Belenen (belenen) wrote,

fetishizing nudity: only I can give meaning to MY body

I recently overheard a conversation about how being "scantily clad" is a declaration that one wants sex, and it reminded me of being told that my clothing was "provocative" and more recently told that if I go naked in a public place, I am sexually harassing anyone who sees me, by drawing them sans-consent into my sex scene. In response to these ideas: "HELL THE FUCK NO."

The way a person chooses to cover or not cover their body is 1) not a declaration of any kind of desire 2) not inherently centered on the viewer and 3) not sexual in and of itself. People make these faulty and damaging assumptions because in our culture nudity is fetishized: that is, it is assigned sexuality. Thus "showing skin" is erotic: a sexual invitation or "provocation." It's not simply or inherently human to consider nudity erotic: if it were, the nudity fetish wouldn't vary according to culture. This is purely an individual fetish: one taught by culture but owned by each person. It being a common fetish doesn't mean that it is appropriate to assign other people's motives by, or to act on these assumed motives. If a group of people fetishizes tie-wearing, and they hang out with other people who say that tie-wearing is an invitation to choke people, that does not make it appropriate to assume that any person wearing a tie wants to be choked with it. Because people are never all the same; behavior and dress can never tell you anything unless the person who acts/wears explains those actions/clothing. Even if in all the world, there was only one person who ever wore a tie just for the look of it and everyone else wore it as an erotic choking device, you would still need to check with every person because choking a non-consenting person is a horrific act.

If my clothing or lack thereof provokes you, that's your fetish, not my behavior. When I go naked, I am not getting an erotic thrill out of it and I am not signaling a request for sex. I don't care what you think; you may call yourself aroused but you may NOT call me arousing (unless we have decided to have sex and are currently having it). You have the right to look away and the right to ask me to not be around you when I'm naked but you don't have the right to force me to cover my body. I wear clothes because the law will punish me if I don't (and occasionally for practical reasons), but I deeply resent this imposition on my bodily autonomy. Don't you dare assign my clothing (or lack thereof) any intention or meaning; only I get to declare my intentions.

Strange Children
Strange Children
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Tags: body image, clothesfree, social justice / feminism, the essential belenen collection

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