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Advice from Feministing

May 10, 2009

Feministing runs a weekly column “Ask Professor Foxy” in which women write in with questions. I thought her advice was particularly wise this week and wanted to share. The question came from a 22 year old woman who had never “hooked up” or been in a relationship and wanted to know if her size or flirting style were holding her back.

Professor Foxy’s response is great:

What about you do you find attractive? Yes–society, media, etc. says women over a certain size are unattractive, but I call bullshit. For many of us–size irrelevant given the malarkey all women are taught– it is believing that we are hot that is difficult.

So how do you find yourself hot? What body parts do you like on yourself? Close your eyes and run your hands over your body . . . isn’t there something lovely about how soft you are? What do you wear that feels sexy- playing dress up can help us see the erotic parts of ourselves.

The risk of rejection is part of dating, regardless of size. The trick is to realize that being rejected is part of life. Only by putting yourself out there in all your fabulous size are you going to meet someone. I’m not saying it is easy, but only by putting ourselves out there do we get what we want.

I really liked the advice on how to love your body. To stop focusing on aesthetics and run your hands along your body and love how it feels. We define our relationship with our bodies so often by how we look, and even more maliciously, by numbers. Numbers are the worst because we can’t control them, can’t define our bodies for ourselves. It’s hard too to control for ourselves what we find beautiful about how our bodies look. Although you are beautiful aesthetically, as Professor Foxy says it’s hard to find ourselves sexy hot sometimes, especially because of all of the media messages. The way we look seems constantly under scrutiny by others, we often look at ourselves through the lens of how someone else views us.

But the way our bodies feel can be our own. Running your hands along your own body can be an experience all your own, not mediated through another’s judgment. The way we look should be that way too, but sometimes I find it harder. I like Professor Foxy’s advice to start with this step first. Learn to love your body’s smoothness, softness, hardness, roughness, and bumps. Take the time to feel out what you love about yourself. Then, try to experience the way you look in the same way, a pleasurable experience all your own. Your own beauty, not someone else’s.

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