There is a certain stigma attached to women like me which I have been aware of for years but which was only explained to me with any smidgen of insight a few days ago. A very good male friend Sean explained to me while I was uttering annoyances about a recent suitor’s presumptuous remarks toward me, that the stigma of alternative styled women being promiscuous was in his opinion derived from stereotypes he and his friends had in highschool, fifteen years ago.
The expression he used as an example was “If she smokes, she pokes.”
Apparently, the concensus amongst teenage boys in the mid-nineties was this:
If a girl smoked cigarettes, she was very likely to be rebellious against her parents and society, therefore taking part in things she was not supposed to be doing. In this case, “pokes” referred to sex. Now, I’m not going to be too certain to assume that 16 year old boys know much of anything, especially regarding female psychology, however it does make sense that the stereotype of girls who dye their hair, wear black make up, and dress in alternative fashion, could be taken from this type of context. The rebel. The anti-do-gooder. The opposition of the mainstream. The sexual prowler?
The influence of music was also raised as a point, the cliché of sex, drugs and rock and roll being relevant in judging a girl by her rock and roll style. The types of girls influenced by music like punk, rock, goth, electronica, etc over the years perhaps developed a stereotype of being party girls who lose their inhibitions faster. Or, they hang out in these crowds and listen to this music from an adolescent age to rebel, oppose the mainstream, and come of age with a feeling of independence from normalcy.
One other suggestion brought up by my younger sister who herself is a dark haired dark eyed vixen, (but a much less dramatic one than me, to be sure) was that dark clothing and make up are associated with the fetish community, which is why people assume our counter-cultured appearances make people think we are more open to sexual comment than we actually are.
The word “fetish” has been pigeonholed as bondage, domination, sado-masochism, etc, generalized as the beating and demeaning sexual preferences of some people. Fetishes reach far further than that, with the most common example being the foot fetish. There is no stigma attached to it that requires the people interested in foot fetishes be wearing any particular types of clothing or wear any make up or have any special shade of hair color. A foot fetish is considered to be something that regular people take part in. So, in theory this should mean that any other type of fetish also does not require its partakers to look any certain way.
The most annoying thing about peoples’ ideas of what fetishes are defined as, is that there seems to be an acceptance of what men are into, but not what women are into. For instance, I am into men who wear eyeliner and can pull off wearing women’s clothing but still look like men. Like rockstars. But I find that I can’t tell this to men until I know them pretty well and have already established a relationship with them, because it scares them that they assume I am trying to humiliate them into doing something they don’t want to do. The point of a fetish is not always to humiliate, that is one specific type. The point of a fetish is admission of your deepest fantasies and carrying them out. If a man has a fetish for nurses and having me dress like one and pretend to care for him, that seems to be ok with everyone. But if I want to have a guy wear my t-shirts and my panties, I am some big weirdo. The sexual prowler. Maybe I can’t win by telling the truth. Maybe it all comes full circle, and my deep fantasies really do reflect the stereotype that I resent.
HOWEVER, I keep it private. I keep my sexuality to myself until I decide I want to show it to someone. It cannot be lured out, guys. So don’t try, because it will instantly make me turn my back on you. If you want a classy woman, behave like a classy man, and then show her your darker side once you know her and once you think she will be comfortable succumbing to it.
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