Why I Refuse To Be Shamed Into Being Modest About My Body

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I Refuse To Be Shamed Into Modesty About My Body & Sexuality

Two remarkably different female celebrities — Erin Andrews and Kim Kardashian — blew up Twitter in 2016 with news about their naked bodies.

Andrews won a landmark $55 million award in the case against her stalker and the hotel that allowed him the access he needed in order to film her undressing in what she thought was the privacy of her own room.

Kardashian posted — another — naked selfie on Instagram from inside of what appears to be the privacy of her own bathroom.

I get that these two women's stories may seem like a crazy bizarre pairing, but that is because we forget that Kim K. was a victim of revenge porn. The tape that made her into the most searched “porn star” online was never intended — by her, at least — to be made public.

Yet while we stand by Erin because her body was shown to millions of people without her consent, we hate on Kim for having taken back control under similar circumstances by capitalizing on it in the media instead of in a courtroom.

As someone who has had more than one of her own close encounters of the non-consensual pornography kind, I was deeply moved watching video clips of Andrews during her testimony and upon hearing the jury's verdict.

What stabbed me right in the heart was watching her fight back her tears as she said, "I think the thing that's really hit home for me and hurts me the worst is when girls, in high school or college, Tweet me, and they say, 'I want to be Erin Andrews — except for the Marriott stalker thing.' And I can't control that."

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Oh, Erin, honey, I feel you so deeply. A violation of this kind is brutally debilitating at best, and the knife of shame only driven deeper by the reasoning used against both her and Kardashian.

Her career is still going just fine, right?

More people know her name than ever before, don't you think? 

Maybe so, but both of these women, whether we care to see it or not, are more than their careers. 

So as thrilled as I am for Andrews, it pisses me off to no end to hear women blasting Kardashian as nothing more than a whore. 

Andrews is an accomplished business professional. Kardashian is an accomplished business professional. Erin and Kim are women, with human, female bodies that are theirs to decide how and to whom they should be displayed. Just like all of us.

We should have BOTH of these women’s backs!

When we pick and choose which women we want to support in their right to their own bodies and which women we don't, we are keeping all women stuck in a self-destructive conversation of cultural shame around sexuality.

This is what I believe has happened among us girlfriends. Fear of objectification has been used against us. We are all so afraid to be labeled a sex object. That is the worst thing a woman can be considered, right? The worst thing a man can do to her. 

Truth is — everyone is an object.

An object is defined as, "Someone or something that makes you feel a specified emotion; someone or something that your attention or interest is directed toward."

 In the child development theory of object permanence, mothers of infants are often identified as their child's primary object of attachment, which is a beautiful thing. Everyone is an object of some form to someone, so why is being considered a sex object such a horrifying notion? Because of the "object" thing?

Or because of the sex?

Sorry, but to me, that one is a no-brainer.

We are only angered by the idea of being considered an object when we're afraid to face our own sexuality.

And for women, fear of our sexuality starts getting pounded into us young.

The vicious shaming of female sexuality is something I have definitely struggled with myself. Then, when I observed each of my boys and their friends, I found myself captivated by the journey their girl friends took from their preschool through elementary years.

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Here's what happens. 

In preschool, the girls are generally much more romantically aggressive than the boys. They try to get the boys to play family and play wedding. They try to hug and kiss the boys. The boys don't like it, but the girls do, and the girls keep chasing the boys until somewhere around third grade.

All that time, teachers and parents tell the girls that they are making the boys uncomfortable. 

We tell them to back off and give the boys space. By fourth or fifth grade, the girls have gotten the message, and the chasing stops — right about at the same time that the boys are starting to feel the love bug. Now the girls are like, "WTF? No! That feels uncomfortable. I'm not supposed to do that." And that's how it stays.

I don't care how many Wonder Woman costumes and "girl power" hoodies your daughter has.

When you and your grown-up girlfriends sip coffee while singing the praises of Erin Andrews in the middle of her trial and smashing Kim Kardashian as a pathetic slut in the middle of her triumphs, you are re-confirming this crystal clear message not only to your daughters, but to yourself: It is safer and smarter to be a victim than it is to be your own superhero. 

Girlfriends, ladies, chicks, divas, women, womyn, babes — please, I am begging you, stop.

Stop allowing society to keep you so afraid of being a called a slut that you never experience the extreme bliss of a full-body orgasm. And stop allowing society to make you so afraid of being called a prude that you sleep with men you don't want to because that's what you thought being liberated was supposed to look like.

Stop judging women who love their bodies enough to show them off — in public or in private. And stop judging women who don't love their bodies all that much and would prefer to stay covered up. 

Ronda Rousey isn't any better as a woman because her body "was developed for a purpose other than f*cking millionaires" than you are if you feel that yours was. We each get to decide what we want our own body's purpose to be. 

You are most powerful when you own yourself. That's why both Erin Andrews award and Kim Kardashian's naked selfies are both HUGE signs of success. Andrews' award isn't about the money and Kardashian's pic isn't just about narcissism.

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Neither are reclaiming ownership of themselves. They've always owned themselves. 

Because that's what bad-ass women do.

Deputy Editor Arianna Jeret, MA/MSW, is a recognized expert on love and relationships, as well as a former divorce coach and mediator, who has been featured in Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, Yahoo Style, MSN, Fox News, Bustle, Parents and more. Find her on Twitter and Instagram for more.