Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Feminism Strikes Again

I wrote my last post several days ago. I stalled for a while on publishing it, because I felt that it was a bit harsh. I'm not trying to make enemies here. Ultimately, though, I decided to push it through, because I concluded that my frustration was justified, and feminism (for all it might be good for) cannot go uncriticized. Echo chambers produce negative feedback. Treating feminism like it's beyond criticism actually harms feminism. And feminism is desperately in need of a rehauling. Anyway, I published the post this morning, and not twelve hours later I was embraced with yet another example of sex-hating feminist rhetoric (thanks, Facebook...).

Trigger warning: feminist rhetoric

It's becoming a pervasive issue: the sexualization of school dress codes - what could arguably be described as a spoiled teenager using feminist rhetoric to legitimize a tantrum by railing against male sexuality. Schools have a right to impose a dress code. If you disagree, you have the right to protest. If the dress code discriminates against you based on your sex (e.g., girls aren't allowed to wear shorts, but boys are), then that is a legitimate feminist issue. But by riding the wave of erotophobia, couched in misandrist language, this girl is elevating her sense of entitlement to the level of social activism, dragging feminism's reputation through the mud in the process. (And the internet is eating it up in droves).

Of course a girl should be allowed to wear shorts if it's warm. And it's inexcusable for anyone (male or otherwise) to suggest that she should cover up only because the exposure of her bare skin is making somebody uncomfortable. These are the problems - the real issues at play. Not "sexualization". I've got some news for you, honey. You're sixteen. Your body is sexual. I'm sorry that the attention you're receiving is making you uncomfortable (I'm certain your sexual education hasn't prepared you for this). But that's a fact. You can't change biology just because it's politically incorrect. And are you seriously making the argument that because 24 year old women's bodies are sexual, they can't wear shorts if doing so distracts men?

The issue here is that men haven't been prepared to deal with their own sexual feelings (did I mention that sex ed in this country is atrocious?). Whether you're sixteen, or twenty-four, or eight, or eighty, you have the right to wear what you feel comfortable in. Whether that's a burqa, a bikini, or anything in between. And as a nudist, I would argue that that even includes walking around completely naked - the argument doesn't change no matter how much of your body is on display (it'd be pretty disgusting - and nudism would fall utterly apart - if that weren't the case). When a man attempts to impose a dress code because your outfit makes him feel uncomfortable, he's trying to control your behavior in lieu of dealing with his own issues.

That is the problem. And fixing it requires acknowledging and accepting the existence of those feelings (which are not going away), not fabricating an illusive reality where the fact that men have sexual feelings is the problem, and eliminating them is the only or best possible solution. This is feminism's enduring fault, and why I can never fully get on board with it - adopting politically expedient delusions while willfully ignoring the evidence provided by reality. Real, positive change can never occur in opposition to the truth of human nature. I wholeheartedly support women's rights, freedoms, and equality. And men's sexual feelings should never stand in obstruction to these goals. But all this talk about "sexualization" is bullshit. Can we stop ruining feminism's reputation with this crap already? Please?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Definition of Feminism

fem-i-nism (noun)

1. An irrational and extreme revulsion to the idea of a man experiencing sexual pleasure.

2. An inability to conceive of the fantastic possibility of a woman experiencing sexual pleasure.

3. Belief in a sexless utopia where women wield all the power and men are treated like objects. (After all, turnabout is fair play).

4. (archaic) Belief in the fundamental equality of the sexes. (Note: though conceptually sound, there is no evidence of this usage in practice).

Reminder: Behind every cynic is a disappointed idealist. I fully support the doctrine of equality for all sexes and genders (among other things) - no matter what you call it (because the substance is more important than the label). But as a sex-positive, I am disgusted by the terrible crimes that are routinely perpetrated against human sexuality in the name of feminism. I've tried to follow some feminist groups in the past, out of a humanistic concern for the plight of women in modern society (what the culture at large insidiously interprets as "how can you not be a feminist?"), but they are, taken as a whole, infected by such an underlying hatred, usually of the sexual impulse (especially the male sexual impulse); and I can't be a part of that. My life and my mental well-being is better off without that incredibly toxic environment.

On a tangentially-related note, shame failed as a repressive tactic when human beings learned to respond to shame triggers with sexual arousal (in a perfect example of "you can't keep a hard cock down").

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What if somebody finds out?

Q: What if somebody finds out that I post naked pictures of myself on the internet?

A: What if somebody finds out? Finds out what? That you have a body and you like to be admired? Listen, if somebody finds out that you're a sexual organism, they're only proving their own stupidity, because they should have known that from the start.

We are long past the days when a person's value was measured by their so-called "virtue". You're not sleeping around. You're not getting yourself pregnant. Internet exhibitionism is the safest form of sex beyond masturbating in a locked room to your imagination (which is really not all that different). And it's a lot more exciting!

