Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More Than A Hymen

I don't know if it's recently having a daughter, or becoming more involved in social justice, or just growing into my own skin as a woman and as a sexual being, but I've noticed an insidious, hateful, popular bit of (what should be arcane) misogyny is gaining steam once again, and I'm pissed.

I'm speaking, of course, about virginity. The concept, the actual hymen, the disgusting misuse of the word "purity", and how it all ties into me - and my daughter, and yours, and any woman - being nothing more than a vagina for sale.

I know, I know, I hear you - "Isn't that a little extreme? Come on, now; what's wrong with a little sexual restraint for the youngsters? A little abstinence-only sex-ed? A few commercials that imply a father owns his daughter's body? Morons on the Knot maintaining that one's husband shouldn't allow one to keep her (maiden) name?"

It's not extreme to look at society, at television, at sex-ed classes, at religion, at articles about "revirginization", and think that I am valued solely for my vagina. More specifically, for my "pure", virgin vagina. My husband is expected to be disappointed that I just couldn't wait for him to come buy me; my parents, to whom many young women make their virginity pledges, should have expressed their displeasure at my having decided, as a legal adult, that I did, in fact, own my own body and could use it as I saw fit - whether that was hauling shopping bags full of shoes (acceptable) or having sex (unacceptable).

For that's the crux of the matter. It's not necessarily about sex or abstinence or virginity or religion or "purity". It's about a woman making up her own damn mind and deciding that - Horrors! - she likes sex. It all goes back to being a slut, a whore, a loose woman, a wanton. Next thing you know, we'll be demanding the vote and thinking we can drive cars!

What drives me absolutely insane about this shit is the vast number of women who must remain virgins, else they face death.

Let me say that again: There are women in this world who live in countries run by fundamentalist crazy men, and they will be put to death, under rule of law, if they are found not to have a hymen when they marry.

Yet we, who have the opportunities to vote, drive, work, and change our names (or not), have decided that a painful and awkward sexual experience is something to be proud we forced upon our husbands, or something to be congratulated for having "saved" for marriage, or something that women will go through surgery to recreate.

For fuck's sake, WHY? Why on earth would you ever give a parent, a pastor, anyone the right to tell you what you can and cannot do with your body? Whose right is it to tell me and my husband that our love - a love that saved both our lives, and resulted in a third gorgeous little one - is "of an inferior and contaminating nature" because we had sex before marriage?

No one's, of course. It's no one's right to tell me that my body is somehow "infected " by my being a complete and sexual person. It's no one's right to tell my daughter that her father owns her, and must "protect" her from the (surely unwanted, because no teenage girl would have a healthy sex drive) advances of anything male until she's safely sold - oh, excuse me, I mean married.

God made us sexual creatures. Adam and Eve were told to be fruitful, to multiply. I can't believe for a second that it's sinful to enjoy sex, regardless of vows or gowns or flowers. What in the wedding ceremony is the magic word that transforms sex from bad and dirty to wonderful and loving? What's sinful is treating our bodies not like the temples they are, but like untrained animals that need to be reined in and controlled. It's the same mentality that leads to Diets for the Deity - our bodies, the bodies God gave us, aren't good enough as they come off the factory line. God, apparently, made some mistakes, and it's up to us to control ourselves into being something better than we were made to be.

Bullshit. I will be as I was made: smart, funny, capable, fat, sexual - and way, way more than just a busted hymen on legs.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Quick Rant

My ass can stop shrinking any time now. No, really, it was cute at first, this irritating habit of only losing weight in my butt, but it's accelerated alarmingly, and I'm sure my back would appreciate a little weight off the front of me more than belt makers appreciate my custom.

Monday, March 3, 2008

I Sold My Soul for a Pair of Pants

Oh, yes. I totally sold out for jeans.

Background: Old Navy recently stopped selling plus-sized clothing in its stores. It touts that its plus line is an "Online Exclusive!" as if being forced to take sizes on faith and then run around returning things that don't fit is like being in a wonderful, secret club. It's not. It's a pain in the ass, and while I'm a fan of online shopping, if I have to try it on, I prefer heading out to the store to make just one trip.

Right around the time ON was exiling the fatties from stores, Lane Bryant decided that the jeans they'd been making that were perfect for me weren't good enough, and went to Wrong - oh, excuse me - "Right Fit" jeans. I heard people rave about these jeans, about how the sizing was so much better, and when my old pair of Venezias gave out, I tried them. But the rise was too high, the "petite" inseam was way too long, and there was no other option. It was X size (which wasn't even a normal number, so I had to try on like 5 pair to begin with) or nothing.

Which meant "nothing", at least for me. I need a low or extra-low rise, bootcut, short inseam jean. That's what works on me. "Petites" almost never do - the rise is always too high, and the inseam tends to be too short, as well.

So I gave in and tried Old Navy. It didn't help that I needed a new performance dress (read: Black, suitable for church, with sleeves) and ON had the only one on the internet that wasn't over $100, either. Lured in by the dress, I skimmed the jeans, and lo and behold: I could order low-rise, bootcut, short-inseam jeans, in regular women's sizes.

They fit like woah and like damn. I mean, even the Venezias I loved didn't fit this well. I'm ashamed to give my money to people who don't think I should be seen in their stores, but I have tried on every pair of plus-sized jeans in my price range, and nothing works like these do.

So. I sold my soul for a pair of pants. And I can't say I'm sorry.