In this era of Instagram, where female bodies are readily displayed and flaunted, what does it mean to be sexualized? What does it mean to be empowered? Do the two overlap?
When a young woman publicly (closed Instagram account or not) shares a sensual photo of herself, there can be a sense of self-actualization and acceptance, or denial and rejection.
The difference is not in the eye of the beholder, but in the mindset and attitude of the presenter.
We’ve all seen photographs of the woman who poses distinctly for men and who shares, almost offers, herself up for abuse (often confused with attention) via crude and suggestive comments.
These are the photos that cause us to pause as we’re scrolling. They make us stop and stare, and sometimes, we scream out. But, we still take a closer look and then quickly, knowing no one saw us, move on.
If we pay close attention, we can often find one who’s seeking affirmation from the outside while taking abuse on the inside.
It's the young woman who's traveled across country to meet said photographer in LA, the seat of opportunity. She's living the dream.
Staying on the posts a bit longer, we watch and occasionally, certainly more often than I’d like, the signs of abuse arise.
The teary photo morphs into a black-eyed photo with a rant about men, about the suffering and painful torture.
Then it goes back to the self-abusive, attention-begging photos. She lets us know that all is well in her world, a close up of her vulva on display.
The self-actualized sensual and sexual Instagrammer shares her stories of growth and empowerment with pictures, words and sometimes, her body.
These unsung sensations support and encourage each other, befriending the unknown from afar, developing a sisterhood that makes social media absolutely worthwhile.
They don’t judge the vulva.
They see her as they see themselves. They know where she’s coming from and what she’s been through or is going through.
The media is far more critical of us than we are of ourselves. It tells and shows us what is “right” and acceptable, and it is based primarily on the viewpoint of men.
They highlight women in movies, and define their character interpretations by body type, personal choices, dating choices, etc.
Gal Gadot has been identified as the new Wonder Woman, but her so-called racy photos (gorgeous, I might add) are being used to diminish the power of the role.
Can we have a strong, stimulating and carnal Wonder Woman?
Do we accept the super-heroine more if she is asexual?
Do we refuse to recognize that women are complete human beings?
I’d like to propose we skip the published reports of who we should be, and use our social media accounts as tools to strengthen our bonds.
If we cease judgment while sharing who we are without fear, we open up a world of acceptance in a safe place.
There is nothing any of us has been through or done that has not been done before.
We really can help each other through our shared experience. Instagram, Twitter or whatever other medium you like, are good resources if we choose to use them that way.
Empowerment is a team sport.
I know it works because I’ve done it myself. I’ve helped people, and they’ve helped me.