T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 3
posted 04-10-2006 02:39 PM
A few posts here recently have made me wonder something.
For those of you who have had a date, boyfriend/girlfriend or a friend who very much has impact on your body image say something seriously negative about your sexual anatomy or the sexual anatomy of your gender in general, how have you dealt with it? For instance, the main post in my head this morning was from a user whose boyfriend (who she says she is about to marry) who said TO her that he doesn't like "dark pussies." Personally -- and lordy, have I been around the block -- I don't even know what I would DO after I picked my jaw up off the floor from having a partner say something SO misogynist (and ostensibly racist), so objectified, and just so unbelievably rude and ignorant. We had another use just report a partner refusing to engage in any sex that was about HER pleasure, because -- and again, he said this TO her -- he considers vulvas "wet and gross." I can't imagine staying with these partners at all, and certainly never getting naked/sexual with them ever again. The only time I have ever had anyone address my body in such a vulgar, sexist and just plain crappy way directly to me was when I was being sexually assaulted: I can't imagine hearing it from a trusted partner doesn't feel like -- or perhaps just plain IS -- a form of sexual assault. A lot of the time, we have users post WORRIED that partners will react this way, but thankfully, it actually happening occurs far less than the worry that it might. But what the heck do you do when it does? If anything like this has happened to you, what did you do or say? How did you deal?
Member # 28218
posted 04-11-2006 04:06 PM
Well, maybe I'm not someone who should be posting here. I've never actually had a partner say something negative to me about my body. I'm even someone who's posted about difficulties I've had with a partner's body (though I would never say something horrible, I assure you). My mother has said negative things about my flat chest though and my pointy facial features, if that counts. My reaction in that case was to become rather indignant. I said I LIKED that part about myself and I wasn't going to hide the shape of my body and then I kind of stormed off (although in truth, what she said made me worry). Does that count? I imagine if I heard it from a partner I'd leave them but it would make me worry more than my mother saying something. This is a very interesting topic MizScarlet...
Member # 28346
posted 04-11-2006 04:17 PM
A few years ago I had a boyfriend who told me I only looked pretty with my hair up, my pubic hair was disgusting and that if I didn't shave it every day he would leave me, my breasts were freakish by being different sizes... and lots more ignorant 15-year-old immature guy things.
Obviously he ended up being bad news, and I realized that at the time, I think I knew what he was saying was ridiculous, but I was so into him that I didn't mind, because I figured if that's how he saw it then I should try to please him. I lost my virginity to him and I almost ran away with him, I only stayed at the last minute because my cousin was born. Then he forced me to have sex with him for the first time to make up with my cancelling our oh-so-brilliant running away plans. It didn't take long before I tried to get away from him, and he pretty much stalked me for awhile, but that's a different story. However, at the time I just tried my best to fix or hide anything he didn't like. To this day, I cannot wear my hair down. My boyfriend, who I am marrying next year, LOVES my hair down. He BEGS and begs me to wear it down. The closest I've come is half down... I think I let this guy convince me that it was true, and now, four years later I still have that nagging feeling that my breasts really are ugly.
Member # 3
posted 04-11-2006 05:10 PM
Sadly, what you're describing -- if it's any comfort -- isn't a particular weakness on your part. I'd say it's the norm for partners being abused in this way -- and I would class it as abuse, easy -- to stay for at least some time, figuring the problem is with THEM, or that somehow it's a smaller loss to adapt oneself to someone else's whims than to kick that person to the curb to be able to be oneself, as-is.
Member # 27418
posted 04-11-2006 05:29 PM
I have never had a partner say any such thing TO me directly about my body specifically, but I have experienced certain strong snipes and remarks about body features, which the speakers KNOW I POSSES, spat out in my presence. Yet one on one, I haven't experienced any negative commentary from the same people--in fact, sometimes even compliments on the body parts in question--which creates a really confusing double standard. For example, I could be sitting in a room full of friends watching a movie, and someone with stretch marks on their breasts might appear on the screen. Hooting laughter and "ew that's so disgusting"s might shoot around the room, and those who have personally fondled my breasts and KNOW them to have these markings would be wooping and wanting me to join in as though there were no association. Or in a conversation about preferences, someone with whom I've been partially naked and kissed etc., might comment on how appalling non-shaved pubic areas are, even though they tollerated that just fine with me personally. "Wtf?" is my only response to that. It's as though one second they thought it was a-OK to be making fun of a characteristic that I possessed, and then the next turn to me and pretend as though no insult happened, because it wasn't directed at me specifically. Keeping up appearances, I suppose.
