Striped Stockings Monologue

Do I make you feel
out of sorts? Is my flesh
too much for your eyes
to suffer? Do nipples
and buttocks offend you?

I see.

You want me
all covered up,
restricted. Why? How
does my being
who I am affects
your living?

I offend you,
you mean? Well, too bad—
your stupidity insults me
all the time,

but you won’t see me
putting a bra on it.

.
the wee notes…
– Some time ago, someone (and I’m disgusted to say the someone is an educated woman) said that she wore brassieres and clothes that covered her unshaven legs, “out of respect for others. A woman has the freedom to look and be as nasty as she wants. But it would be wrong to make other people suffer her lack of pride.” I remember staring at her pinched expression, and thinking, I hope your self-hatred isn’t contagious. I also felt a bit sorry for her… and a lot sickened by her beliefs.
–  Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads ~ Tuesday Platform.

 


“Beautiful Freak in Striped Hose”, by Shelle Kennedy

91 thoughts on “Striped Stockings Monologue

  1. This weekend, the best part of pride events for me was seeing so many women, beautiful and strong and confident, with hairy legs and armpits. On the dyke march, there was lots of shirtlessness 🙂 And it was so great for me to see because I was seeing *real* women with *real* bodies just – celebrating being who they are.

    When the march was over, I overheard a conversation where a guy who didn’t know what was going on asked some participants in the march many questions, one of which was why so many people took their shirts off and “exposed themselves” (his words!) They answered many things, one of which was how women are so often shamed for their bodies and this is an expression of being comfortable with your body, and of recognition that there are people who find you beautiful, even when you sometimes hate your body.

    I went way off topic here, but oh my goodness, I do love this poem – and Shelle’s painting!

    • I don’t think you went off topic at all. The poem was inspired by the sense of disgust many of us feel at the sight of individuals trying to shame others. I think said feelings become even more infuriating, when the ones doing the shaming behave as if they are doing what they do because they too high and mighty not to protect the poor women (and men) who are too depraved to protect themselves from being (and looking) human.

  2. I love this! Your words are all so true. I rarely wear a bra because it’s painful and rarely shave for the same reason. Your person you speak of insults me as well and your words are wonderfully penned. Your writing and Shelle’s beautiful art always pair up perfectly. You both are such amazing artistic women. Big hugs and lots of love my friend, Rasz

  3. Isn’t amazing how the exposure or ‘unshackling’ of body parts, that purely personal thing, is often attempted to be ‘stolen’ by another, I think ‘exposing’, be it flesh (or even ideals), it forces the viewer to realise they DO NOT control the other person (which makes them uncomfortable), they DO NOT have rights over another person’s body, their thoughts, they DO NOT need to speak on behalf of the rest of the human race & give their twisted interpretation of what they may think and how they should be protected from this natural form…
    I love the tail was totally accepted…I love that Ms Wicked, not a mention… perfect 🙂 Sometimes peoples prejudices blind them from so much…

    • “they DO NOT need to speak on behalf of the rest of the human race & give their twisted interpretation of what they may think and how they should be protected from this natural form…” I think this is key. The moment some people (and groups) stop believing themselves the mouth of the entire universe, maybe more will be free.

      And I’m so glad you noticed that I purposely didn’t mention the tail. The extra limb made me think of how too many people, on the name of politeness, ignore things like wheelchairs or, I don’t know, a huge scars. As if they are shameful, and not just as much part of who and what the person is as an eyeball. Perhaps, even more.

    • We got there in the end. Thanks for taking the time to fix it. I really visiting those who take the time to comment on my words, and having a direct link to their cyber-home makes things a lot easier. 🙂

  4. Hubby once laughed as I undressed for bed….I glared in embarrassment until he said ” you obviously hate wearing a bra…you always look so relieved as you take it off”. Maybe I need to work on my “self hatred” a little 🙂 XXX

    • There is no self-hatred in choosing to wear or not to wear any piece garment. Heck, running without some sort of chest support is not the most pleasant experience, so… bras can be wonderful tools. The self-hatred (and hatred towards others, I think) is found in believing that those who choose not to do it are nasty or have no pride. Like what clothes we choose to wear have anything to do with that.

