#Timesup: A Challenge

“I have to ask, is your ass real?”  “Send me a pic of the magical booty” “I just really want your body” “I just want to see it”.
The above quotes are actual text messages sent to me from men either right out of the gate or after one or two dates.  It’s so common that it didn’t even occur to me to get mad about it until I told one of my friends about the latest guy, and how he wanted to “enjoy each other once or twice and then go our separate ways” after I told him that I didn’t really want to continue seeing him.  I rolled my eyes at the message and shared it for a laugh, but she got pissed.
“What the fuck!  What is wrong with men these days?  Whatever happened to a gentleman??” she fumed.  And her anger slapped me into reality.  These men could care less about me, who I am, or what I’m about.  All they see is I have a pretty face and a Kim Kardashian ass which is all they need to know to kick-start their lust and their bold messages.
The amount of talk surrounding the #metoo movement and Oprah Winfrey’s speech is sorely needed and long overdue.  To be fair, I don’t know of a woman who doesn’t appreciate a good compliment, but the amount of focus on our physical looks is complete bullshit.
I looked up a relevant definition: ob·jec·ti·fi·ca·tionnoun; the action of degrading someone to the status of a mere object.
“A mere Object”.  An OBJECT.  Non-human.  Non-living.  Non-worthy.  Most of all, replaceable.

We women have talked about stuff like this in the comfort of our small, intimate circles for forever.  “Oh my god, I got whistled at again when I walked by the gas station.”  “He totally grabbed my ass when we hugged” “I don’t really feel comfortable, but it’s my job so I can’t really say anything.”   It’s become a rite of passage; when did you first feel like the subject of a man’s desire?

And as much as it pains me to admit it, woman exacerbate the problem.  I can’t even count the amount of times I scroll through Instagram and see booty pics, cleavage shots, and suggestive eye winks staring me in the face.  I myself been guilty of choosing pictures to post solely based on the fact that I know my body looks good.

I don’t think that woman should have to hide their bodies, not by a long shot.  But there is a difference between classily showcasing your hard work and raunchily baring juuuuust enough where men feel confident sliding into your DM’s, knowing that they won’t be rebuffed.

Where has respect for ourselves gone?  I know without a doubt that the reason that so many men take the objectification route is because a lot of the time, it works.  I used to be the girl that thought she had to comply with whatever a man said just so that they would like me.  I found out the hard way, though, that once you give in, they simply move on.

Girls who give in have, sadly, become a dime a dozen.  And it’s not just because the amount of ‘easy’ woman have risen; how can we expect a girl to grow up knowing her worth when the only examples of men she has around her are the root cause of the problem?  When her dad is physically or mentally absent?  When she has 5 other half-siblings from 3 different women? When every other woman around her sees the objectification as status quo or worse, as a badge of honor??

As a gender, we need to give each other the strength to take a stand and demand the respect that any human deserves.  We need to applaud woman who have the courage to post makeup free and truly candid shots where their thighs might be squished or their face might be on their ‘bad side’.  We need to focus our comments more on how amazing their personality is or how awesome it is that they are helping out at home while their mom is recovering or how cool it is that they choose not to drink because it’s healthy.

Even typing out the above paragraph felt cheesy.  “Hurdy hur, I’m telling people to focus on inner beauty, I’m a nerd”.  THAT is how much sexualization has penetrated our inner selves–I can’t even urge my readers to focus on better things without feeling weird about it.  And that is exactly why all of this bullshit HAS to change.

And so, I have a challenge for myself, and a challenge for you:

Stop focusing so much on your body.  I know that you do.  There has not been one day that has gone by in the last 15 years where I have not had a negative thought about my body as a whole or in part.  Not ONE.  Where on earth has this thought pattern gotten me?  A rollercoaster of weight loss and weight gain, and even at my skinniest I never once was satisfied.  Focusing on your health and wellness and FEELING AMAZING should be where your focus is laser-pointed; the physical part will simply naturally follow.

Stop complimenting only the physical.  It’s so easy to do: “Nice boots!” “Omg I LOVE your haircut!” “You look so cute today!”.  These comments never fail to give a little ego boost, to be sure.  Yet how awesome is it if you hear something like “Wow, you are a really awesome mother.” “I really appreciated your help today, you made my morning so much less stressful.”  “I love how patient you are-you inspire me!”.

Stop comparing your body with others’.  This has become widespread with the rise of social media.  This girl’s bum is wayyyy more toned.  This girl’s hair is SO BOUNCY.  This girl’s stomach is so freakin’ flat.  But fast forward 50 years, and we are all going to be in the same state: wrinkled, grey, and playing Parcheesi with our fellow retired neighbors in our Florida condo.  Let’s seriously…SERIOUSLY…stop this bullshit.  It serves zero purpose.

