Monday, August 17, 2015

Dear Unsolicitated Emailer/Commenter:

(Sorry, I’m watching Dear White People and the form is in my head) 

Why are you messaging me about how I’m not as attractive as I think I am?

One, exactly how attractive do I think I am? And how do you know this? Honestly, I don’t know. Growing up in a culture that both idolizes tall, thin, white girls while also fetishizing the fuck out of exotic girls of color it’s been a really confusing struggle to place myself anywhere on the conventional attractiveness scale. The best I’ve come up with is that there are people who find me attractive, people who don’t, and the vast majority of people don’t give a damn. 

And, oddly enough, I’m more or less in that last category. 

I recognize and acknowledge the right for people to find me unattractive. I’m grateful and flattered by the people who do find me attractive—ya know, most of the time, when it’s done respectfully with me, as a human being, in mind. But, really, in the great, grand scheme of things, I. Don’t. Care.

Yes, I post sexy pictures of myself. I’m, most days, comfortable and happy in my own skin. I find the expression of fashion—of clothes and costume and performance—to be a fascinating one, that allows me to literally embody the things that I care about. And, yes, I like the idea of having some say in how I’m presented in this world, where I don’t have to pretend to be—or even pretend to want to be—the pretty, little, white girl or where I can be more than someone’s exotic conquest. I like that, in the photos I put up, I get to be who and what I want to be.

I’m sorry, if that offends you. I’m sorry that being subjected to a darker, heavier, or whatever-er person in whatever state of dress they chose to clothe themselves in upsets you so. But, I promise, the internet is a wide, wide place; it’s not hard to get distracted by something you find shinier. Go find yours and leave me alone.

Two, be very careful about using this metric to measure the worth of a person. It lies to you. I've said it before, because I believe it, there is value in costumes. How we choose to present ourselves to the world, for better or worse, determines how we are perceived by that world. But that doesn't make it right and it certainly doesn't make it true. And, even the most revealing outfit—often the most revealing, look-here-and-not-here onesonly tells you so much and has the possibility of concealing much more.

Besides, if this is the only metric you use, willfully ignoring the rest of a person, good luck finding anyone who wants to be measured that way. None of us are exclusively what we look like; everyone has depths and I've yet to meet a person who enjoys having their surface valued over everything else they have to offer. 

And, even if you found someone who was okay with it, it's likely they'll judge you the same way. Are you okay with that? If you're not okay with it, what right do you have to ask things of others you wouldn't ask of yourself? And, if you are, that makes me sad for you because, even as someone who has looked fairly the same for the past two-and-a-half decades, I know that looks fade and time and age comes for us all. I hope when it comes for you, you're ready. 

Three, in what way is this a valid argument to use when debating anything but my looks? Don’t like my opinions on sex, on kink, on feminism, on diversity, on geekdom, on writing, on whatever? Fine. You do not have to. And, please, I’m a girl who very much likes debate; come talk to me about it. Debate with me. Stand up for what you believe in and see how it stacks up next to opposition. I truly believe that this is how we, as a species, best learn from each other. 

But the minute you start an argument, end an argument, or otherwise in any way invoke my looks on a topic whose merit is in no way related to those looks, understand that, in my eyes, you have just lost your argument. Because doing so is the mark of a person with no reason or conviction behind their beliefs. And I have nothing to learn from you and you are, in this moment, incapable of and unwilling to learning from me. Come back when you have something of value to add.

Because I really have no idea what you got out of your message and I know that I got absolutely nothing from it.

You know, besides a good rant at your expense.

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