CityinThree

Bodies are an intricate part of our society. We each have a body and we all interact with bodies every...
Bodies are an intricate part of our society. We each have a body and we all interact with bodies every single day in some way or another, sometimes without even knowing it. But not all bodies live in society the same way and as a result not all bodies are treated the same way. As I am a white privileged young women, I have my own personal relationship with my body, just like everyone else. The experience and connection I have with my physical body will not be the same or sometimes not even similar to others, even if we share the same intersectionality’s. There’s a certain experience associated with my body, how I feel about my body, how I’ve grown to love my body, and how others see my body. All of these different aspects that make up my body life experience is influenced by all kinds of factors, such as my gender, race, sexuality, class, and my able-body.

One topic there are different spaces in which bodies exist and how certain spaces only allow certain types of bodies. The public and private sphere is a good example of this. When I am in my own home, I am in a private sphere in which I have all control. When I’m in my own space I can determine whether or not my body is a sexual body by what I wear like lingerie or the acts that I partake in. But if I were to step outside into the public sphere then I do not have full control over my body. Why is this? Because my body can be sexualized anywhere in public by whomever and I have no say in the matter, simply because I am a woman. My body is deemed a sexual body when I am being sexualized in public by others because of hegemonic ideals and men’s power control associated with their masculinity.
For example, in the public sphere, I could get catcalled while wearing a sweater and walking down the street. This simple act is an example of men thinking they have the right to women’s bodies just because of the masculinity that is automatically associated with their gender under heteronormative ideals. But if I were to wear a skimpy lingerie-like top to the club it is deemed as acceptable in a certain context. I have decided to wear this and therefore I am the one in control of my body, however, I am not in control of how others view my body. If I were to analyse me wearing this kind of sexy top from a more feminist standpoint then I could say that I am using my body to disrupt the social norms and standards of beauty since I am a larger sized woman which is not the ideal body of a woman under heteronormativity.

In comparison to public spaces and having less control, when I am in my own home and space, I have a choice as to whether or not my body is a sexual body. My private sphere as less forces encroaching on my sexualisation, but as soon as I allow someone else into my private space, I lose some control as well, but not all. So although this is a place for me where I can have and gain control, it is not the case for those with physical disabilities. Because disabled bodies are sometimes confined to their bed, they are more vulnerable to acts of sexual assault or violence of some kind (Siebers, 2012, 45). So even though I am an abled body, when I am in my bed do I still have control?

Being an able-bodied individual, I hold a lot of privilege in not only in the spaces I go, but also in how I date compared to someone who has a physical disability. Toxic and hegemonic masculinity can and is reinforced in dating and can occur in the bedroom in mysterious ways. By mysterious ways I mean hegemonic masculinity can be so embedded in the actions that are expected to happen in the bedroom that they are the normal and are not on one’s radar usually. However, recently, I have been more aware of how my body is being treated and carried in my life. For example, why does having hair equate to being manly? Recently, a guy I was with said to me “Do you like my manly hairy chest?” He was so appalled when I suggested for him to shave it off. Then later when I was impressed with the softness of his beard, he seemed to be proud, like having a thick beard makes him manlier. Do situations like this fuel men’s doubts and result in them changing their appearance? Furthermore, does this contribute to the notion that women need to be hairless because hair is masculine?
I have questioned how my body is situated in different spaces compared to those with disabilities and how hegemonic masculinity can be embedded in the bedroom activities without necessarily realizing it. This is a clear example of how different bodies are treated in relation to power structures in public and private spheres. So who has control over their bodies if the control changes depending on the space they are in? This might be a good question to ask yourself the next time you are in a public or private space!