an untied white terry robe, you could see a peek of my torso, thigh, and the pink lace thong hugging my hip. After I posted it I remember this slightly warm feeling came over me, like when you’re the only one who knows a naughty secret. Of course my brother made fun of me for it, but that was a defining moment. From there, it was all about perfecting that girl in the photos—evolving her, adjusting her. I’m not talking about plastic surgery or augmentations either when I say ‘adjusting’; it’s more like seeing myself through that lens creates another level of perception. You suddenly become more aware of yourself; your greatest critic, in a productive way. So perhaps that’s what they meant when they said Instagram turns women to whores—I think it just makes us self-aware. That said, it certainly makes a lot of people just as delusional.

 

Look, some girls on Instagram are whores. Just because I love a tasteful selfie, doesn't mean I love all selfies. I can’t stand girls who picstitch 10 selfies into one, I can’t stand when a girls page is entirely selfies. Like, don’t you have other interests besides yourself? At the end of the day, you still gotta be an “Intellectual Hottie,” my favorite Ricky Powell term of endearment. Ultimately, I don't think its fair to throw all us sexy-selfie girls into the same category. Like what makes a slut a slut, it’s subjective. If you go to some ratchet broads page and my page, you can surely tell the difference in our approach. It’s really all about how you present yourself. You can have a tasteful black and white nude where you see the aesthetic nuances and know, “Ok, there’s a bit more to this than just sex,” and then you can see a chick bent over the mirror in a thong with her room lookin’ a goddamn mess talking about “It’s lit” or with some dumb ass Chris Brown quote under it, and you know there’s nothing more to it than plain thotiness. I’m not trying to claim that all my selfies are art or "classy," by the way…although surely, quite a few are. Wink wink.

 

 

If some of you actually follow me on IG, you may remember a post from a little while back where I briefly addressed all this. At one point there were a bunch of girls throwing shade over such photos, posting things in rebuttal like “I don’t have to show my body to know how much I’m worth” or some stupid shit. OK bitch, *slow clap*…are we supposed to throw you a party? If you don’t fuck with it, don’t, but all that arrogant, holier-than-thou shit infuriates me. This shit isn’t about my worth. It’s not that serious. And I’d be willing to bet those same chicks have had way more dicks in them than me—no shade, just sayin’. In that post, I addressed the fact that had I been posting risqué selfies when I was chubby (fucking hate that word btw), the same girls would be clapping and shouting “You go girl!” Posting a photo of myself at 160 lbs in my undies would have gotten responses like, “I love her confidence,” but the same photo in the same outfit now? “Attention-thirsty hoe.” Someone tried to argue that my point was null, because there’s actual bravery in a “bigger” woman flaunting her body, whereas girls like me lack it. To actually quote them, “You’re a conventionally attractive girl and you think you’re being brave or some shit by posting a pic of your body? LOL. Of course ppl would praise a chubby chick as brave – cause that shit IS brave!” There was more cuntiness but regardless, my point was: I’m not trying to be brave, I’m just defending my right to be the person I want without invalidated judgment from people who don’t know me, especially with such irony and hypocrisy involved. And yes, it is brave when women outside that “standard of perfection” are comfortable with themselves and flaunt it—unfortunately I wasn't that brave when I was at that stage in my life. But shame on me for making up for it now!

 

Another thing I’ve realized about this debate of what makes a girl an IG slut is that a lot of it has to do with cultural differences. I was born in France and raised by a very French mother, and even with the extremely aggressive Brooklyn upbringing, I’ve always been very in touch with that side of myself. In France, women’s breasts aren’t hidden like they are in America. You see them in ads on the street, in commercials, on billboards—it’s beautiful, natural anatomy, what’s to hide? And who the fuck is America kidding with that shit? You can’t show a nipple on the Internet, meanwhile half the country is rocking silicone titties. The irony will never cease to befuddle me.

 

Growing up, I always loved looking through my moms adolescent photo albums—it was like looking straight into Brigitte Bardot’s scrapbook. Gorgeous sepia-hued photos depicting my young mommy and her beautiful French homegirls frolicking about St. Tropez, 16 or 17 with bronzed titties and little tie-side bikinis out on the beach. I think about those photos all the time. That freedom, that youthful abandon, and with nothing “slutty” or “disgraceful” about it. Just girls having fun. My mother carried those same values into her method of raising me; tres French, tres sexy, tres Jane Birkin. At 14 I was already getting La Perla panties under the Christmas tree. Even though I didn't have my first sexual experience until 18, that seductive influence was always there.

 

 

I guess that’s my speil. Do I need to justify myself to Internet haters, repressed bitches, and those who pass their outdated judgment on me? Never, but I still think it’s an interesting thing to dissect. Some of my girls have boyfriends who would strangle them if they posted the kind of shit I post, but my man has no qualms. I think it’s because he knows that at the end of the day, he’s the one I press my ass against to sleep every night. After my ex and I broke up, he’d occasionally text me angry shit like, “You’re a disgrace to your family with those photos you’re putting on Instagram,” and I’d literally laugh out loud. We obviously come from different families then guy!

 

So in conclusion: be your own muse, create the life you want for yourself, and never let a stranger try and tell you who you are. I don't know all the answers, I just make them up as I go. See y’all sluts next week!
5 comments

By Benecya, on

Thanks for this post Tabby-cat. The person advocating for big bitches sounds lime green jello and/or is hiding a tuna melt in their purse. Message to said person: You don’t have to hide the melt! We’ve got palm trees for all the shade don’t trip! Join US! Lol PS self-loathing is just as unproductive as being self-absorbed, encouraging one another to get naked begets self-assurance!

By jlasoul, on

I haven’t been on here in awhile and I’m pleasantly surprised to see you’re back Tabbbbb!

By Kelly, on

“The irony will never cease to befuddle me.”

So happy you’re back Tab. Not only are you the Queen of Selfies, but the Queen of Prose. *Bless

By Simona Lee, on

So your single want to be my gf? Love your blogs for 5 years now

By Lucille Skjarstad, on

the way you write is so real and raw. you always provoke thought.
keep doin you mami, real bitches love that shit.

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