Seeing the press about the new Cardi B song, I am reminded of when I thought my worth was my looks and what was between my legs. I marketed myself as a sex symbol. I was rewarded for doing so financially and publicly. The men I attracted to be in a relationship with me during that time were very low quality. If you are titilating people for a living, the man you attract isn’t going to be a loyal one. I look back at my skimpy outfits, conversations I had with industry peeps, etc…and I see a world where my worth was my sexuality. Nothing more, nothing less. I demanded people respect me, yet displayed myself in ways that garner very little.
When women younger than me tell me they grew up on me, the first thing I feel is shame. I KNOW I was a negative influence on them. I know I was a shining example that being wild and sexy is celebrated, while having self respect was not. I see children today more sexualized than when I grew up. It took me till age 21 to start displaying myself as overly sexy. Now, I see kiddos who are 12 posting their sexy arched backs and stuck out butt pics.
When I started dating my husband, he expressed to me how it made him feel when I would post overly titilating photos of myself on instagram. He asked me how I would feel if he was constantly posting photos in the same manner. This came after a year of self reflection and realizing the way I displayed myself was not winning me the respect and the treatment I wanted. I thought about what he said, and it really shook me. A man with self respect does not want a woman on his arm who spends her time titilating OTHER men. Every guy I had been with for years that did not respect me and did not stay loyal were men who had no issues with me being a “sex symbol”.
Learning to respect myself and carry myself with confidence came quicker than I could have imagined. I feel sexy and empowered without my buttcheeks hanging out of shorts. I am shown far more respect than I ever was with my cleavage hanging out. I am not judging people who want to dress this way, I am simply stating how my life changed for the better when I stopped weighing my value on my body and sexuality. My body can put some teenagers to shame. I did not “let myself go”. I just stopped advertising myself by putting it on display.
I am sorry, ladies. Any of you who may have looked up to me at one point growing up, I was a bad example. I am amture enough to see the difference between classy and trashy. I have observed the treatment I get carrying myself more modestly. I always wonder what life would have been like if I didn’t fall victim to the mentality that dressing sexy was empowering. Appreciateing my mind has given me more empowerment than any skimpy costume or outfit ever did. I am not a prude. I am simply…experienced.