It was the anniversary of my friend’s girlfriend coming out. Instructions were to come in a “kinky” costume, and I did. I wore a bra, shorts, and some bondage tape. It was a fun night, and now the photos are on facebook.
This night over dinner my roommates and I debated whether we should take them down or not. We all hope for professional careers one day and so after a night of drinking, kinky costumes and games that involve removing clothing and, for some, lap-dances (for what is 2am games of Truth or Dare for if not to express repressed sexuality?), what rings very strongly in our minds are stories of people like Ashley Payne. Ashley Payne was fired for having pictures of her drinking on facebook. Also victims of such invasions of their rights outside work are Ellen Simonetti, and Carlie beck. A quick googling will find you many more examples.
It was sadly recognised that S, the man among us, probably won’t get a huge amount of trouble for having gone to a uni party in drag. Boys will be boys, after all! But Me, J and E, will probably face a day when we have to scrub our facebooks and photobuckets and livejournals, because as women, our private life is treated as everyone else’s fucking business. And if I go to a party looking “trashy” as some people would term it, then it’s perfectly reasonable to judge there must be something wrong with me. I am a DAMN GOOD student, and the knowlegde that this is coming is disturbing.
And of course, as much of a shit place as E and J find themselves in, I have more pictures online. They are more explicit and they were exchanged for money. I have pictures of me holding panties stained with menstrual blood, and pictures of me naked with my legs in the air. My face isn’t in any of these pictures, but my email address connects the account to me.
To everyone who just thought, “that’s dumb”, at me using my personal email for the panty selling business, fuck you. I do not have to give in to the patriarchal pressure to keep anything sexual seperate from my “normal” life. I didn’t want the hassle of setting up and regularly checking a fake account. I don’t see why I should. I’m taking a risk with my future, but it’s MY future I’m risking. I want to be a psychologist. I will be damn fucking good at it, mark my words. And that should be the only thing that matters for the entirity of my career.
Naive? No. I know this could bite me in the ass, like J’s underwear-only lapdancing pictures and E’s corset. But if it’s going to bite me, so be it. Because I do not want to act in fear of what judgemental assholes are going to take from me.
I will go out alone at night. I will wear short skirts and low cut tops. I will walk with confidence. I will tell you to go fuck yourself when you tell me to smile and I will scream at men who assault me in clubs. I will do everything I can to not live afraid.
That isn’t true of me right now. I’m terrified, like we all are. But damn it, I shouldn’t be, and I’m going to make this my battle cry. I will not let you make me afraid.