Musings over a late lunch

Frank discussions of sexuality and body image below. Read at your own risk.

I have been a fan of Halcyon Styn since before he was a global web personality. I have been a fan of his since the Prehensile Tale days. I have always admired his cockiness, his self-awareness, his determination to make the world a better place. I’ve thought some of his projects (like the house with all the 24/7 webcams everywhere) were slightly insane, but I still admired his gutsiness.
Lately, he’s doing a lot in the adult entertainment industry, including (NOT SAFE FOR WORK), a project with his girlfriend Tassy.
Now, I love their message of open and unashamed sexuality. It rocks. I dig that they practice what they preach and live up to their manifesto. My commentary below is not intended as a slam against either of them — it’s an exploration of my own reactions to their work. (And if either Halcyon or Tassy read this, I want to say: mad props for your work, keep it up!)
I have been having a lot of trouble getting around one thing: Tassy has breast implants. And she just got bigger ones.
It is none of my business what Tassy does with her body – I don’t even know her, and after all it is her body.
But the fact that she and Halcyon present themselves as role models for the sexual revolution makes it really bother me that she has augmented her body so obviously. It makes me feel like if she and Halcyon ever saw me naked, they’d think I was unattractive. I have fairly normal proportions, not the super-thin-body-with-huge-perky-boobs that Tassy has.
I am clearly intended to look at the images of her on the sites and think “wow, she is hawt!”
But that also means I look at myself and think, “wow, I am not hawt.” I look nothing like Tassy, and not just because she’s thinner than I am. Her proportions are unnatural — and yet they are prsented as ideal.
I feel as though they are equating an artificial physical appearance with being sexually open and healthy. It seems as though regular people, regular-looking people, are shut out of this new sexual world they’re building. Sure, most guys could look like Halcyon if they worked out as much as he does, but for girls to look like Tassy, we have to have expensive and dangerous cosmetic surgery.
To me, this conflicts with what I perceive as their message: loving yourself and others. Heck, Tassy herself even said it when talking about why they chose the color pink: the world needs more soft, fuzzy, pink, unabashed love. real love. love for ourselves, our bodies, and general soft pink loving light, if you will. How do I reconcile that with what she has made herself look like? If you love your body, why would you jam inorganic bags of jelly into it?
It makes me wonder about Tassy’s self-image. I wish she would talk somewhere on the Pinkgasm site about why she augments herself that way. Maybe she does and I haven’t seen it — I don’t read the site regularly for reasons detailed below. But it upsets me that every time I go to one of Halcyon’s sites and see her, I feel the fragile self-image I’ve been working so hard to improve crumble a little.
OK, that’s a lie. It crumbles a lot.
I may have to relegate all of Halcyon’s projects to the Cosmopolitan pile – things I would like to look at but don’t because they make me feel ugly. I already don’t read the entries in the journal section of Pinkgasm for that reason. I wish I didn’t feel this way – I still dig Halcyon and like I said, I admire their work. But I also have a duty to care for my psyche.
I’d be interested in comments from my readers on the whole self-image/body-modification issue – you folks are an insightful bunch.

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4 Responses to Musings over a late lunch

  1. Marn, eh says:

    There was a cartoon in a recent issue of the New Yorker involving two gorgeous young things dressed to the nines sitting at a very expensive restaurant with two older men. One GYT says to the other, “Beauty is life’s EZ Pass.”
    Body image, beauty … women know exactly where the bar is set and how they measure up to it, right to the millimeter. It used to be easier for guys, but now I notice men at my gym fretting about weight, hair loss, lack of the ab six pack.
    (If you think Halcyon’s body is easy to achieve or maintain then you’re kidding yourself. Part of it is genetic–he’s tall and well proportioned for sure. But he has to keep his body fat very low to show muscle definition like that–so he’s got to diet. The sort of workouts necessary to create that body also involve a lot of work and discomfort. Next time you’re at the mall see how many Halcyons you see.)
    Me, I think the ideals set for women are impossible. The Barbie figure–waif thin, tiny hips, enormous breasts–well, to get waif thin most women lose their breasts which are, after all, fat deposits. Tiny hips aren’t common in women, either, because we’re designed to have child bearing pelvises.
    And, of course, we can never age. We should all look like Cher who looks younger now than she did when she was in her late 30’s. Yeesh.
    Hey, but even you know what? This is a head game women play on themselves. We don’t have to fit any ideal–a woman who feels good about herself projects that and, my dear, that is sexy and powerful.
    Ealasaid I’m almost 54, with snow white hair, a face with lines that show my years and I’ve never been anything near what the magazines would call beautiful.
    But yesterday when I went to open my car door I saw reflected in the glass the 30 something guy I’d passed on my way out the gym door. He’d paused before going in to the gym, turned around to check me out.
    The hardest thing for a woman to do is to accept herself. But oh, man, once you do it all gets a lot easier.

  2. Ealasaid says:

    As usual, Marn, you are awesome!
    I know you’re right about Halcyon – he doesn’t talk about how much time he spends working out and stuff, but I’m sure it’s a lot. Somehow to me that’s less bothersome than having cosmetic surgery, although I’m not sure why.
    Actually, I thnk part of the issue I”m having around Tassy in particular is that I can’t objectify her the way I do most improbable-looking women. With random Hollywood starlets, I can think “eh, she bought into the Hollywood beauty culture; whatever” and shrug it off, but Tassy is a real person to me and the fact that SHE buys into it (or seems to, anyway; I won’t pretend to know her motivations) really gets to me.
    I am so incredibly glad that the internet exists so that I know you, Marn. You are an awesome role model and a total inspiration! you = rawk

  3. Marn, eh says:

    I can understand your disappointment, I can. It would have been a very powerful statement, indeed, if an unaugmented less-than-perfect Tassy was frolicing with a web God like Halcyon.
    Ealasaid, this couple is partly about entertainment and fantasy. As a critic, you know that you have to distance yourself a bit and observe them objectively.
    Her decisions about her body and how she looks says a lot about what one part of American culture thinks is beautiful. But it doesn’t speak for everyone, not by a long shot.
    I’m sure that when you walk out of your karate class practically vibrating with endorphins you are far, far more attractive than you realize.

  4. Ealasaid says:

    Aw, thanks, Marn!
    You’re right, I do need a little more distance. I think part of the problem is that I had gotten used to taking Halcyon more or less at his word and was therefore pretty engaged in the whole “yay for living openly! Sex is awesome!” thing he got into. I don’t have the same wall of distance between me and his work that I have between, say, me and a cinematic sex scene or me and a fashion mag. So I was vulnerable. I guess I need to work on putting that wall back up when it comes to checking out his stuff. Hard to do, though, because I feel like I know him after all these years! I guess it’s similar to what friends of movie stars go through when they see movie stars acting in violent films or husbands see their wives acting in sex scenes.
    Also: Mitch left a comment which I managed to delete by accident. Grrr.
    In it, he pointed here:
    Where Halcyon and Tassy have answered (near the middle of the forum page) a question similar to mine. It’s similar because it IS mine – I emailed Halcyon asking about the issue of augmentation. He pasted the mail he sent me there.
    I was actually really intrigued by his reply and thought about it for quite a while before realizing that on some level it had never occurred to me that breast augmentation might NOT come from a place of shame (or at least, of external negative pressure). Something to think about, certainly.