As long as you utilize basic internet safety measures - e.g., don't give out your full name and address, or tell people what school you go to - nobody's going to track you down or try to ruin your life. And if they do, they are the ones who are breaking the rules. Go to the authorities. And don't let anyone make you feel bad about yourself because of what you do. Because that's like letting the terrorists win.

Above all, know that you are not alone. We may be few and far between, but there are people like myself out there who will fully support you in what you are doing. We may not have the numbers, but we have logic and compassion on our side. And that's gotta count for something, in the long run.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

Crossdresser's Blues

I like women's clothes. I like wearing women's clothes. Not because of some weird sexual fixation, but because I think they're attractive, and I like seeing them on women, and I'm jealous that women get to wear such pretty clothes. I love dresses. I love them because they're elegant. They come in such varieties and such colors. And they're designed to emphasize/flatter the human form - particularly the curves of a woman's body. Whether it is for practical reasons or not, men's clothing is dull and boring in comparison. A person can look sharp dressed in pants and a shirt, but - and maybe it's a result of gender-based connotations, but still - they're just not as interesting to me as a beautiful, flowing dress.

Plus, few men's garments are designed to accentuate the parts of the body they don't cover (if there is any part they don't cover), such as the shoulders, the back, the belly, or the legs. And when they do, they either accentuate stereotypically masculine traits (usually muscles, or body hair) - which I don't find attractive - or else they demonstrate (unflatteringly) the cultural imbalance between the aesthetic value we place on men's versus women's bodies. (Yes, there are physically attractive men - even beautiful ones, occasionally - and a lot of men are pressured to be strong, and ridiculed for being weak - but we don't objectify and commercialize men's bodies to the extent we do women).

Although my non-stereotypical experiences have caused me in the past to struggle with the label 'transgender', I hesitate to call myself a cross-dresser because I feel that it belittles the fullness of my nonstandard gender identity. Dressing as the "opposite sex" isn't a performance for me. It's not a costume I put on only on Saturday nights. And whatever extent to which the appeal of women's fashion is sexual in nature (I leave that up to the anthropologists and psychoanalysts to figure out), this isn't something that's restricted to my so-called "bedroom activities" (as a matter of fact, I prefer to engage in sexual activities while nude - rarely are any clothes ever involved).

So there I was, dressed in what I would call my "conservative" clothes - which is my standard winter fare, during the bundled-up season when I'm feeling less inspired to look fabulous and turn heads - a pair of jeans and a tight-fitting t-shirt (under a thin hoodie) that would be downright masculine if it weren't covered by my rather more feminine jacket. In other words, I wasn't especially trying to pass as female (although I may be a little naive on that count), but I happened to have my hair down, and a random salesclerk gendered me as female. I knew this, because - as is usually the case - I was referred to as a "lady". I swear, to this day, it still catches me by surprise sometimes!

Now let me be honest. It tickles me pink when people think I'm a girl - because I want to be a girl - especially when I'm not trying. (And I really wish they wouldn't apologize if/when they realize their "mistake"). But at the same time, when this happens, I get a little bit anxious. Because the moment before, I was just minding my business, not even thinking about what gender I felt like or happened to be passing as at that particular moment (and this happens to me even when I'm out and about wearing a dress - how many women are constantly aware of the fact that they are female, downtrodden feminists notwithstanding?).

[As a side note, this is one of the reasons choosing a public restroom is so agonizing for me - why do I have to go through the mental gymnastics of figuring out what gender I am (hell if I know! - especially if it's neither male nor female) or look like (or even figuring out which of those two things is the more important), and then worry about what could happen if I make the wrong choice, just to be allowed to simply relieve myself? I might as well serve you a meal and then demand that you solve some age-old, unresolved philosophical quandary before you're allowed to eat it].

Anyway, in that instant, I become aware of my gender. Which, by itself, wouldn't be a problem. But now that I'm aware of the gendered perception others have of me, I become concerned with not disabusing anyone of that notion. Not that it would be so terrible, in most circumstances (provided I'm not, e.g., in the women's restroom at the time). But it's still uncomfortable. Firstly, that moment where somebody realizes they made a mistake (on something that's usually so straightforward as identifying a person's gender) is really awkward. I have a lot of empathy. And I'm also socially anxious. I don't want to make people feel bad. If they think I'm A, my instinct is to go out of my way to avoid proving them wrong, even if they're wrong. Maybe it's not fair, either to them or me, but my brain short-circuits in social situations, and I just want to have pleasant (and hopefully brief) interactions with people.

