Do I enjoy walking into a party knowing that many eyes are cast in my direction? Do I like how it feels to know that my line creates delicious contrast among the many angles of a crowded room? Do I appreciate the sensation of knowing that the form I carry can create pleasure and add substance to imagination? On the occasions when I am fortunate enough to have this sense of self, yes, I enjoy it, I like it, I appreciate it!
Many women, including myself, have spent a large percentage of their lives physically and financially trying to make themselves as beautiful as they can be. Then, some of those same women rail at men who take notice.
I’ve done a lot of nude modeling for artists. I’ve been naked before painters, sculptors and photographers as well as classrooms full of anonymous art students. There have been days when I’ve felt utterly unattractive and days when I’ve felt absolutely beautiful and have stood naked before an audience just the same. During some of the longer poses, which can be very strenuous, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time pondering my position on the model stand.
I’ve traveled in my mind through my home and looked around at all of the beautiful things that I’ve chosen to surround myself with. The paintings, the little ceramic box that holds my favorite jewelry, the vintage soap dish… These are all just things, as I am when I stay as still as I can be, perched in some (hopefully interesting) position. And yet the beauty of the objects I enjoy add life to my house. In fact, I would go so far as to say that they are part of what transforms my house into my home.
Then I come back into my body, realizing again and again that while I am posing as an object I am also bringing life into my pose. I am responsible for inspiring and somehow making the connection with the artist and even with a possible larger audience if the work will be exposed.
I am more than an object of course. I am a smart, fun, quirky woman with a lot to offer, however I feel, confident that appreciation for the efforts I make to attract the kind of attention that feels good when I go out into the world does not diminish who I am.
I would argue that women who are offended by being seen as attractive have deeper reasons than objectification for their anger. After all, we are vessels as well as contents and most of us decorate our vessels with the intention of attracting others to share our contents with.