So, I want to make it clear that I am not criticizing this person or their comment. But I didn’t know how to respond to it without just writing a whole post about it because this is stuff that I think about every waking second of every day.
So here goes. I got the following comment on my “You Don’t Scare Me” video, which I’ll put at the bottom of this post in case you haven’t seen it for some reason.
There’s a lot to this comment, and it’s nothing I haven’t heard before – I was advised not to post this video by several people with similar concerns, and I didn’t even ask my family for their input before posting because, well… there are obvious concerns to be had because, yeah, it’s possible that this video will invite more unwanted attention, but here’s… okay, there are a few things to say, here, actually.
First off, context. I think I provide a little in the description of the video, so I’ll include that here, too, and then elaborate:
I really struggled with whether or not to post this, and here’s why I am…
For years – my whole life, really – I’ve let fear control me. I know this video isn’t going to suddenly make that problems disappear. But someone on twitter told me that they saw in this video a series of little realizations I was having about myself – that I was gradually kind of… wading into my power and… I think, honestly, even though it sounds corny… I think I’m also coming back into myself. Back into my body. Back into letting myself draw a line between what I want and wanting to please other people.
That’s what I see when I watch this. I hope it’s what you see, too. It’s okay if you like my boobs. It’s okay if you hate them. However you feel about me, this video, any of my videos… is fine.
When I wake up in the morning, I’m still me. Every time. I’m always me. So I either have to embrace that, or reject it. The same goes for all of us. And I hope this video inspires even the people who hate me to embrace being their own “me.”
That’s all we can really hope to do, I think, in life. To be the me we want to be. And I don’t think the me I want to be lets this video sit in a dark corner just because some people will hate it.
The me I want to be lets the world see my imperfections and my scars and everything I used to think I had to hide because it was too dark or weird or vulnerable or scary.
The me I want to be is brave. The me I want to be knows that even if posting this did lead to bad things, that so can crossing the street. And if even a chicken can cross the road for no reason other than to get to the other side, so can I. So can you.
I don’t want to be more chicken than a chicken. I want to cross the street. I want to be the me I knew I could be when I was a little girl and believed I could fly.
I know I sound kind of insane. But I think if you get it, you’ll get it. And for me, that’s enough. That’s all I ever wanted when I started this channel. It’s all I can really ask for. To be understood by the people who are open to understanding. By the people who I can touch, somehow. I want to be that person for you. I want to be that person for me. And I hope… I hope my recklessness in doing this can inspire you to do something reckless, too. We all need a little bit of crazy. This world will break you if you let it.
Don’t let it. Write your own story. Be the hero. The people who try to tear you down are giving you a gift. They give you the opportunity to prove them wrong. And that… it feels like being on top of the world, to be honest.
Bravery isn’t the absence of fear. It’s deciding to do the thing that scares you anyway.
Thanks for being here with me through the scary parts and the sad parts, the hard parts, the way-too-real parts… Every kind message I’ve received about this… um… it truly means the world to me. You have no idea how important you are.
We are only as powerless as we believe we are. Let’s go kick some ass and conquer the world. Put your sweaty dweeb hand in mine, it’s time to show them what we’re made of. 💖🌈🦄
So, I think that… answers a lot of this person’s question, but not all of it. I guess it isn’t necessarily even a question, but I’m gonna try and distill what they said into the most basic possible parts, because, so… what they said was, (1) I don’t know how I wound up here, (2) I don’t know what the idea behind this video is, (3) “If it works, it works,” (4) But I would think posting a half-naked video would invite more harassment, (5) you look amazing, (6) just be careful, (7) I’m not a stalker, just trying to be a good person.
So… let’s go backwards. He says “before you say anything, I’m not a stalker, just trying to help” which, while a little defensive (the person I actually call out in this video is a literal nazi who has threatened physical violence multiple times and said all kinds of gross, weird stuff specifically with the intention of scaring me, so… the assumption that I have thin skin, or something, and think anyone who ever comments on a video is a “stalker” is a little… weird, but fine, given that I think it was just a gut reaction on their part to the weirdness of commenting on youtube videos because, like, the internet is weird. I’ll be talking more about this probably until I die because the internet is very weird) – ANYWAY while a little defensive, this doesn’t really bother me, it seems like they’re just projecting, a little, which is fine.
Okay so, number 6 is a tough one, so let’s actually go back to number 1, because… yeah, I can imagine if you just stumbled upon this video, it would be weird. That was kind of the goal, actually. My goal on youtube a lot of the time, is to make people uncomfortable. The thing is, people are always going to see me as a sex object. That is a fact of my existence. But I am much, MUCH more than just that – and my channel is largely my attempt to escape getting boxed into this narrow way that people want to see me, so, yeah. Making a video about sexual assault half naked actually seemed like a pretty logical corollary of that, to me.
