Last week I watched Iliza Shlesinger’s latest stand up show “Confirmed Kills” on Netflix and she was making a lot of jokes about sexuality and male porn fixation that I found interesting rather than funny. Especially what she said about female vulnerability and how men only think they want strong and independent women but it’s the vulnerability they really want. Think about it. High heels. You can’t run in high heels. Makes him feel in control. Makes her vulnerable. A skinny body – now that’s just oozing vulnerability. Silly, stupid blondes – a vulnerability that makes men feel smarter and better about themselves; “please help me do this because I caaan’t!”, “please help me explain that because I don’t understaaand”. He’ll be happy to help her.
My most vulnerable looks (2009-2010)
It’s a thing now days for young girls to PLAY stupid in front of boys. I’ve done it. I’ve lived in relationships where that role playing was the foundation of the attraction. This was of course my ‘Lolita’ curse, that I’m dealing with in my art right now.
It was partly my fault – I was looking for security and a authority figure because it was a familiar pattern from my childhood and I had no idea that I could be my own authority figure (my own Goddess). My need to feel comforted during the years with daily PTSD symptoms also played a big part in my Lolita role playing.
My vulnerability has been my most attractive quality – both in my art and writing but also when it comes to men. They have loved it. They couldn’t get enough of it. And their hunger for it almost destroyed me. It mostly attracted narcissistic men or men who wanted to feel powerful. I once had a brief online flirt with an English teacher from Baltimore. He was charming and showed himself vulnerable so he could get to mine. And he did. After a while he started to be cold, harsh and unreliable – and became very domineering. I ended it. After a year he showed up in my inbox with a link and said “I’ve found a girlfriend that I can be myself with and I’ve started living faithfully to who I am”. I didn’t understand what he meant, so I opened the link and it was a blog about their sado-masochistic adventures where he was the dominate partner and she was the submissive one. He had a talent for writing so he made their adventures into little short stories. I read a few. And I felt shocked. He described how he loved cutting her with razor blades while having sex and how she loved being cut, how she enjoyed being fucked while suffering from a stomach flu with a very high fever. It was all about her suffering and the empowerment of his ego. It was so sick. I felt nauseous.
In one of the posts he described exactly how he got his victims. How he played vulnerable to get under their skin. How he played their vulnerability like a puppet master. I couldn’t believe it. That’s what he had been doing to me! He saw me as a potential victim, during our conversations. Gross.
It wasn’t until I met a similar guy online that I realize that I have to change my behavior in order to stop attracting these abusive men. I stopped being over-vulnerable and started to protect it. I will never stop being vulnerable in my work, but I don’t have to waste my vulnerability on strangers or people who doesn’t deserve it.
My vulnerability is one of my most precious qualities and it isn’t for other people to play around with so that they can feel stronger, smarter or better about themselves. It is sexy because it is me in my most naked form, it isn’t sexy because it makes me look weak in front of a man. Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. Taking advantage of someone else’s vulnerability to be able to stroke the ego is a weakness. Being unable to be vulnerable is a weakness. Not being able to appriciate vulnerability is a weakness. Judging vulnerabilities is a weakness.
Daring to be vulnerable is beautiful. And real. So fucking real.