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Somebody Else’s Dolly

Collage of photos of women with locomotor disabilities in seductive poses

The body is our tangible hacker of the world. It experiences the world and the world experiences it. I do not, in this life, experience the world as a disembodied spirit. Ok, so I think things. But were I not a body, I don’t know what it is that would think my thoughts. (Now I have this image floating before me of cryonically preserved heads for some reason. Sorry. Not sexy. Not in a sexual way. Umm. Not to me. Too many cop shows is the only excuse I may have for having brought cryonics into a blog about body and sexuality.)

Body. While it is not all that I am, it is my permanent residential address. So it would certainly seem when asked to think of sex and sexuality. Think body first. Not think thoughts. Yet a thought is where everything begins. Including the body we harness to sexual expression, to sexual relationships and to pleasure. Bodies have always received the greatest attention through history. They are fed, watered, oiled and muscled. They are covered. They are shown off. They cause hysteria. They are battered, pierced, cut by sword. Wrapped in silk sheets, bathed in milk, kissed and caressed. They lose limbs sometimes, mobility sometimes. They give birth to other bodies. They have orgasms. They dance. They gift each other kidneys and blood. They are pinched, plucked, waxed, tattooed and pierced.

Now I think of genital piercings. Involuntary clenching of all the bits down there that can clench. Genital piercings. Aesthetics. Studs, clit rings, fish hooky things. Pleasure enhancing. Interesting. Something to talk about before or after sex. (Or at tea time?) Nope. Still that involuntary clenching. There’s a reason I don’t even have my initials tattooed on my butt. Adorning the body with piercings or body art is much loved around the world. Sometimes piercings are less a matter of body, or of sexuality, more a matter of spirituality and religious belief. Whatever the reason – the body is the star. It’s a personal thing, this piercing of body parts, ears, nose, lips, tongue, nipples, genitals. I suppose if one person can want a flashing stud in their ear there’s no reason why another cannot want a ring through the labia. Majora or minora.


What a very versatile piece of equipment to own.

What an excellent partner to thought and spirit.


saAnd yet. For some reason, all of this versatility is narrowed down and squeezed into the rigid confines of our particular and often peculiar perceptions of sex and sexuality.

What a bod! (Ooo that’s attractive, I want.)

She’s fat! (No bikini for that one.)

She’s an amputee. (Um. Hmm.)

Is it a cultural thing?

Like a matrimonial ad?

Tall, fair. Short. Not too short. No taller than five foot six please. Educated but homely. NRI. Don’t disclose diabetes, heart problems or mental illness. Everything will be fine after marriage. Everything will be fine after a baby. There would be fewer problems in society if people got married young. Read – marriage, for which you advertise the body type and personality you want or have to offer, is for sex and reproduction and the sooner humans get it going, the less likely they are to leap upon each other in mindless acts of sexual violence (for the men and boys) or sex-with-a-boy-bringing-dishonour-upon-the-family (for the women and girls).

Like a film?

Image sourced from the website of
Image sourced from the website of

Like a comic book? When I say comic book I am not referring to Tintin and Tom and Jerry. I read something very interesting at, an article called ‘5 Insane Things Comic Books Believe Women’s Bodies Can Do’ – where Caitlin Donovan speaks of the depiction of women’s bodies in comic art. “Popular culture has had issues with women for, oh, several thousand years or more. So, we’re not exactly blowing everyone’s minds by pointing out that even to this day, women tend to get depicted as trophies or sex toys for the (male) hero. But, comics really do inhabit their own category here — if not in the storylines, then just in the frankly ludicrous way females are drawn.”

  • Breasts as Alien Organisms
  • Torpedo Nipples That Dent Armor
  • Rubber Spine Syndrome
  • A Disturbing Lack of Internal Organs
  • Every Female Character Sharing One Face

These are the points Caitlin highlights. She looks at comic art and the representation of real and irritating fantasies of body and sexuality that perpetuate a view of women as sex toys.

Ha. On a logical tangent. Been to a toyshop recently? Anatomically correct dolls are not the norm. Long ago someone I know bought a boy doll that had a penis. It was not a muscle bound lunatic from another dimension. It was a funny little fellow that looked friendly, made you laugh and had a penis. No place for this in the toy store. Anatomically correct boy dolls have shocked parents I read.

Elsewhere in a journal article ‘Images of the Body and Sexuality in Women’s Narratives on Oppression in the Home’, Meenakshi Thapan refers to the female body as a body-for-others, “socially constructed and under the constant gaze of others”. I think we can extend this to all bodies, male and female and then go on and say the same thing about sex and sexuality. Socially constructed. Under the constant gaze of others. Something terrifying to think about. Who are these others I am constructed for? Are they watching me? Paranoia begins.

This is how we live our lives, decide our occupations, work out (or not) our relationships, sexuality, choose our furniture and our socks and shoes. That’s who we are boys and girls. Somebody else’s dolly.