      Oh, and I would say to tell Patrick to stop trying to get you out of your bra, but he won’t… *CWS*

  5. Gosh this one sings to my soul!❤️ I whole-heartedly agree that we should be allowed to dress in whichever way that we want and shouldn’t have to put up with other people’s nonsensical beliefs. Beautifully executed.❤️

  6. Love the boldness and fierceness… I think most are ‘offended’ maybe because deep inside, they wish they had the boldness and fierceness that others have the chutzpah to do what they wish they could do.

    • That would make it even worse, to fling venom at another person’s behavior just because they wish they could behave that way but are afraid to. It makes it really bad and really sad.

  7. Sadly I feel the impact of that attitude every day. I haven’t shown my legs in 20 years because of similar sentiments towards my varicose veins. It wasn’t even aimed towards me personally. A radio personality quipped that he was disgusted by seeing women with varicose veins in shorts or skirts with bare legs. After that moment I was so self-conscious I could never bare my legs again. And I haven’t worn a bathing suit in over 20 years either. I’m actually in tears because I hadn’t thought about it for so long. It’s automatic for me. Just another one of those self-imposed “unwanted leashes” that serve to tame me. That is why that piece you created spoke such truth to me. 💔🥀💔

    • Society can be a terrible parent and an even worse peer.

      People go around having their lives affected by strangers, who obviously didn’t think about what their words might do (or didn’t care). My Piano Man and I were discussing the lady whose words inspired part of this poem. I was waiting for a prescription, when she said these things–she’s a doctor. She wasn’t talking to me. At first, I thought she was referring to me not wearing a bra. Then I realized she was just talking, just talking. But her careless talk had more than one woman in the room looking at her legs or crossing her arms over her breasts.

      We should be better people. But most of us aren’t. I wish I could hug you right now, find a way to say that the person who said that all those years ago knows nothing about you, the wonderful woman you are, and shouldn’t affect you so much. But we all know how that works–some of us are lucky enough to be able to flip the bird in the direction of society’s nonsense. Others, not so much. And for those others, we need to find a way to fix it. I don’t know how yet, but we must… one poem, one painting, one look that says this-is-not-okay. Going braless and sharing the freedom. Displaying our hair arms, and saying, “Look, my sweet, we are both human and beautiful too.”

  8. To feel at ease in ones skin is such a big deal for some. Is it not a shame when within our natural covering lies a beautiful soul. I so liked the images along with your words.

  9. A powerful and pertinent statement of the truth. Sadly the world is fucking nuts and people would rather spend hours justifying the shaving and sculpting of the female form as normal and full of health benefits. My eldest daughter wrote a performance piece called Ten Women directed at this and other forms of objectification. It ended with the cast choosing how much of their clothing to strip off…some went full nude, others to underwear…some had shaved legs, some not…the whole point is CHOICE. ps…glad my fb comment made you giggle.

    • The things–the wonders!–one could be doing, if peeling and waxing and covering up was not such a big deal. Not that I’m saying that those things are a bad thing, but like your daughter shows in her piece, it’s all about choice. And the way society is these days, to choose means to be a rebel… and some people just don’t want to deal with that.

      I’m glad (and grateful) for the giggles, too, dearest Paul. 🙂

  10. Powerful poetry, I love the gorgeous biting attitude, giving it right back , love it! And Shelle’s art to match is exquisite…beautiful collaboration.

    Our bodies are so beautiful no matter what shape, form, appearance or how we choose to adorn or not adorn them..we have nothing to feel shameful or embarased about. Such a deeply shame based consciousness others carry and pass on.
    I am no stranger to being shamed and shunned for different reasons over the years..and it is almost humorous and ridiculous how people think it is their right to point out whatever they feel..but it has also been very empowering in those moments to show my wings and speak my song..they are usually shocked…for I think part of the reason others try to shame another..is also to silence them and cage them in shame..

    I loved reading all of the comments here..awesome discussion.
    And to anyone who has ever been shamed..my heart goes out to you..love who you are…just as you are!

    Beautiful poetry!!

  11. This was great! I don’t know why it is okay for other people to post about how “inappropriate” someone may be dressed or groomed. I didn’t wear sleeveless shirts or tank tops for decades because I thought my upper arms flapped when i moved them. I live in Phoenix where we have already had a month of temps over 100, several record breaking. I went and got me some tank tops. Smartest thing I have done in years! I made myself over heat because of perception!

