The Body Issue: The Case for Sexy
I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story — I will. I will speak and share and love and I will never apologize to the frightened millions who resent that they never had it in them to do it. I stand here and I am amazing, for you. Not because of you. I am not my weight. I am not my mother. I am myself. And I am all of you, and I thank you. – Amy Schumer
I like to think that my body is stuck in the year I turned 23, save for a little weight loss. I’m a 5ft 4 pear shaped woman woman who has a 27 inch waist and 42 inch hips. That ratio is curvy by any standard, and is particularly seen as desirable and sexy in these parts. But yeah, i think I’d be considered sexy.
Sexy. That word is hella confusing. Lately I’ve read articles where men (Reno Omokri I’m talking to you) claim that it is better to be beautiful than sexy. Problem is the word “sexy” is in itself subjective. Sexy may be interpreted as meaning sexually attractive, and we all know that what one person finds sexually attractive may be repulsive to another person. So while one person is drooling, another person is going “eww”. For instance, some men say they are “Ass men” while others say they are “Boobs Men”. And that’s fine. So for starters the notion of telling women to intentionally not be sexy is ridiculous, seeing as we don’t necessarily set these standards.
Before I became curvy, I was straight, like the letter “I” and I still got cat called and propositioned. (To put things in perspective, I weighed 45kg till I was 22). I remember the Non-Academic staff who worked in a Exams and Records and all but threatened me because I’d need him since I was in my final year. And then the senior citizen at NYSC who was to help with my redeployment to Lagos but chose instead to invite me to come and rendezvous with him at Rita Lori Hotel. Then there was the man who gave me a lift once on my way to my grandma’s house and managed to tell me during the short drive that he wanted to “lick me like a tom-tom”. At this time I was about 40kg and struggling to fill up UK 8 pants. That was before all the curves.
Now post curves: I understand that I can wear the exact same dress as my slimmer friends and look like I’m tricking, so I’m a little careful with my style. Clothes will naturally cling and then my skirt will probably ride up my hips. However, your perception is entirely yours. I remember once I wanted to buy a pair of jeans with a back zipper and my then boyfriend told me that that was why I always got harassed. It didn’t make a lot of sense at the time but I didn’t argue. In the last few years, my personality has also grown a lot. I grew from loving my body to trying to hide it under long shirts and tunics to realizing that I am a goddess, and then trying to be modest again for these earthlings. Right now, I’m in the “whatever” phase.
I realize that I’m not responsible for your morality, I’m only responsible for mine. I dress as decently as a modern Christian close to 30 year-old woman should. I have a mind of my own, and such a strong sense of self, and I just let my personality shine through. When I feel the need to show a little décolleté I do. When I think I should show my legs, I do. When I want to wear fitted clothes, I do. Somedays I wake up and decide that I want to dress sexy, and I do. Somedays I want to look like a bum, I can pull that off too. Somedays, I want to be a tom-boy, and on other days I want to look like I stepped right out of Aso-Ebi Bella Instagram feed into real life. I can do all of that if I want too. I dress up for myself, so it’s never about who sees me or who doesn’t. If you decide to ogle, that’s on you. If you want to catcall, please go on. If you find me sexy or your husband or boyfriend or brother, that’s on you or them. I will wear whatever I want to wear as much as my religious views permit, but I will not be held responsible for your lack of self control.
And sorry I’m not sorry about not fitting in the little box you made for me. I am beautiful, undoubtedly. If you find me “sexy”, let’s talk about what was going on in your head when you were looking at me. If my body makes you uncomfortable, either as a man or as a woman on behalf of her man, my bad. You should look away.