Secondly, if somebody thinks I'm a girl, that reinforces my own ideal vision of myself. The last thing I want to do is have an experience with a complete stranger where I'm grounded by the disappointing (and embarrassing) realization that I'm not quite who I want to be (and also the dysphoric experience of somebody else telling me I'm a gender I don't identify with, and not being in a credible position to argue with them) - especially if that realization occurs in a situation where the mistake is not simply a matter of misinterpretation, but where the dissonance between my biological/assigned sex and psychological gender identity is readily apparent (e.g., I'm wearing a dress, but I haven't sufficiently shielded my voice). Although I suppose it would be a positive advancement for the awareness campaign, I'm not looking to have the transgender talk with every minor NPC I come across in my daily life - especially living in a town that skews conservative (and prejudiced - the kind of town that proudly hangs Trump banners on the sides of their buildings - I shit you not).

Even more so, when I've just walked into a fashion boutique lined wall-to-wall with beautiful dresses - an array that causes my breath to catch, and my jaw to slacken. If I'm about to burden myself down with pretty prom rejects, with the expectation of trying them on, it helps my case if sales associates and passersby alike think that I'm female. Perhaps I don't give them enough credit - people can be surprisingly supportive sometimes. But then, not everybody is, all the time. I feel a little like an impostor, hiding under a guise - which I suppose doesn't help my case. But what for a woman is just the regular occurrence of reveling in fashion and finding something pretty to wear, for a man (targeting the same clothing) becomes an eccentricity - or, worse yet, an uabashed act of perversion.

Would that I could find a clothing store that caters to cross-dressers, staffed by individuals intimately familiar with the unique concerns that cross-dressers have. (And although I'm sure some of these exist, they're hardly as common as your typical women's clothing store). A place where I could feel comfortable browsing the racks, not overly concerned with the extent to which I may be passing. Would, also, that I could find more clothing designed for a man's body, but to look like the clothing that women wear. I can't tell you how many times - it's eerie how common this is - that I find a dress and the only reason it doesn't fit me is because it's too tight around the ribs, and I can't zip it up. Yet, at the same time, the bust hangs relatively deflated.

Or how many times I've found a dress that I've fallen in love with, and would be willing to shell out decent (maybe not good, but decent) money for, if only there were any conceivable possibility that I could actually wear it sometime, and not have it collect dust in the closet (might as well save a few bucks and let it collect dust on the rack at the store, no?). And the number one reason I'd not be able to, practically, wear a dress, is because it emphasizes my masculinity. Whether it's my broad shoulders, the flatness of my chest (and though some women have small busts, their cleavage still looks different than a man's pecs), or, especially, the bulge below my waist.

Unforgiving cleavage.

Doesn't hide my bulge.

Won't zip up.

Can't get my shoulders through the straps.

As I've said before, in a perfect world, I wouldn't care about any of these things, but I live in the real world, where the people I hang out with don't necessarily want to share the responsibility (and stress - I can't deny that it's stressful) of making a statement on gender nonconformity every time we make a trip to the grocery store, or where being too unconventional can actually get you banned from certain company, activities, or important events in the lives of others. It sucks to high hell, and I don't want to contribute to that status quo. But sometimes, you have to make compromises. And it breaks my heart to have to settle for clothes that "flatter" my figure (while hiding my "flaws"), instead of just picking the ones I love the most. But, I guess that's not so different from a woman's experience, after all.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Art and Exhibitionism

My interest in photography was not purely precipitated by my penchant for exhibitionism; records will show that I was taking pictures of clouds and sunsets before I ever posed nude in front of a camera (with one notable exception). Nonetheless, it is safe to say that if it hadn't been for my exhibitionistic curiosity, I would never have developed the experience, passion, and talent (such as it is) for artistic photography that I now possess.

When I started out taking pictures of myself - first as treats for a girlfriend, then later for my own amusement - my primary concern was the thrill of exposure (or, early on, the tease of near-exposure). And while I will not disparage that motivation - as, indeed, there is nothing wrong with liking to be looked at - one cannot deny that photography is a visual art, and creating good-looking pictures requires skill and determination.

I wasn't satisfied with remaining a garden variety pervert, and so it was that I aspired to become a better model and photographer. After all, you can still get the thrill of exposure from an artistic photograph; and though it is more difficult, the hard work that you put in is worth it, as it is far more rewarding to produce a potentially enduring work of art (that is, nevertheless, also hot) than a forgettable snapshot, the purpose of which is nothing more than to get your rocks off.

Furthermore, your efforts will lend sophistication to a much-maligned aspect of human nature. Perhaps not every amateur exhibitionist can live up to these expectations, but it's worth noting that something so ordinarily undignified as exhibitionism can, like anything else, potentially inspire one to greatness. For it is not exhibitionism that is inherently undignified - just many exhibitionists that are. And isn't that true of everything within the realm of human nature, according to the law of averages? Let us, then, refrain from making categorical imperatives, and instead give human diversity the room it needs to spread its wings.

(And legs).