Edit: Actually, I might even add that on several occations my partner has actually done the same thing, but sometimes not even with other people in the room. He will make fun of non-standard bodies, and then the next turn around and compliment mine, which is graced with many of the things he laughs at. Makes zero sense. [ 04-11-2006, 05:32 PM: Message edited by: RedGoddess ]
Member # 27246
posted 04-11-2006 06:12 PM
About 7 months ago i was with my ex partener who at first i thought was a really great guy, trusting and had a great personailty etc.
But a few months into the relationship i started noticing he had put a bet on with his friend on "who out the two of them can sleep with their parteners first" When i asked him about it he said i was being chilidsh, and that i was hearing things. I then began to get upset and raised my voice to him saying that i heard right. He then over the next week tried to sleep with me, first he tired to get me drunk but i wised up and pushed him of me, he then pinned my against the wall by my throat and said in a horrible tone "ill get my way with you b**ch even if you have a fat arse and legs" I knew i shouldnt have let that get to me an i thought it was drink talk, but over that next month i went from a size 12 to a 8 and wasnt at all happy. Everything went ok then but he was getting impatient about not being able to sleep with me or engage in any sexual activity from me, so then he just plain an simply rued to rip my clothing of me, he bruised me, bite me, slapped me, called me every name under the sun.. I got up an ran and ran to my aunts which was about 4miles away, he followed shouting at me but gave up. I lost contact im him, ignored his calls. I moved on an when i met my partener now i told him everything, he held my while i cried and didnt push me into any sexualy activity, he loves my body for how i am (im not a size 10 and happy) he says that my ex was "a nutter" Wether or not this is relevanbt for this post i felt like i needed to be apart of this any make it clear that not people arent alone x
Member # 3
posted 04-11-2006 06:23 PM
I'm so glad you added that, Natasha.
What you've just talked about here is, I think, a really important and excellent illustration of how this kind of outlook/address is rarely "harmless," but instead, likely often an indicator of someone who is at least possibly, if not probably, an abuser. Hatred of someone's body parts -- be it individual or, more frequently, per the size or shape of given parts on a given gender -- IS hatred, and not surprisingly, misogyny towards a woman's body or appearance can, and sometimes does, escalate into other forms of abuse. I think for that reason, it's important that when, perhaps in the sorts of situations RedGoddess talked about, this sort of thing comes up "casually," we do what we can to call it out for what it is, rather than ignore it or chalk it up to posturing. (Caveat: this is hardly to say that ONLY men do this, or that it'd somehow be okay if women did. However, I think we can safely say it is more OFTEN men, and in the context of the culture we live in, and women's lesser class status, when men do this, it has a different/greater weight than when women do.)
Member # 28218
posted 04-11-2006 08:12 PM
Yes, well I feel this sort of speaks to concerns in some of my earlier posts. Because with the one partner I've had, who really WAS a nice guy even though he had some flaws, I definitely felt some repulsion. I worry it was going beyond some simple ''lack of chemistry.'' It wasn't simply not being turned on I felt, it was repulsion. I've felt I have some issues with appearance since I was little -I fall madly in love w/ some people based primarily on appearance, and other people I can't bare to look at. I believe I am less picky with women than with men -I only have sisters no brothers, so perhaps I am more used to the idea that girls come in different shapes and sizes. I wanted to tell this one particular guy to exercise, stand up straight, and wear different pants, but I bit my tongue for the most part. I don't know what the correct action is.
Why do men like those in the above abusive scenarios partner with someone they are not attracted to to begin with? Or in the case of the boys above, is it that they ARE attracted but they are pathalogically abusive? Is their situation much different than mine, or do you think they sound similar? On another thread you provide links with advice on getting over your own body image issues. Do you have advice for getting over body image issues of others? (I will not post again on this thread, as I believe it is intended specifically for the victims in these relationships.)
