Hello my loves and happy Monday. I want to apologize for failing to get a newsletter to you on Friday. I was in NYC, aka my favorite city, visiting two of my boyfriends. It was amazing and if you want photographic evidence check out my Instagram.
The best parts were dinner at Balthazar, a VIP Museum Hack tour of the Met, discovering American Two Shot randomly, staying at NOMO SOHO where the rooms look like what I’d decorate like if I could recreate my favorite Pinterest rooms, cocktails at the Ship, chicken and waffles at native Alabamian Amy Ruth’s in Harlem, and going into Burger King in Bed Stuy scary high and asking for a small fry, bottle of water, and bathroom key.
I’ll get into what I’ve been reading momentarily, maybe. I first want to catch you up on some drama. So first, there was this. And then I follow it up with this.
I have to say, it just galls me that in this day and age, people still exist who stop seeing a woman as a complete person the moment she talks about sex. From then on, everything she says or has ever said that’s not about sex is disregarded as unimportant, and talking about sex defines her.
There was one exchange, this this thread, which I found particularly illuminating.
Julie, responding to me: “I’ve seen a handful of libertarian women make their polyamorous lifestyle their identity within the movement. I would include you in that. The problem isn’t talking about sex. We’re adults. We do it, too. It’s when a woman becomes known within the libertarian movement for her sex life that she put on display rather than her commentary/intellect on libertarian issues.”
My response: “My identity is multifaceted and extends far beyond what I do with my vagina Julie Borowski. I’m ‘known’ among literate people as a writer who covers topics of power, including sex. That you can only see one aspect of me says more about you than I think you realize.”
Julie: “Well, alright, if that’s what you think people think about you.”
What’s funny/tragic about this is that what Julie is showing is that she’s even more sex-obsessed than I am. Which is impressive. For her, and people like her, writing about sex isn’t just writing about one more thing. It’s the thing that person writes about.
If someone writes about police abuse, overcrim, taxes, and sex, I can somehow see them as a complete person who covers a broad range of topics. To Julie, writing about sex defines a person. For her, it’s your sex life or your commentary/intellect. You cannot do both. You cannot be known for both. You must choose.
It’s a sad, small view of sex, and of intellect.
Truth be told, I think it’s sad I’m all upset about internet drama. But it honestly hurts my feelings to be reduced to my vagina, whether it’s an insecure girl doing it or a guy. Feminists go on and on about men objectifying women, but I’ve never been more objectified in my life than someone telling me that writing about sex invalidates all my other work.
It’s also emblematic of some real serious misogyny lingering in the culture.
Folks need to remember:
In sum, if boobs are the reason you’re not being taken seriously, the people who are deciding either need better criteria or you need better material. But no matter what, I assure you that the boobs are not the problem.
Love you all. Stay amazing. Links for your tomorrow.
Okay here’s one. As Igor said, it’s me as a baby.
Mark Rizzn Hopkins
I don’t think Julie is more sex-obsessed. I think a more accurate refinement of that phrase is she’s image obsessed. She (somewhat rightly) understands that the public has difficulty keeping more than a couple things in their mind about a person at the same time. This is the challenge of managing a public persona.
Cult of personalities being what they are, one dominant trait will emerge. That can be a trait of sexuality, or of a political issue, or some other trait. Point is, with the way social media works, your cult is on display. If I walk up to a crowd throwing dollars at naked women, and it’s a strip club crowd, I’m immediately going to assume that crowd is all about sex.
It doesn’t make me sex obsessed to not know immediately that the crowd is also libertarian, or is also polyamorous, or likes sugar in their coffee, or any other random assortment of common traits. Humans function on pattern recognition. That’s how we’re wired.
Not trying to be a dick
I don’t know you but if you bring the same “look at me” attitude to talking about sex that your NYC recap brought to this post, people probably respond accordingly. I’m poly and I learned a long time ago that “casually” dropping lines like “had to go visit two of my boyfriends” always comes off as egotistical and attention seeking. If you’re upset about people viewing you one dimensionally it probably has a lot more to do with this quality than anything else.
This is 100% true. I’ve read your work from time to time, and some of it is quite good, especially the stuff with a scope beyond sex, which you say you want to be recognized for. But you have quite clearly put a conscious branding out there, as the person above explains. When you humble brag about your boyfriends and being scary high, expect people to remember that. It doesn’t mean your commentary on other issues isn’t good, or that there’s even anything wrong with your behavior. But branding and image matter. It’s not misogynist for people to point out that your brand is what it is.
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