And, yeah, people are often not going to know how to respond to that. That’s honestly kind of the point. The thing is, though, I think oftentimes people are just so focused on themselves that you have to do something crazy like this to make them realize that not everything other people say is about how YOU are supposed to respond. You have to teach people to listen as if they ARE you, rather than listening for the purpose of responding in a way that reinforces their own self-concept, which isn’t real listening at all. So, that’s one thing.
Another thing is, the word “invite” is a tricky one, here. But let’s… before I talk about me, let’s talk about people who bare their bodies willingly specifically for the purpose of social or economic gain.
Is that wrong? I’m going to say no. I think, okay… I don’t love the economic incentives our political system sets up for people, and I don’t love that one of the easiest ways to exploit it is to sell sex, because I think that if you want to keep your body or sexuality to yourself, you should be able to do that, and it’s coercive, in a way, on a larger scale, that the thing that gets people’s attention most easily is selling out by pandering to the least common denominator, whether that’s sex or, like, dumb shit. So that’s a problem and it’s hard to tease out exactly how “free” people who sell themselves sexually in either a literal way or by doing nude photo shoots or porn or whatever, it’s hard to know how free those decisions are – BUT I don’t see how that’s much different from anything else we do to make money under a capitalist system.
So, fine, qualifiers given, I actually think it’s often quite empowering when people do sell their bodies because, here’s an awkward thing – there’s actually a lot of stuff about being “hot” that isn’t pleasant or fun or sexy or cool at all. It’s a lot like being rich, where you can’t complain about it (and by the way, I don’t consider myself “hot” but rather, like, a person with enough positive features that people find her to be an easy target while also sexually pleasing enough to be shitty about it) – but anyway, people will try to take advantage of you and also see you as not quite human in the same way they are. Why? Because they see your problems as less real than theirs, because you have something they want, and can’t have, which means you no longer have a right to complain about the “plight of the hot person” or the “plight of the rich person” – which ironically, echoes the “SJW” distaste for hearing about the “plight of the white man” – and I contend that these are all for the exact same reasons, and NONE of them is justified. So, okay. There’s that.
ANYWAY the point is, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving into the temptation to objectify yourself, for a change, instead of letting people do it to you without your having any control whatsoever over the situation. Whether it’s porn or nudey mags or stripping, whatever, I think all that stuff CAN be very empowering, even if it isn’t NECESSARILY, it depends on the person’s circumstances and reasoning behind doing so.
Okay but… then we come to me. I have spent my entire life dressing in baggy clothes, blah blah blah, I’m already sick of hearing myself talk about this. But, the bottom line is, I don’t show skin. It’s not my thing. I don’t even like showing off my silhouette, so… while other girls I know have posted bikini pictures and all that jazz, I’ve been locking in a dual cage of body dysmorphia and fear of other people seeing me as a sex object my entire life.
So to answer this person’s question as I see it, and kind of just get to the point, uh… I got tired of doing things (and not doing things) not because it was what I actually wanted, but because I was afraid that if I wore certain kinds of clothes or said certain things or acted in a certain way, men would think I was a slut or available or… whatever.
I was – and still am – EXHAUSTED by the constant battle in my head of trying to decide whether I’m too insecure to forego wearing makeup and trying to look cute, or too afraid of being victimized to do anything but skip showers and wear hoodies until the day I die.
And more than that, I’m SO FUCKING TIRED of having my appearance be the primary thing I’m forced to worry about all day, every day, no matter what I do.
I. Don’t. Care. This person, this nazi guy, wouldn’t give a shit about me if I were a chubby dude saying the exact same things. The only reason I am made to feel afraid is because I have boobs and ideas at the same time. But I didn’t choose the boobs. I’m not ashamed of them. I’ve learned to like my body, sort of, now. But I don’t want the power they come with. I don’t want the responsibility of trying to decide whether it’s okay for me to wear a low cut top in public, OR whether it’s okay to just hide them and not…
I’m so tired of – EVERY TIME I LEAVE THE HOUSE – overthinking the consequences of either being too sexually appealing, or not enough.
Neither is fun. Neither is fair to me. I’m just a person. I want to live my life on my own terms, and if I had my way, honestly, I’d be naked 100% of the time because CLOTHES AREN’T COMFY OKAY. But I can’t be naked all the time, and I can’t make anyone happy no matter what I do or do not wear in public. So I gave up, and I made this video as a way of giving myself permission to have a body that I own, and that I don’t let other people make the rules about.