In my last post, I made some sweeping generalizations; I admit this. Nope, I’m not apologizing for it; I did so because I assumed that readers would be intelligent enough to understand that 1) I was generalizing to include both men and women, and 2) by generalizing, it was a guideline and not a black-and-white rule. But apparently, I was wrong to give people so much credit and got some flack not for pointing out the issue, but for making it seem to them that I was meaning women, and that I meant all women everywhere. So though I’m not going to apologize, what I will do is try to clarify things and be more specific.
Apparently (from what I can tell, but I could be mistaken), my mentioning that the woman in question was posting photos of a risque nature and was not doing it as part of making a modeling portfolio got suddenly assumed that I was attacking women who like to show skin and saying that women who post risque selfies must be “commitmentphobes.” That was a false assumption, though, and not at all what I was saying; the showing of skin was not the problem, and there’s nothing wrong with a woman choosing to do so. It was merely one of several tells.
Let me try to clarify more with an analogy. Say the problem, instead of being a “problem,” is a duck. I mention that I know it’s a duck because it has webbed feet, it has a bill, it has feathers, it has wings, it lays eggs, it goes quack, etc. But people see I said it has webbed feet and see me say “so it’s gotta be a duck”, and immediately get angry because they think I’m saying everything is a duck because webbed feet are only on ducks. Except I didn’t say all webbed feet animals must be ducks; the webbed feet, in and of themselves, have nothing to do with the duck; it’s when combining all the pieces together that you see the duck, and sometimes all that’s needed is to say openly, “hey, just so you know, this here is a duck.”
So it can be with emotional health problems. Each piece of the puzzle combined point to the issue. Humans are creatures of patterns; there’s no escaping this. It’s merely how all human brains are built. We just have the capacity to choose and train ourselves to trade one set of behavioral patterns for another. Yes, human behavioral patterns are far more complex and based way more often on social constructs and interpersonal interactions, but it’s all patterns, just the same. The pieces themselves can be moot, and often individual pieces can be found in more than one kind of pattern; but when combined together, they point out the problem more often than we realize. That does not mean the pieces are all bad and have to go; but that also the pieces not being bad does not mean the problem does not exist or that it does not need to be at least acknowledged. So it’s a duck; but saying the duck doesn’t exist or saying I’m wrong to assume there’s a duck just because I pointed out we all can see webbed feet along with the other parts of the duck even though sometimes webbed feet are on frogs or on platypus and not just ducks is just plain silly. Yes, women publicly sharing risque selfies is totally acceptable if that’s how they choose to express themselves; there’s nothing inherently wrong with it if that’s how they enjoy expressing themselves, and yes it’s okay of that’s how they choose to seek attention and affection. Some women feel empowered by covering their skin, others feel empowered by revealing it. Either is their choice, and it’s not anyone’s place, especially mine, to say it’s wrong. And I’m absolutely not saying it’s wrong. Boudoir photography and even to some extent erotic photography are art forms I do love, whether amateur selfies or professional photo shoots.
That said, that does not also mean that no woman who does show off their body is ever using that as a way to avoid facing her own fears of commitment or that denying she has any fears of commitment is healthy. It doesn’t mean they’re always using it for that, but it also doesn’t mean they never are. It’s not a black and white piece to any patterns, and the pieces in and of themselves are rarely ever black and white. That’s why it was merely one piece of the pattern I was stating. The problem I had with the behavior of the woman in question wasn’t that she enjoyed showing off her amazing body; it was that she would use it to draw men in, then turn around and then lead men on in PMs, seeking emotional connections, but when any started to form she would run away again. It’s the treating men like emotional yo-yo ‘s and the leading them on instead of being more up front with them and honest with herself about her boundaries that was the issue. It was the way she was using her photos to draw men in, just to hit them with her emotional wall when things started getting deeper that is a problem; her constant back and forth lying to herself that she prefers being single and never wants to be in a relationship again when the truth is that she simply feels safer being single despite longing for companionship. There’s nothing wrong with feeling safer and choosing that safety over the risk of being hurt; the issue I was trying to point out is that lying to herself about how she really feels was actually causing her to hurt other people who were willing and even trying to take that risk with her, because by lying to herself she was also lying to them and giving them hope they didn’t have.
And I want to make it totally clear, before anyone decides to jump down my throat again: men do this to women too, and often for the same reasons; they often get labelled as players and all too often it’s glossed over as socially acceptable behavior when in fact it’s just as wrong, and it’s even more wrong to pretend treating others like that is fine. It doesn’t matter what sex a person is, what sexual orientation they are, what clothes they wear, or anything. The problem isn’t any of those things at all. The duck isn’t the webbed feet.
Just because it’s got webbed feet, doesn’t mean it’s always gonna be a duck; but just because I and other intelligent people can piece together the parts we can see and then see clearly that it is indeed a duck, doesn’t mean I’m attacking webbed feet or saying webbed feet are bad or saying all webbed feet must be ducks 😛 Also, just because I say “well because I can see it’s got all these different features including webbed feet, it’s clearly a duck” doesn’t mean I’m wrong or an asshole for saying so. All I’m saying is we need to all be able to say “yes this is a duck, and I know it’s here” or “if you want to deal with me, you just gotta know I come with this duck that you can see here.”
That small gesture, acknowledging our ducks exist either for ourselves or when people who care about us try to point them out for us, is sometimes all it takes to make living together on this big ball of dirt flying through space easier and less complicated.