I remember being so frustrated as a young woman who stripped and posed nude because of what people assumed about me.
Since I was a stripper, I must also be a whore. I must also be a slut. I must also want to be talked to like an object.
This was probably the most infuriating aspect of my adult entertainment experience. I didn’t know how to put into words what I felt.
The actress and feminist Caitlin Stasey says it so well in Jezebel’s When a Magazine Only Wants You If You're Willing to Pose Nude.
But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Nudity in the abstract is not the issue, and my body is not the issue either. What is the issue is the way that many men like Ben Naparstek-your-head-in-the-oven believe they have an inherent right to both because of my recent projects and my candor. It’s the same logic we apply to a woman’s sexuality. Just because she’s fucked one guy she must be available to all of them, right? Just because she’s wearing a short skirt, just because her shirt is sheer, just because she is a woman, she must be available to me.
Men were surprised when I didn’t want to be paid to have sex.
Men were pissed when I didn’t show them everything they wanted.
Men were enraged when I told them the truth.
Why was I making trouble? Why was I fucking with their view of women? Why was I insisting on being a person with my own ideas and feelings?
The sad thing was that often I listened to what they said. It’s not that I didn’t know I could say differently and stand up for myself, but that I was not properly equipped to do it.
I was young. I was scared. I was vulnerable.
Today I am still trying to impress completely upon myself that I have agency and that I make the decisions about my body and it doesn’t matter what others think.
I have a right to be who I am just as I am. Clothed or naked.
I do not need to explain my choices to anyone if I don’t want to.
It’s been a long journey to get to where I am today and I am grateful for who I have become even as I acknowledge I still have a long way to go to truly understand and forgive myself.