Years ago I used to add naked photos of myself to my posts. This post is about why I felt more comfortable about stopping than continuing.
When I stopped I lost more than 75% of my regular readers.
Australian self-photography and snark blogger Geekyvamp things have changed since... well... ok, mostly since she and others like her have started being able to curate Tumblr blogs of erotic and pornographic imagery she wants to see.
When I was a young indignant feminist with fire in my eyes, I would regularly enter adult shops and demand to know where the “porn for women” was. “I want to see naked men! show me them!”. the bemused male shop assistant would proceed to point to the gay porn section, and I would respond “NO! they’re still posing for the male gaze. I want to know that they’re posing for me. why should I have to appropriate them!”
invariably the shop assistant would give me a lecture at this point on how “women don’t like porn. they prefer reading romance novels.”
That was 20 years ago. Thankfully the internet has provided a space in which that binary can be shaken up a bit.
I'd always felt more activist than erotic about posting my own photos, so while I never felt bad about doing it I felt less... well... exposed when I stopped.
One of the reasons I feel a lot less urgency about blogging is that a heck of a lot of stuff that used to be drastically overlooked about sex is... well... at least a lot less overlooked. Back in 2006 I wasn't voted the DirtySpoke Reader's Choice Best Male Blog because I took the best erotic photos of my naked, hetro-male self.
I actually wasn't the best, and I certainly wasn't the best looking. Instead it was more like the old Grateful Dead bumper sticker "He might not be the best at what he does but he's the only one doing it."
Instead I tried an experiment of making erotic photographs of hetero men based on what hetero women said interested them. As opposed to what, like GeekyVamp's pornshop operator (and everybody else) said women were "supposed" to be interested in.
And back then there really weren't a lot of people doing that.
Now? It's a whole 'nother world out there. A lot of women are posting visual imagery of what turns them on, not what the same bunch of guys responsible for pretty much all porn until maybe 1990 thought women ought to might like.
Enough so that the uncompromising, Andrea Dworkin quoting author of STFU Fauxminists can still answer "how do I wean my boyfriend away from what pornography has taught him sex is meant to be like" this way
First off, have you told him straight up that he doesn’t make you come? If you’ve tried hinting around and you find that’s not working for you, it’s time to be direct. And maybe you could direct him to some things that you like. Tell him what you like and what makes you come. Or, in order to kind of direct him away from porn, you could show him some feminist porn or some erotica? Something more centered on women’s pleasure? I mean, I tend to read smut for that, so I probably won’t have many helpful recommendations as to what you could offer, but I’m sure my followers might?
Source: STFU Fauxminists!
Even 10 years ago it would have been hard to answer the question that way. (Not impossible. But hard. Nothing like what women are able to curate for themselves today.)
Oh, and for the record? When I stopped posting those photos my readership dropped about 75%. And dropped nearly another 75% when I took down the ones in my archives. Now I'm wistful but relieved to say the numbers wouldn't go back up if I started posting again. There's now, maybe finally, too much able competition.