Women

A Stranger Told Me I Shouldn’t Take Sexy Selfies As A Mom. Here’s My Response.

A Stranger Told Me I Shouldn't Take Sexy Selfies As A Mom. Here's My Response.

I worried about losing myself when I became a mom. This manifested in me spending the first year of my son’s life pushing the stroller the nine blocks back and forth from day care in 4-inch stilettos that required me to hunch over at an ungodly angle. It was extreme, and I don’t recommend it, but at least nobody could call me frumpy!

In addition to good shoes, my sexuality has always been an important part of my identity. I revel in the performance of femininity, whether it’s my acrylic nails, my lash extensions or my near-exclusive preference for dresses and skirts. I like to feel sexy on my own terms. Being sexy shouldn’t always be a priority, but gosh, I think it can be fun!

As someone who has struggled with self-esteem issues across a range of body sizes, that feeling of desirability is hard won. So sometimes, when I feel it, I take a photo and post it to my Instagram story, where it will self-destruct after 24 hours.

They’re never pornographic, but I’ll post a selfie in a swimsuit I feel good in, in one of my beloved loungewear sets that prominently features my not-meager amount of cleavage, in one of my clingy “activity dresses” that I’m convinced are for sex, not exercise.

Seeing a photo of myself, in this body, in which I feel sexy, is incredible therapy. And for those of us in marginalized bodies, like mine, which has settled into solidly plus size during the pandemic, seeing others share images like these can be revelatory.

And sometimes I simply like the way I look. Women are encouraged to cultivate a pleasing appearance since birth, but never to show satisfaction with our efforts. We are supposed to be embarrassed about feeling pretty, or taking pleasure in that feeling. We’re to be always quietly striving for beauty without seeming to be, never feeling like we measure up.

In a world where women waste decades just learning to like ourselves, I consider succeeding in that task an accomplishment, not something to be ashamed of.

Recently, I was intrigued by an Instagram trend in which users would post an anonymous message box through an app called NGL, mostly because it seemed low-key horny, eliciting crush confessions and declarations of the user’s hotness. It felt self-indulgent in a slightly embarrassing way, but if you read the previous paragraphs, you know I’m not against self-indulgence on principle.

So I downloaded the app and posted a semi-sheepish message eliciting confessions, questions and compliments, and asking…

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