I don’t feel that I can speak to you authentically unless I am completely authentically me. To be authentically me, I’m going to have to reveal the things I fear others will judge me for feeling or doing. I know not everyone is going to like or agree with me, and that’s ok. But, the little story I’m about to tell you is the inspiration for this very blog you are reading. It’s a story about accidentally finding yourself somewhere you didn’t quite know you were going.
It’s a story about accidentally finding yourself.
I had a former friend once tell me that I should tell my story and that I should start it out with, “Yes, it fucked me up.” Truthfully, though, it didn’t. It woke me up.
About a year ago, I asked to join a suggested group that a Facebook friend was also a member. I thought perhaps there would be some funny or cool memes in there to post in our mutual group. So I requested to join. I didn’t read the description, although the title should have given something away (no I will not give them any publicity here as they have exploitative practices.) At any rate, I clicked request to join and was apparently approved. Later that day my newsfeed was suddenly flooded with poorly constructed and poorly censored racy photos of women. Having been somewhat into photography at one point myself, I was mesmerized by how easily these men were pleased by what I found to be somewhat sleazy poorly lit soft porn.
The images posted didn’t seem to have any real focus (other than “here’s my boobs!” or “look at my ass!’) So I wondered If I could create a seductive image, that gave nothing away–how much would men enjoy that? So, I threw up a selfie for approval. Once approved, I had around 3K likes in an hour. People were suddenly tagging me in other posts and asking for more photos. So I made and posted a few more. Within 5 days of being in the group, I was being voted as one of the top 5 “hotties” that should be in some makeshift calendar they wanted to produce.
It was madness. People were messaging me. People were harassing me in the comments. I soon befriended several moderators to tag, but whatever was happening was like a tidal wave that just took over me. I suddenly had this alter ego. I suddenly had “fans” and people wanting to know where else they could follow me? Was I a professional model? Was I a dancer? The male moderators liked me for the most part and my wit in handling many trolls on my own until I tagged one of them, but I was mostly just fascinated by the entire thing. I had recently come out of a bad relationship where the guy had really just wrecked my self-confidence, so yes- it was really nice to get all this validation, but it was also weird how some people connected to me on a parasocial level.
I hate to “Yadda Yadda Yadda” through some of this, but let’s just say eventually there was a lot of drama, and the group’s “management” split off into various sub-groups none of which ever attained the level of membership as the first. So, I looked for other groups to post my photos. By that time I had made an Instagram account and I really just wanted to practice growing it. My typical M.O. was to drop a pic, babysit the post liking the comments to drive affinity, and stick to myself. I would participate in a group request post (where they request a specific kind of photo), but other than that, I kept to watching my own posts.
And group after group after group it NEVER failed. WOMEN would demand for my removal. Women I didn’t even know. Women who had pretended to be friendly with me. They would say the most vicious and hurtful things, all because of some “attitude” they ascribed to a photo. Every group I’ve ever posted in I’ve been one of the top posters in the group, and in every single one some shitstorm blew up over one of my photos with women coming for me with proverbial pitchforks and I would get tossed out.
It was very emotionally upsetting. It was upsetting not because of what they said about my looks or who they thought I was as a person, it was the fact they said those things and all they knew about me was a photo that got more “likes” than theirs. Each time I was tossed from a group for that or for trying to defend myself against that, It would send me into the worst funk. I have always championed women to learn to be comfortable in their own skin; that another woman’s beauty is not the absence of their own- yet here I was reviled by some to the point they reported my Instagram account (then at 21k followers) to the point Instagram took it down.
I’m not a model. I’m not the most beautiful woman in the room. I have a flabby stomach because of having had a C-Section and the last year of grad school I packed on a few extra pounds. I really want them gone, but let me tell you-
Men don’t seem to care. They don’t. My being 25lbs heavier since I started the initial social experiment has not done one thing in regard to my ability to gain followers. Since the initial account was removed in April, I believe, I’ve already grown it back to almost 7K followers. I was relieved when the large account was gone. The large account overwhelmed me. I’m now building the account the way I always wanted it to be- more nouveau pinup-noire with a mix of new bohemiam.
I’ve realized from all of this how much we as women pick ourselves and each other apart, and then I look at these men who call me a goddess even though I look nothing like one. I want women to stop being so competitive with each other and see the beauty and sexuality that we still have even after kids and divorces and being knocked on our asses by life. Owning your sexiness is not a bad thing. I want women to stop worrying about eating the chips at the Mexican restaurant or missing out on the cheesecake when everyone else is enjoying it. Stop hating ladies. Let’s start celebrating. This is our time. We can own our sexuality AND demand equal pay. You can have it all that way. You can have your cake and eat it with joy.
People have often asked me what the end game is for the pin-up style Instagram. I honestly don’t know. It was an accident and social experiment that got away from me. However, I love to express myself through visual art whether the medium is photography or paint, and I truly enjoy making the images. Where some accounts are about sex, mine is more about creating the art of seduction.
So, that’s how we got here- an almost 40 (now 40) hot mess of a human being who literally just spilled her sausage biscuit down the front of her work clothes and can NEVER find her shoes is the embodiment of sex appeal for around 20K followers and growing (I have several platforms I use just to learn how to use the media.)
Here I am, Aphrodite in Real Life- I have no clue where I’m going, and what a long strange trip it’s been.