Member # 3
posted 04-11-2006 08:20 PM
For some, they may well be attracted, but make those comments simply to prey on their partners, to make them feel insecure, because they know they have the power to do that, and that those partners are vulnerable TO those barbs and comments.
So, I'm not sure we can know which is which, especially considering that a whole lot of people have hatred of others, resentment of others, fear of others but sleep with those others all the same. In fact, some people are even AROUSED by that strong dislike or hatred. It's such, such a complex matter. Actual repulsion is also such a complicated matter that it's really hard to address broadly. Plnety of psychologists and therapists would say that repulsion, rather than disinterest, is actually a signal of psychosis, but again, that's obviously also going to be situational. I'm thinking about that scene in "Crash," for instance, where the woman has to be rescued by the police officer who molested her one evening before: she's obviously and clearly repulsed by him, but it's totally valid and clearly healthy per her own survival and experience. So, advice on that is really going to depend on where it stems from. Electively choosing to be with someone in the first place to whom you are literally repulsed, for no real reason (as in, they don't have lepracy, haven't traumatized you, etc.) is a pretty strange situation as it is. I don't know where your stuff is coming from, you're going to be in a better position to know that, but if you don't either, I'd suggest that either be something you start figuring out on your own or with the help of a counselor: once you get some clue as to the why, the how is going to be a lot more evident.
Member # 27246
posted 04-12-2006 07:27 AM
I did try to ignore what he was saying, an often i did blame myself for what he was like towards me, blamming myself thinking that i wasnt good enough for him and wasnt giving him what he wanted.
I think most of what he was doing wasnt physical but psychological, i think that alot of people will agree on that most of it you try to ignore but take it mentally and thats how it goes from there
Member # 20185
posted 04-12-2006 11:22 AM
Well, I've managed to go and do the same to my boyfriend. We were talking, in dinner table with a about 12 friends, about circumcision and females were enquired as to their preference (cut/uncut).
I *meant* to say that I find the matter-of-course circumcision on infants to be gross and unsettling, surgery should not be done to babies for no real reason at all, I find the whole thing unsettling. What I actually managed to say: Circumcised penises are gross and unsettling. I really don't know how it got that scrambled. Would have been a stupid thing to say anyway, but made horridly so by the fact that right next to me was sitting my brand-new boyfriend, who happens to be circumcised. He didn't look excactly happy, and can't blame him. I of course tried to amend to "I meant to say..." but found it a bit hard to explain. While of course I don't care at all whether a penis has a foreskin or not, long as it's attached to the guy I love... Took a while convincing male of that, though. Not one of my best moments. =7
Member # 28378
posted 04-13-2006 01:00 AM
Yes, my partner always grabs at my extra weight and I don't know, thinks he can joke around with me. But it truthfully hurts and I tell him about it. Therefore, last time he did it. It was the last day of being together with me. I will not let a guy ruin my day with a rude comment.
Member # 25983
posted 07-13-2007 12:09 AM
Member # 34625
posted 07-16-2007 11:31 AM
Hey everyone, I hope this gets a reply, I'd like your opinion.
As many have said, if you start dating someone and they insult you and make you feel bad about yourself, the only sane thing to do is to promptly leave, s/he's clearly not worth it. So what happens when youve been in a relationship with someone for 2 1/2 years and you are then told theyve always hated parts of you (for me, my largish labia and boob size) and that it still bothers them immensely. Then what do you do? Because now it's much harder, you have memories with this person and deep emotions, yet you find they dont really care as much as you thought they did. I'm so deeply upset and angry at the same time. How dare another person feel they can mess with someones emotions so much? I'm now extremely insecure about things I wasnt ever even aware of. I'm told none of his next girlfriends ever had labia's like mine and that really bothers him. What an insignificant thing to be affected by after all of this time! I'm really confused..any help?
Member # 3
posted 07-16-2007 12:49 PM
It might be helpful for you to think about how much it isn't a boon to anyone who is with a partner choosing them based on a mental list of specific kinds of "parts" he or she wants a partner to have.
