Young Sexuality

When and how do young girls start getting messages about sexuality?

Today, I bought a lacy, low-cut, satin nightgown. As I tried it on, I had flashbacks to a moment when I was about nine or ten years old. I, like many young girls, enjoyed playing dress-up in my mother’s closet. I would try on her high heels, wear her shirts as dresses, and sling a pocketbook over my shoulder as though it had always belonged there. On this particular occasion, I found a low-cut crushed velvet nightgown crunched in a corner of the closet. I tried it on, and it looked fabulous ! It hit me right at my knees, showed off the breasts I was just beginning to devlop, and, because I am practically a carbon copy of my mother, was the perfect color to bring out my skin tone. I stood in the mirror, stunned. I didn’t know my body could look this beautiful. Suddenly, I heard footsteps coming down the hall, and I scrambled to put my clothes back on. It wasn’t that I didn’t want my mom finding me playing dress-up in her closet, it was that I didn’t want her to know I had found that.

At that age (and frankly, even to this day), I was a jeans and t-shirt type of person. I didn’t wear low-cut things. Mini-skirts were too confusing to sit in. Anything with lace or frills was just too uncomfortable. And yet, when I tried on this nightgown, I was aware, for the first time, that my body was beautiful. It hugged me in the right places, hid that baby fat that I was self-conscious of, and put my chest in a place of honor.

I took a polaroid of myself in the nightgown, placed it back in the closet, and hid that polaroid in a box in a bag under my bed. No one could ever find out, I told myself. I had been so naughty for thinking of myself as sexy. It was just wrong to try to look like that.

Where did I get that idea from? What part of pop-culture was it that told me that looking sexy was a bad thing? What was it that told me to be ashamed of how good my body could look? Why did I feel like I had to hide that side of me?

Whatever it was, it stayed with me to this day. That nightgown I just bought? The first real piece of lingerie I’ve worn since that time when I was nine. And when will I wear it? At moments like this, when I am home alone, and want to feel pretty. As soon as I hear my roommates get home, off it will go, to the bottom of the closet, until I pull it out again, maybe years down the line.

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Facebook Enables Insecurity

Girls like to over-analyze. So do bloggers. Therefore, I can feel justified in falling into multiple stereotypes as I write the following.

Today, I noticed that despite the fact that my boyfriend and I currently live 4 hours away from each other and only have the chance to get together once a week at best, approximately 50% of the pictures tagged of me on facebook from this past year have him in it. That’s grossly disproportional to the amount of time that I spend with him.
Why so many pictures of us together?
I recently read an article which reported on a study that found that people are happier with their relationship when they see pictures of them with their significant other. So perhaps that’s it.
Another thought hit me tonight. I am going kayaking with him tommorow. While thinking about what to pack, I debated bringing a camera. Pros-kayaking pics are awesome. Cons-digital cameras are expensive to replace if damaged by water. Clearly the cons outweighed the pros on this. But I REALLY wanted to bring it. Why?? I have gone on a number of fun outings this summer with friends (strawberry picking, fourth of july fireworks, outdoor movie on the waterfront) where I felt no need to take pictures. But for some reason, outings with my boyfriend seem to necessitate picture taking.
Furthermore, what is my purpose in taking the pictures? Are they for me or for my friends? I certainly feel more of a push to publish my boyfriend pictures online than my friend pictures.
Could it be that I need to project how cute of a couple we are to the world? Am I that insecure with our relationship, that I need other people to see how happy we are? Do I need a reminder that my relationship is a happy one? Why isn’t the knowledge that I did those things enough?
Am I so insecure in my relationship that I have to validate it by posting tons of pictures of me and my boyfriend? Have I really become THAT girl?