My Body Is More Than Sexy

My Body Is More Than Sexy

I was born this way; you decided my body was sexy.
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My body is more than sexy. My body is strong, supportive, life creating. My body is self sustaining. It's soft and warm, yet tough and relentless. It aids me to live and do all of the things I want to. It's fine if you think my body is sexy. But it doesn't stop there. My body had many purposes before society decided it was sexy and exploited it as if my body were theirs.

At work, I have to wear a one-piece. It would be inappropriate if I did not, although the kids are welcome to wear two pieces. Because showing my fully-developed chest and curvy hips would be too sexy. But I didn't sign up for my body parts to be symbols of sex. I was just born with them. My body's function at work is to swim and help kids swim -- not to be sexy. Why do the two seemingly always overlap? It's not my fault if you find my body sexy, and now I have to hide it because of that? This is not my camp's fault, but the overruling societal codes it must abide by. I can't wear a tank top on a 100-degree day, because my shoulders and skin are too suggestive. I've learned this since I was a little girl. My campers ask me why I can't wear a bikini like them. But one day, their bodies will be over-sexualized by society. And they won't be able to wear bikinis to the pool, or tank tops to school. They didn't decide for their bodies to be symbols of promiscuity -- you did.

Believe it or not, my breasts serve a greater purpose than for you to look at, talk about, scrutinize. They will nourish my future children, provide survival for my babies. My children will be sustained by the function of my breasts, the most biologically natural thing a body part could do. Yet you do not see them as sources of survival and motherhood: they are sexual. And now, because you decide that, I have to cover them up like they're a secret. We think this way because we raise our kids this way -- that skin is inappropriate, that our private parts are not private because we choose to protect and cherish them, but because their crude presence is sexual and distracting. The other day, a child came in wearing a Superman costume which left her thighs exposed, similar to bathing suit bottoms. Her creative and spirited costume became an opportunity for scrutiny when another child next to me innocently asked, "Is that appropriate?" This girl is 7 years old (if you really wanna get freaked out, she was born in 2009), her only intent wearing the costume is to pretend she's something else for the day. But the minute another child questions her outfit, it becomes sexualized. "Inappropriate" is a word we're misusing, and what we really mean by it is "too sexy" or "too at risk for being perceived as sexy." My beautiful mother, who is always concerned over her weight and appearance, wore a brand new orange suit to the beach last weekend. She came out to show my brother, sister and I to make sure it was OK. When she emerged, we all stared. The suit was a bright and summery orange, exposing the V of her freckled chest. Finally, I broke the silence. "You look great!" I exclaimed, and my brother and sister were soon to follow. Her face showed skepticism. "Are you sure it's not too sexy?" she asked us, looking down at her body. My 55-year-old mother, the woman whose body I have known better than my own for 19 years, was afraid to be "too sexy" or too suggestive. Her fear unfortunately was later confirmed on the beach, where a woman visibly mocked my mom to her own daughter sitting next to her. As soon as my mom lifted her shirt off, the woman nudged her daughter, gestured towards my mother and blatantly pointed to her own chest, urging her daughter to get a look. I can only imagine what she was saying to her daughter if she was this shameless to openly and visibly criticize my mom. I couldn't believe it. This woman was so obsessed with my mother's comfort regarding her own body, she had to draw attention to it and make it a point of conversation. As a survivor of breast cancer, my mom should love, cherish and embrace her breasts whichever way she feels comfortable. I felt the same pain for my mother than I did for the little girl in the superhero costume. Both just trying to live their lives in their bodies, and being mocked and questioned while doing so. 50 years apart in age, yet facing the same sexual shame from society. This woman discredited my mother as a survivor, as a mother, and without even realizing it. She objectified my mom's body for her own ridicule. As if my mother's breasts haven't carried the weight of three children, the weight of tumors and treatment and pokes and prods. Like my mother hasn't borne that weight. Because in that moment, my mother wan't a woman. She was just a beach-goer attracting attention with her own physicality -- naturally. But my mother's body is more than sexy.

We tell girls to strive for more, we encourage them to do more and achieve more things beyond their looks. Then when they do, we tear them apart for their weight, hair, outfit choices. I did not choose for my body to be sexy. I chose for it to be more than that. I did not choose to change my skirt in 6th grade, for the chance some young boy may find my curvy thighs distracting. I did not choose to have to change my top when it left my shoulders exposed and vulnerable. I did not choose for my body to be sexy -- you did. Society did. But you and I will combat this idea. By wearing what the fuck we want and not being unapologetic for it. By correcting those who minimize us to our body parts. By writing and reading articles like these. I hope every girl feels comfortable and confident about their bodies after reading this -- because they're yours. Girls need to know they aren't the ones being sexual and perverted by embracing their bodies and displaying them in the ways they want, but it's society who is the pervert. It's society who decides our breasts and hips stop at being sexy -- but we know they are much more. Be proud of your body, it's the only thing you'll ever truly own. And do not let any small-minded person dampen, undermine, or interfere with that ownership.

Cover Image Credit: weheartit.com

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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To The Generation That Might Not Care, A Green New Deal Is Crucial

Take care of our planet and our future.

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The reality of climate change and method to address the issue has been a source of contention in the United States for far too long. While Republicans trail behind Democrats a great deal in the percentage who believe long-term, irreversible climate change is a real problem, an equally if not more important gap to acknowledge is that between generations.

A universally taught science concept in elementary school is the difference between weather and climate. Weather is the day-to-day condition of the atmosphere — rainy, sunny, etc. Climate is the weather of a particular geographic location over a long period of time. The weather in an area may be snowy on a particular January day but might overall have a warm climate (Trump has yet to learn this concept).

The gap between generational support for not only believing in the reality of climate change but if the government should take steps to prevent further harm on our planet is apparent. A few reasons that older generations may not support aggressive climate change policies are that many are not going to see the lasting impact of their harmful actions, may not want to acknowledge that their way of life for a majority of their life was detrimental to the environment, or that they simply do not think it is the government's role to further regulate current practices and lifestyles in the name of the environment (an argument supported by many conservatives).

Data For Progress

The "Green New Deal," proposed earlier this month by Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey is mainly a list of ideas and goals rather than a carefully laid-out plan, though aims to eliminate greenhouse emissions through the creation of millions of jobs in the renewable energy industry, moving toward public ownership (a major source of disagreement among Republicans and Democrats), and much more. This plan is a comprehensive overview of many sources of environmental degradation that our nation has not addressed, despite the majority of the nation believing the climate change is a real issue.

There will undoubtedly be a major shift in the operations of many companies due to aggressive climate change policies, which could have been avoided at a drastic level if our nation had chosen to make climate change prevention a priority. Unfortunately, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global temperatures will rise to an irreversible level in 12 years if the United States and other countries that greatly contribute to rising temperatures do not take action. A sense of urgency has been lacking for far too long is crucial.

Written into the recently proposed Green New Deal is a section detailing how it will attempt to remedy the inequality of those most directly impacted by climate change. Vulnerable communities, particularly communities of color, are not seeing an equitable distribution in disaster funding to prevent damage inflicted by the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters that have resulted as an increase in rising global temperatures — Which, regardless of your age, should be a glaring flaw in our current system.

I personally doubt that the entirety of the recently proposed Green New Deal will be enacted, however, I believe that anyone who values the quality of human life, clean air, clean water, food sources, for not just those in the United States, but around the world, should be supportive of a Green New Deal.

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