Not for me. My previous avatar was Betty Page. I always thought she had a special beauty to go with her obvious sexiness. She certainly wasn't one of the half-starved waifs we so often see in fashion magazines looking as if they're pitching for some disaster relief program in famaine-ravaged countries.
To me she represented a breaking free from an era that dictated women spend their days vacuuming in high heels and pearls. She was openly what women were never allowed to be publicly --
And believe it or not, sometimes what a woman wants for herself is some good sex. She did what she did because that is what she wanted to do on her terms. To me "my body, my choice" takes a variety of manifestations including the right to work in "adult entertainment" (which ironically turns many into tittering pre-adolescent males).
Nowadays, though, I think the world is different. Now women have gone from celebrating their sexuality to being marginalized by it. If they don't make with the goods than society has no use for them. The iconoclast that was Betty Page has become the status quo of your average MTV fare.
Yeah, sure, I get it: consenting adults, make your own viewing choices, turn off the damned TV if you don't like it, yatta, yatta, yatta.
I'm not casting stones here because I'm not perfect. I started early in high school and I had several boyfriends during college. When my husband and I first met we were both nursing recent break-ups and we were just in it for the sex. I'm not "sinless" and I don't pretend to be.
But a number of threads here on DU got me thinking recently. Some started to complain about the de-humanization of women and some to complain against the complainers. In one of the threads I was asked why I had Betty as my avatar. I gave my answer -- or at least I thought I did.
I think the thing I missed was not that Betty was smashing her barriers but that she was being objectified. Whatever it was she wanted was lost on her audience. Most never gave a damn about her, they just wanted booby pictures.
My hubby helped me realize this. I was trying to qualify what it was about him that made him so special from the other guys I had been with. Certainly his good qualities are legion -- I deserve nothing less! it -- but there was something "different" about how he is with me. I'll spare you the entire conversation we had this past weekend but what he told me still echoes in my heart.
"I don't just want to have sex; I want to have sex with *you*."
It's not like he couldn't score elsewhere if he wanted to. I don't think any other man I've ever been with ever felt that way about me. Maybe there was one and I missed him but looking back I can't help but feel that unless I was putting-out their interest in me would have been less than zero.
How does that liberate me? How does that reinforce my place in this world as a human being?
So maybe Betty was making her own statement on her own terms but now it seems like it was just the sex as far as her audience was concerned. They never cared for her as a person or what I think she was trying to say in a larger sense. That hurts me. That hurts me a lot in my heart. I wanted her to be bigger than that.
So I changed my avatar, which is a shame because I wonder if maybe I wasn't one of the few who actually gave a damn about Betty as a person. I still believe in "my body, my choice" but I'm hoping to see a lot more people into making more self-affirming choices instead of mere crowd-pleasing choices.