Scrolling down my Instagram feed daily, I am bombarded with photos of perfect women with outstanding bodies and gorgeous clothes. They are wearing just underwear, a white t-shirt and are on their bed among messy sheets or maybe sitting on the floor taking a photo in the mirror. It has hundreds of thousands of likes with hundreds of comments from girls all around the world who are envious of her perfect body, they praise her, wish to be her, even save the photo to their phone or repost it. Girls tagging other girls, because they just HAVE to see how sexy this woman is. She’s the ‘WCW’, she’s the reason you go to the gym.
There are millions of these photos across the internet and while some receive the inevitable backlash from the harsh world that is social media, girls like myself usually praise and worship these ladies. A huge percentage of the Instagram accounts that I follow are solely dedicated to photos like this. Women with toned tummies taking selfies in the mirror, bunches of girls posing together in their tiny bikini’s. Amrezy, Jen Selter and Markina are all great examples of women on Instagram that are adored worldwide for their bodies. But if that girl from your secondary school or one of your sister’s friends that you follow on Instagram, went out and bought some matching lingerie and posted a gorgeous photo of herself (even if it was tasteful), she of course, would be a massive slut.I want to know why we girls highly praise these people we don’t know and we love their photos but if it’s someone we know that isn’t famous or doesn’t have a certain lifestyle does it, then it’s completely unacceptable? Who do you have to be or where do you have to be from for these kind of posts to be amazing and not trashy? I don’t really have an answer… maybe young, wealthy and living in LA? Or perhaps a fitness enthusiast living in a beach condo in Australia? But it shouldn’t be that way… if you want to flaunt it then do! Of course there is a fine line between taking selfies in your bathroom in a mini skirt with your breasts hanging out and a natural or fun snap of you body. And obviously there’s a difference between being proud and showing off but loving your body is not something you should be ashamed of.
We Should be Empowering Each Other
As I have said in my previous post about women and our bodies, we should be empowering each other, not putting one another down. People are so quick to judge, when really its just a bit of skin… we all have it? Don’t even get me started on Free the Nipple! Recently Instagram and Facebook have changed their rules to allow photos of women breastfeeding or that have gone through a mastectomy to post photos of their breasts, but all other women are a no go. But of course men’s nipples are fine, the exact same thing that we have. Why can men pose topless and walk the streets in such a way but women’s nipples are feared and shamed? Nipples should be ‘private’ and covered up. Why? They’re not genitals, some men have bigger breasts than women but they are still accepted to be out in the open… I am completely for Free the Nipple but that’s a topic for another day.
And this brings me to the question of; why are these ’sexual things’ considered natural for men, but a thing to be judged when it comes to women?It’s because we’re not equal. Yes we have come so far in terms of rights, status and empowerment. Yes there is so much progress worldwide with people’s attitudes towards women. But what about our attitudes towards ourselves? I think we should be embracing our sexuality more than we are, definitely in Ireland too. Sexuality is a powerful tool and we should all be taking advantage of it for our confidence, our self esteem, our relationships and our health.
In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech in Beyoncé’s song ***Flawless (yes of course I am referencing Queen Bey) she addresses gender equality and feminism. She says “We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings, in the way that boys are” and I completely agree with that. Men seem to be allowed to be sexual creatures and be proud of it. The topic of masturbation or libido is open and honest for (most) men, but a taboo for women. Why are girls afraid to express their sexuality and be comfortable with their bodies, their desires and confidence when it comes to being sexy? Culture and religion is my best guess. I don’t know much about religion, and I am in no way against any form of it, but it seems to interfere with a lot of things. Certainly in this country, the church and all that came with it has in some way influenced every stroke of life. Family life, sexuality, politics, equality for gender, marriage and race. Very slowly, traditions are starting to change but I think it could be a while before men and women are actually equal. Everyone knows that the Bible associates sexuality with sin very frequently amongst it’s pages. Religion has added a great deal of shame and guilt around sexual urges and actions. I’m still here wondering why people are going by a book written thousands of years ago with outdated and shocking rules and teachings. With this in mind, there has also always been the double standard when it comes to sexuality. When a man gets with multiple women he’s a hero, but when a female sleeps around too, she’s a slut! No wonder girls have been forced into repressed sexuality and shame.
Women: Sexuality is OK!
I say it’s ok to be sexually confident. I’d love to see photos of my friends who are not afraid to show some skin and embrace their bodies, the way that the instafamous and men do. I don’t see why any female would be afraid to say that they enjoy sex, of course they do and just as much as men, maybe even more. Why not talk about masturbation and desires? It’s not a sin, it’s not wrong… it’s human. There’s a sexual revolution around at the moment and I think women should listen up. We should free the nipple, we should love our bodies and we should embrace our sexuality. It takes some courage, but when you push aside the embarrassment of being comfortable with your right to be sexual, then that’s just one more thing off the list of insecurities (and that can be a damn long list).
This time last year would I be writing an entire blog post about sex and why I think women should love themselves more? No, I would definitely have been too afraid of being judged. Judged by people I know, my friends, the internet, my family or even people I don’t know. Which right now in my life, I have realised is pointless. I say so what if I can admit that I enjoy sex, talking about it, appreciating parts of my body and also admiring other women’s bodies? I urge other people to feel the same and allow themselves to feel what is only natural. Power to women x