Why Girls Really Post Explicit Photos (and How it Really Makes Men Feel)
I’ve been told I have terrible taste in television.
And that’s a fair statement considering that lately, I’ve been eating up excessive amounts of TLC’s Gypsy Sisters. I really didn’t think I’d fall victim to it but one day, while flipping through channels, I saw two catfights and horrible crimes against the English language and for some reason, got hooked.
There is, though, a method to my madness.
Today, while my new show was on commercial break, I turned to my phone for entertainment during the intermission. I came across the photo profile of a rather beautiful girl.
Beautiful women always seemed to ignite a curiosity within me into their lives. I felt that maybe, they led these interesting and fun-filled lives that were so extraordinary that I myself might, for a brief period of time, be made to feel ordinary.
As I scrolled through her photos, I couldn’t help but realize the increasing explicitness of her posts. And what came to stand out more than the natural grace of her face was…her butt.
The more I scrolled, the more of her body I saw. I couldn’t comprehend why someone this beautiful would feel the need to post these tasteless photos. I wondered if I was being too judgmental or too pretentious, but I truly felt that she deserved better than to be reduced to this.
That is, until I overheard the conversation taking place on my tasteless show.
I tuned in just in time to understand what was happening. One of the gypsy sisters had suggested flashing the people of New Orleans in order to get beads during Mardi Gras.
The tour guide had responded with a simple, but meaningful statement:
“The locals don’t do that. Only the tourists flash people. The locals know that they’re gonna get the beads anyway. So really, there’s no need to.”
If I hadn’t been looking at these photos, perhaps I wouldn’t have understood the significance of what the tour guide was saying. But I was.
And I did.
The truth is: I think we’ve all been there at some point in our lives. We feel like we have to over-compensate for something, anything. We might feel that we’re not smart enough, not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not rich enough, not cool enough, and the list just goes on and on and on.
So we find ways to draw attention to other parts of ourselves, our lives, or our bodies to remove the attention from where we don’t want it to be. It’s also safe to assume that everyone is ten times more aware of their flaws than anyone else. We tend to magnify our imperfections and minimalize our assets. And how sad is that?
I think that women think that if we show ourselves off, it gives men something to lust after. And while that’s true, they’re only lusting after what we show them. And if all that they're seeing is our body, all that they'll want is our body.
But if it’s our accomplishments, our wisdom, our education, our passion, and should they be so wise as to be attracted to that, then it’s not just our bodies they want. But our minds and our spirits and our intellect.
I think the other reason we do it is to make other women jealous. So we’ve created this culture of women who are all head-to-head with one another to see who can get the most naked, who can get the most likes, and lose a lot of their respect in the process.
Now I’m not suggesting that we sit down and wear aprons and become housewives. But I am suggesting that we did not fight and march and demand the right to vote to maintain and sadly, expand our reputation as sex symbols.
If you think about it, women like this have a habit of throwing the whole steak to the dogs. We let them eat it all in one bite, and wonder why they want it all at once all the time, or leave after they’ve had their dinner.
And if you think it's inappropriate or rude to be comparing men to dogs, I ask you to please consider how often women are referred to as bitches. Even amongst themselves.
This new perspective provided me with three small, but significant lessons.
The first is that there is knowledge everywhere, if you are willing to be a student. You could be watching trashy television, talking to a child, or in a class. If you are willing to learn, the universe is willing to teach.
The second is that there is a huge difference between tourists and locals. It’s up to us to portray ourselves accordingly. Tourists are here for a good time, not a long time. They can come party and drink all the alcohol they want and not worry about what they do while they’re here, and might not remember it anyway. And while the romance of this idea is so intriguing for many of us, we have to establish a home base somewhere, sometime. Locals might not be as exciting, but they know what they’re doing. And they know they’ll get the beads.
Lastly, it’s not one’s face that makes them extraordinary. It’s not their body or their poses or their captions. In the same way that it’s not one’s lack of beauty that makes them ordinary. Instead, it’s the choices that they make, the choices they do not make, their self-portrayal, the understanding of their worth, and the beauty of them figuring that out independently that makes them extraordinary.
When another commercial intermission came, I revisited her profile. I had tried to give her the benefit of the doubt and suggest that maybe she was reclaiming her womanhood and celebrating radical feminist theories. Logic and probability told me that it was likely not the case. Hiding or running away from her flaws? She didn’t appear to have any. Low self-esteem? Perhaps.
But the most likely answer was that she was figuring out her worth. And a couple hundred likes on a nearly nude photo might seem like her yellow arrow to "worth" and "significance". But it is misguiding.
A lot of things are misguiding.
Listen to me carefully: breasts and butts are located in the same place on every woman. As are the other sacred parts of their bodies we have come to devalue. You might know where to find her heart and her brain, but without heavy pursuit, you will never learn what is inside of it. And if we don't make it worth the wait, and certainly worth the while, he won't care to look for where your beads are hidden. In turn, you won't get his.
Sometimes we have to trust that we are enough. In our natural and bare, but not bare naked, state. We have to believe that fully clothed, and soft-spoken, we can get our messages and points across loudly and clearly.
We have to believe that we too, in our own flesh and skin, will get the beads anyway.