In other words, it's obvious how that didn't benefit you with that partner, but it's also not a great thing to be with a partner who has chosen you or is staying with you because your breasts are a certain size or your labia look a certain way (especially when you consider that our bodies never stay the same over time: they're always changing): you're being reduced to a colletion of objects that way. I think with someone like this, this isn't so much a matter of "they didn't care as much as I thought they did," as "they didn't have the maturity and humanity I thought they did." This sort of behavious is seriously juvenile, in the "kill a bug and watch it die" kind of way. Your ex, on this point anyway, was a pretty immature guy. Maybe that was obvious in other arenas of your relationship, maybe it wasn't, but you not being with that person anymore when they're like this -- even though with that long of a relationship, of course you're going to miss them and feel pissed off feeling like you wasted time and energy for naught -- is nothing but a benefit, not a loss.
Member # 29525
posted 07-24-2007 01:39 AM
I've been fairly lucky in relationships. But I do recall one minor incident with my very first boyfriend two or three years after I'd first met him. We had begun to slowly explore each other's bodies in the innocent sort of way 15 year olds do...I recall that I had mixed feelings about letting him do anything to me from the waist down (I never did let him touch me). I told him this and we talked about it and eventually we attempted to plan something out he asked me what I was like 'down there' and I described it for him, he asked if I was hairy and I said yes.
This next part ticked me off a little. We had an exchange that went something like this: "You'll have to shave that off." "Whoa...wait a second, 'HAVE TO'? Why?" "Because I prefer it that way. Why don't you shave it anyway?" "Let me put it this way. Would you rake a RAZOR BLADE to your testicles willingly? I just don't want to cut myself and you're not supposed to use nair down there. I can't afford waxing." "Well, I'm a guy. I don't have to." Suffice it to say his argument was very weak. I stuck to my guns and decided to only allow him to see me from the waist up. It was such a silly sexist thing of him to say to me, we're still very close but its something I just can't see him eye to eye on. Its my body and I shouldn't have to do anything for anyone just because of my gender. Frankly, if he won't do it for me I don't see how I should have to do it for him. I spoke with my current boyfriend early on about the same thing and our exchange was more like: "I'm not shaved down there. Is that a problem for you?" "Nope. Its your body...I don't shave mine so I can't make you shave yours." He's a keeper. Its never bugged either of us to be quite honest.
Member # 34755
posted 07-24-2007 03:40 AM
My ex once told me that the first time he saw me, he thought I was Jewish because of my prominent nose. I don't even know where to start with that one--is it more offensive because it was racist, or because it was meant as a derogatory comment about my looks? Flip a coin.
I had already accepted that I wasn't a pretty girl, since I didn't look anything like the pretty girls I knew, and was more focused on being a smart girl. When he said that I became a lot more self-conscious about my nose, not to mention all my other flaws. The guy I'm with now has an endless supply of ways to tell me how beautiful I am. When he realized that I didn't seem to believe him, he made a concerted effort to convince me that it was true. I think Heather is right, the way a partner accepts or rejects your body says a lot about how that person will treat you in general. It might not be a foolproof litmus test, but it's a good clue.
Member # 13245
posted 07-25-2007 03:49 PM
My boyfriend used to make fun of my belly occasionally. I used to be really thin, and I know he prefers thin girls, but when i went on some meds, i gained about 15 lbs. It's not unhealthy according to my doctor, and so I've just accepted it. I didn't really mind him poking fun at it. This summer, we were going swimming, and I asked him which bathing suit he'd rather me wear, a one-piece style two piece, or a smaller bikini-style swim suit. His first comment was "is the beach public?" Which implied to me that he didn't want to be seen with me in a swimsuit that didn't cover my tummy. I was offended. I didn't say anything about it until a couple days later, once I'd thought it over and realized that was probably not at all what he meant. I was right, and he promised never to bother me about it again. It's not that he actually disliked it, but just that it was something he thought I was comfortable with him teasing me about.. *Sigh*
Then again, he prefers I keep my hair longer and that I shave my pubic hair. I do these things for him, since they're both inconveniences i wouldn't do otherwise (more time caring for hair, etc). But he keeps his hair long also, and keeps his face shaved.. We keep it even, and I know if I couldn't/didn't want to shave, he'd be okay with it. I understand him preferring to not have 2" hairs in his teeth