Using children as props isn’t a good look.
Sexuality doesn’t have to fit neatly into a checkbox.
How many people can say they play with sex toys during their morning meetings?
“Maybe I should have said something, but at that moment, just getting out of there unnoticed and safely seemed most important…”
She touched me with the same familiarity that I touch myself.
This is why I’m letting go.
I can’t help but feel society doesn’t want me to have a positive relationship with sex.
I’m not particularly interested in looking for a romantic relationship.
Man, I feel like a woman.
We don’t fit neatly into your little box.
Because the future of female-kind is at stake.
‘Gays have enemies. They lurk in gilded closets.’
Whenever I mention the name Ruby Rose, the reaction is a distant look, a half-smile and a sighed repetition of those two delightfully alliterated words. The 29-year-old has firmly carved her niche. Whether as a model, actress, philanthropist, DJ or VJ; you will know her from whichever fabulous branch has happened to brush you. Her work as androgynous beauty, Stella Carlin, in Orange Is The New Black turned heads and hearts and gave many heterosexual women reason to question whether they really are straight-up-and-down.
I am absolutely one of these questioning ladies. However, Ruby Rose was my bisexual awakening long before her pink underwear peeked over the edge of her prison pants. When I was 19, I was working as an usher in a theatre. I had a number of lesbian friends, but being sexually attracted to another girl was something that had never occurred to me. One night before work, my fellow ushers and I were briefed that Ruby Rose was coming to see the show. I hadn’t really heard of her, so one of my guy friends (who was really into lesbians) filled me in. After a quick Google search, I had a vague idea of what to expect.
Later that evening, it was made known to us that she was held up and that we would seat her with the latecomers. I was on foyer duty and responsible for explaining the ten minute lockout rules regarding mobile phones/photography in the theatre, blah blah blah. A couple of minutes into the lockout, a woman walked in, looked around tentatively and approached me.
“Um, hi… I’m waiting for my friend… Ruby Rose,” she said.
“Yes, of course!” I replied, my eyes bright with customer service enthusiasm. “We’ve been informed that she will arrive soon.”
“No problem – can I wait here?” she muttered. I confirmed that she was indeed welcome to wait in the foyer and turned my attention once more to the front doors, growing increasingly curious about our famous guest. Finally, the ornate doorway opened again and in walked this person…
She had the presence of five people and I felt the energy in the room shift as she glided in. She wasn’t so much tall as statuesque; with an immaculate pixie cut, skin tight dress and piercing eyes. Her mouth was a perfect rosy hue; it shone with painstakingly applied (presumably Maybelline) lip gloss. As she moved towards me, I caught a whiff of her perfume. It made me weak at the knees. And the tattoos… Holy hell, I’d never found ink that attractive before, but on her…
Finally, Ruby reached me. I was speechless (which, for me, is a HUGE deal). “Um…hi – hi, welcome,” I finally managed to stutter. She looked at me contemplatively for a second, then opened her sumptuous mouth to speak: “Could you please tell me where the bathroom is?”
I fumbled over myself, gesticulating clumsily towards the ladies room. I was as jumpy as a whore in church. Ruby thanked me politely and moved away. As I stood in her wake, I knew that something extraordinary had happened. Did I – for the very first time – have a crush on a girl?!
It was then that the vast spectrum of human sexuality began to reveal itself. I’m not saying that sexuality is a choice (it isn’t) and I still identify as straight, but my God; Ruby Rose flicked a very important switch in me that evening. So Ruby; keep doing your thing, because I think it’s quite astounding that of all the people I’ve met, the places I’ve been, the experiences I’ve had; what has affected me so potently is spending three minutes in the presence of Ruby Rose.
Image via Nylon.com
I don’t like the term “slut”. I first encountered it in my early days at an all-girls high school. None of us knew what it meant, so we threw it around as the most casual of insults. That is, until the older girls got wind of it and told us never ever to call a girl that because it was the WORST POSSIBLE THING you could say. “Why? What does it mean?” we asked. The hurried reply was, “It means a girl who has sex with heaps of guys and that’s something you really shouldn’t do, okay?”
There it was – the first time we experienced the phobia of female sexuality. Suddenly, every interaction with a member of the opposite sex was scrutinised. Giggling with a boy on the train? Slut. Kissed more than one guy at the school dance? Whore. Lost your virginity? Skank. The reverse was true as well; if you didn’t talk to boys, wouldn’t kiss anyone, and weren’t sexually active, then you were a frigid prude. You couldn’t win, and you couldn’t say anything about it.
This paranoia was reinforced by mufti day dress codes; no spaghetti straps, no skirts above the knee, no hipster jeans, etc. It was these laws of appropriate dress that got me wondering. Why were we being forced to cover up? Being a precocious girl, I asked one of the teachers, and expected her to talk about wearing comfortable clothes for learning. Instead, her response (I kid you not) was, “Because we have male teachers at this school, and we need to be considerate of them.”
What the actual what?! How was that fair? And why did she have so little faith in male teachers?! Besides, the local boys schools didn’t have those dress rules. They also didn’t scold each other if one of them went to second base with a girl at so-and-so’s 16th birthday. On the contrary… they CONGRATULATED each other. So why was being a girl so different?
Right from the outset, women are conditioned to be ashamed of their sexuality. We come up against this every day, and not just because of our sex lives. This phobia inhibits our behaviour and the way we interact.
Here’s an example. When I am in a social situation with both men and women, one of the less inhibited men will make a few witty comments loaded with sexual innuendo. The whole group will laugh, happily joke with him, and move onto the next topic. HOWEVER…being fairly uninhibited myself, I will usually make a similar comment a few minutes later. Same context, same tone, same situation (and usually funnier). The reaction is always terrifyingly different. The group will stop, look around nervously, and inevitably say three things:
- “Ooh, you’re terrible!”
- “I can’t believe you said that!”
- “Well, someone’s sexually frustrated…”
There it is again! We now have a triple standard. Not only are women unable to have sex without being shamed, we also can’t even talk about it. It’s not normalised; you’re either terrible, unbelievable, or (my least favourite) sexually frustrated for bringing it up. And sadly, it’s women who do most of the shaming. Who can blame us? Being embarrassed by our own desires has become second nature.
Ladies, it is time to stop punishing each other. If you want to sleep with 10 guys this week, you go ahead and do it (just remember, use a condom). If you only have one guy you want to sleep with, feel free to do that too. Above all else, it’s time to stop using the word “slut”… I can think of more interesting four letter words.
Image via Dailyurbanista.com