Our bodies and our minds should both be at their healthiest state the majority of the time.  And when our inner self is full of positivity, the negativity from the world seems to have less of a hold on us.  The final step is to share that positivity with others, regardless of what might be thrown our way.  If WE start spreading how awesome we are rather than how sexy we are, the world will take notice.

Be positive.  Be helpful.  Be healthy.  Be YOU.  Inspire others to be the same.  And most of all, know that #timesup will continue to manifest into reality only if we relentlessly show that it is a valid movement.

Let’s do this!


Me Too


I have been overwhelmed and saddened by the amount of “me too” posts that I have seen in my social media feed over the past couple of days.

Not that I didn’t know that girls all over the place experienced the catcalls, unwanted brushes of the hand (or other parts), and suggestive looks and comments, but because these things are so commonplace that I have simply looked at them as a integral part of life.

I almost didn’t post a ‘me too’ status because I thought “I haven’t actually been brutally raped…I’ve never experienced violent sexual harassment…I’ve never felt like I was in imminent danger of sexual violation.”

But then I stopped myself.  I have experienced whistles and comments from men on the streets on a regular basis.  I have been asked multiple times by random men at bars if they could “just” see or squeeze my ass.  I have ignored whistles and “damnnnnn” comments from STUDENTS at my school because I wasn’t sure how to handle such disrespectful behavior and I thought if I ignored it it would just go away.  I felt a man rub his genitals on me in a crowded subway and try to take a picture of my face.

I have experienced all of these things and more, yet I still hesitated when posting a status to join the ranks of women who have been sexually harassed because I wasn’t sure if I had been hassled “enough” to stand with them.

How absolutely sad is that?

Women have become so used to feeling judged by their bodies that a certain level of discomfort has become normal.

That needs to stop.

Right the fuck now.

Women are not commodities.  Women are not eye candy.  Women are not tits and ass and a pretty face.

So why we are branded as such?

Simply put, humans are a creature of habit and learn almost everything by example.  If I were a man and grew up seeing the men around me talk about women in a disrespectful manner, calling out dirty remarks for a laugh, and generally basing their value of a woman off of how good she looks in a pair of skinny jeans, I would quite honestly do the same.  It would be normal.  And heartrendingly, that’s how most of the men in America are raised.

However, this is not the norm across the entire range of male humanity.  I have never once seen my dad make a disrespectful comment about a woman.  I can’t even remember him commenting on a woman’s body in a complimentary and non-sexual way.  It simply was never a part of the rhetoric that he used.

Not surprisingly, my brother is the exact. same. way.

Never once have I heard my brother comment about any girls in a sexual way.  There have been zero instances where I saw him oogle a woman.  No dirty jokes.  No inappropriate comments.  Not even with his wife, where it would be more acceptable.  It has been nothing but consideration and respect.

How much more amazing would every female’s experience be if every male had an example like my dad or brother to emulate?  I can’t even imagine how it would feel to step out into the world and not wonder who is checking out my ass or tossing a glance at my silhouette.

BUT WAIT, you say.  Sexuality is part of human nature!  Surely you cannot be suggesting that we move to a mindset where sex is not somewhere in the forefront?  That’s impossible.

I agree.  Sex IS part of our nature.  Sex, in fact, is freaking awesome.  And it’s doubly awesome when you feel sexy and confident and you know you look good and the person you are having sex with makes sure you know how attractive you are to them.

But a large part of that feeling is immediately doused in ice-cold water when you feel disrespected.  I have gone from feeling awesome and self-assured to feeling insecure and small in a matter of seconds all because of a moment of unwanted attention that crossed the line.

And no, this doesn’t only happen when I’m wearing a sexy dress or short shorts.  I have dealt with this feeling in every different type of clothing imaginable.

The bottom line is, I want to take my body back.  I want to be able to feel comfortable in anything.  I want to be able to wear something that makes me feel like a million dollars without worrying that someone is going to assume that I want to hear their two cents.

Comments on my body make me feel amazing when they come from people that I give a shit about.  Nothing makes me smile wider than a well-placed “damnnn” from the person that I’m dating.  But when it comes to words pouring from the mouths of strangers, it gets old really fucking fast.

So men, please, please listen:

Woman love to feel sexy.  We love to feel special.  We love to feel like we are on top of the world.  But that outcome is not achieved by catcalls, “flattering” compliments, or forcing yourself upon us.  That result is not realized by staring at us from the corner and raking your eyes constantly across our frames so hard we can feel it even when we uneasily turn away.  That effect is not attained by focusing solely on our physical attributes that you find pleasing.

We want to be seen.  Really, truly seen.  Move past the old rhetoric that has been passed down from generation to generation and be the man that takes a step forward to take a hand, not grope a curve.

You will still have your animal needs sated, don’t worry about that.  But maybe, just maybe, you will realized that treating women as civilized creatures rather than prey to be hunted will yield a far richer feast than the outdated methods of pursuit with bow and poisoned arrow.

Be the change.