There is this message board that I used to frequent that I have since given up on over the last year. The reasons are pretty simple, its full of angry, simpering people with issues and axes to grind. It got out of control years ago, but I stayed, thinking that at some point it might get better. It didn’t, and I bounced. These days I try not to associate myself with things that intentionally irritate, rile or piss me off. The folks on there are welcomed to stay, for my purposes though, its just too damn negative. That’s really not the point of this post, but I do have to give some sort of set up to the story.
In a weak moment a few days ago I decided to skim this den of debauchery and anger, you know wondering if some of my old buddies might be lurking. In fact, the boyfriend’s cousin is on from time to time, and we don’t nearly get a chance to talk enough for my taste. He always has a thought provoking thread or two, and that I really like. Anyway, I came across this posting from a guy that I have only met once in person, but as with message boards, I know more about him than I probably should. He is also a blogger and sometimes I will read what he has to say. He has quite a following from what I gather. In any event, something set him off and he was ranting about women and their body issues. How when we question what we look like or we dont strut around like we rule the place men dont find us sexy, they find us pathetic. The jist of the thing was how what men find sexy is confidence.
I don’t personally have any issues with that assessment, sure confidence is sexy, but I don’t really think men know what real confidence is. I think they believe that the puffed up sex vamp behavior that is clearly a put on is really female confidence. You know, the girl you see wearing her club tops to work with meat squishing everywhere trying desperately to walk like her feet aren’t in two stiletto vices? Yep, her. The one alluding to sex in every convo, the one flirting with every man in the area, or better yet the one tossing her hair and bouncing around like a stripper pole is going to magically spring forth from the ground. Yep, that’s their idea of confidence.
Some of us figured that act out back in 9th grade after a few mini skirts and low cut tops got the guys drooling, but really is that confident or just good acting? I don’t really know any women who go through all that bullshit for themselves. The point he was trying to make is that when we are all just wandering around taking care of business in our homes and families or are concerned that perhaps we have put on a few pounds or desire a new hair style, we are at our lowest level of confidence. That switching and tossing is when we are in command. To him I say in the kindest way I know how, “Go fuck yourself”.
I don’t want to get into this guys illustrious former career in the porn industry, or the fact that his fiancé knows nothing about it and I wont even bother going into how some of that feeds into women’s feelings of not measuring up. I don’t hate porn, but I wont pretend that it doesn’t warp a lot of men’s ideas about women and healthy sexual behavior. I will however address the fact that men are idiots. I don’t know why this continues to boil up every time a woman doesn’t feel good in her skin, but let me tell you we ALL have issues with our self esteem, (ahem penis size) and it goes a lot deeper than confident=sexy.
Back in the days, when I was young and naive, I too thought that if I just whored it up a bit that people would see me as strong and confident. I got a ton of attention, but what I never got for it was self esteem or respect. When I see girls and grown women playing Jessica Rabbit now, the whole scene just reeks of insecurity. I wonder what must she think is so painful and damaging about the real her that she needs to cover it in an obvious disguise? I didnt feel good that way, and I cant imagine that they do either though of course you tell yourself otherwise.
My friend themakeupgirl and I had a discussion about this in regard to Mariah Carey and her choice of outfits. I love Mariah and I am a die hard stan, however when I look at her, I see pain and confusion. We agreed that at a certian age you should have acquired life tools that show you how to be sexy without being naked. She would still be fabulous without all the T&A if she just knew how. She could be very confident in her voice and her writing, but those outfits clearly dont give that impression.
I am confident in my work life, I am confident when I am taking care of my son. I am confident in a pair of jeans or fixing a doorknob. I am probably more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have been and yet if I am not playing Vicky Vamp for a man then I am suddenly not confident. I don’t want to launch into a tirade about it because I am just not sure it even warrants one. I like getting dressed up, I like being cute, but whether or not I am confident shouldn’t be contingent upon my style of dress or my seductive (or lack thereof) behavior. Does anyone else think this is just plain crazy?
I have heard that argument in regard to what is sexy a thousand times. I just know that they aren’t the same thing and I am tired of trying to explain that to men who think the way to confidence is with your face down and your ass up. Women have a lot to contend with, from images, to messages, marginalization and degradation. It occurs every day. We are discounted in our homes, on our jobs, out in the street and then we are supposed to look at ourselves and go, I sure am confident and that means I am sexy.
Men just need to call a spade a spade. If what you mean to say is that a woman who has no inhibitions or doesn’t seem to care that she is either half naked, being ogled, or is being thought of as less than a person because her ass is hanging out then just say you like that. But don’t get it all twisted up with confidence because that is a totally different issue altogether. Real confidence comes from inside and isnt wrapped up in a frilly package all the time, and sometimes its just being you, and loving that you, and yes that is sexy.
As long as we love who we are without pretense or judgement then confidence is there. All the extras are just that...extra. I may wear heels when I feel like it, and I may not always like what I see in the full length mirror, and maybe sometimes I think my comfy jeans and my favorite t-shirt are the sexiest thing I can wear, but I dont lack confidence in fact I am plenty confident, what I am not is an actress.