  12. Feeling comfortable in our own skin is so much a part of self-love and self-empowerment. Unfortunately, there is so much pressure placed on women to “look” [and act] a prescribed way.
    Yes, that stupidity insults me [love that line]; but we seem to be living in a very stupid world right now!
    The painting was the perfect match to your words. Thanks for sharing.

  13. “If there a problem with the naked human body, then the fault lies with the Manufacturer.” – Lenny Bruce

    Shaming of any kind is wrong. Loved your poem and the erotic print was a bonus.

  14. Great poem! I still struggle with nudity AND going braless… I just can’t do it. I’m too uncomfortable, but I admire those of you that can.

  15. I almost feel sorry for the unsuspecting soul that would try to bind up this woman’ awesome…almost 😀 We should all have the confidence to free ourselves either literally or metaphorically.

  16. You hold her down and I’ll shave her legs. Maybe she will feel better. Oh wait, I have to come out from under the bed first. I dont want anyone to see me because I might have a chin hair.

  17. Oh and where can I possibly begin? This? I just saw this. I was just about to sign off the Internet, just… reaching for… the… log…out… but now here I am, reading this again, smiling at the lovely image attached. This is bawdy. This is in your face. This is daring and mean, and not nice. And I love it.

    It’s just the right sort of wrong, just enough over the line (No such thing…), and brave. It could mean so many things, actually, and that’s what struck me. How weavy and wild and full of possibilities this is. I will be the first to admit I am NOT a poet. Poetry scares me. My ignorance of it scares me.

    But this is a mean and happy poem. A poem with teeth. And it sinks them right in. The image is perfect, and the words, too. Well done.

    • She needs to be comfortable with herself. But it would be infuriating if her discomfort has nothing to do with her own feelings, but are a reaction to other people’s judgement. That would make me sad, too.

  18. No you don’t make me feel out of sorts.The way women dress is an expression of personality. I am opposed to any form of suppression of women by imposing a dress code on them to cover up and be ashamed of their bodies.Enjoyed this poem.

  19. Preaching to the converted here – I used to be an artist’s model. Yes, nude. And I think there are many ways in which women look beautiful while being real – as many ways as there are real women.

    Ha ha, didn’t even notice the tail in the wonderful painting; too busy loving the striped stockings and the shapely bod.

  20. How sad it is that women call their own bodies “nasty” in their natural shape and state, YES. But you know as well as I, that somebody (everybody) taught her this – and sadly, it is HIGHLY contagious. I know you don’t feel it like many others do but the self-loathing is part of every day for many of us. Hating our own bodies through the shower, getting dressed, whenever we eat, whenever we glimpse our own reflection, every time we see a billboard. Don’t even get me started on getting naked with your lover. I knew a woman who couldn’t even eat when her boyfriend was watching, because of the anxiety…

    • I feel sad for people who call their bodies nasty. I wish they didn’t feel that way, but… we all have the right to have choices, even if said choices aren’t always nice or beneficial and involve self-deprecation.

      However, I refuse to put up with people (women and men) who suggest that other individuals are nasty just because they do not follow their rules of what they think is propriety. People who do that get no pity from me, not even one bit. It might sound harsh, but someone that callous towards others deserves everything they get and probably some more. If they feel uncomfortable with their own bodies, those emotions should help them feel a bit more empathy towards others, who they might perceive to be in the same situation.

      I’ve always wished that I could give some of my don’t-give-a-damnness to those who society has turned against themselves. Things shouldn’t be that way. Everyone should be able to expose themselves, physically and emotionally, to people who are safe. But we all know that these days society’s nonsense has gotten so rotten that safety is not something most individuals can see or find. Maybe one day, things will be different. I wish, I wish, I wish…

  21. Your words and Shelle’s art, really spoke to me!!
    I rarely wear shorts, but this year, I started to again. My left leg, I have very bad varicose veins. At the bottom of my leg, I have very bad discolouration from it. I can see the looks from people. I just want to say “fuck off”!!! So, I am getting better of not caring, but it’s still hard!
    Big Hugs to both you and Shelle!!

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