this is the text that i read and performed at gURLs nite at Transfer gallery that was in the summer. it was written for an all girls audience but i guess now anyone can read it! altho when i say it it is much better
i want to show you my body. I want you to think im hot in a way you couldn't see before. I want to take off my clothes and have you think, oh wow, not bad ann.
I don't want you to be jealous though. that would just be awkward. and then you might hate me.
but don't worry, its ok. I think my naked body could be a pleasant surprise for you in the sense that im neither too beautiful nor too ugly to engender hatred or disgust from you. im safe from you in that way. I know youll be satisfied by both my positive and negative attributes. her breasts are small but nice. her big nose cancels out any jealousy I might feel over her slimness. so even though you might think my body is nice looking, you wont think it worthy of your jealousy. its not that great.
youll just kind of think, oh its nice that an awkward girl like ann has a decent body at least. good for her. I bet that is helpful for her and makes some things easier.
as you'll see, theres some good here, some bad. a part of me worries that you might see more bad than good. but it'd be next to impossible for you to see more bad than I already see in myself.
(at this point i get fully naked)
im able to do this for all of you because we're all girls, er women, here. so there can be no misconception that im like, doing this for attention or something. when theres men in the room, that's what we all think. that Im just going to get naked to show off my body because im an exhibitionist.
in an all female environment, I can feel safe from that assumption. but the truth is, or at least one truth is, is that I do want attention. im tired of pretending I don't. and im tired of pretending that wanting attention is a bad quality in a person.
also, im pretty sure I am an exhibitionist.
I get a thrill from getting naked in front of people. its not a sexual thrill. im not becoming aroused. but it is still exciting. like hey this is me, here I am, im letting you see it all, I don’t want there to be any secrets between us. if that makes me a bad person, like miley cyrus or something, then so be it.
the thrill of getting naked is a feeling I find akin to when I was in 5th grade and deciding whether or not to tell my best friend my deepest most shameful secret. either she will love me more for sharing my secret and will hold it with her forever, or she will go and tell our other friend who might tell another and then another.
before i tell her, I am fully aware that it could definitely end embarrassingly for me. but i have to tell her anyways, I just have to. theres a thrill inherent in testing your trust with someone and that's what I feel now.
Maybe some of you will tell my secret. that im thin, but not in a hot way. that the slit in my vagina comes up too high.
But some of you wont. Maybe you will feel a sort of pride in solidarity with my nudity, that comes from being able to relate to being exposed and feeling vulnerable.
It sucks knowing that my self worth is so wrapped up in how I feel about my physical appearance. My nudity now is an exercise with myself, to tell myself, that my body, my looks, do not define me. The only way I can do this is through this bizarre method of exposure therapy you see before you. The more I do it, the more I can be assured that the way I look is OK.
today I feel skinny. That helps a lot.
I am worried about you accepting this action within the space of performance art. I mean, both the act of my nudity and my self- deprecating narcissistic way of talking about it. I guess a lot of people are "over" nudity in performance art. Like it's been done before so we should stop doing it or something. But even if you don't believe that, my nudity could still make you upset in a way you're not even sure how to articulate.
Like when I'm among men and I see a woman take her clothes off in the name of art, im reminded that im primarily a sexual object. and maybe that makes me feel sexy sometimes. but when im with women only, seeing a naked woman just reminds me of the physical realities of my body. that im not pretty, that im aging, that i have a yeast infection i got from a uti that I got from sex.
Maybe I'm thinking so heteronormatively in part because I don't think any woman could be attracted to my body. because I am a woman and I am my harshest critic. so I assume other women think the same about not only themselves but also me.
If men were at this performance, it would have gone over much better, I'm sure. They're easy to please. They would have made excuses for me why my nudity was necessary in the context of the piece. They would have stood up for me and agreed it was my right to get naked if I wanted to. I would be happy to have them as allies, still fully understanding their true intentions behind their support, that they're just happy to get a glimpse any way they can.
There would be of course men who would turn their noses down at me for my nudity but it would be because they're scared their horniness will outweigh their intellectualism and they don't want to seem like a caveman or something.
Maybe you feel my presentation of this piece isn't artful or subtle enough. Maybe you think I should think less about myself and the way I am perceived.
You'll go home and tell your roommates I sucked and im a terrible artist who makes self indulgent work with no craft or skill. or maybe at least a part of this will resonate with you and you'll come up to me after and we can talk about how I stayed just above the line of being disgustingly self aware in a way that made you become more self aware about your own prejudices.
Ok I'm going to get dressed now because I want to end this performance. I don't want to be naked when it ends. But if you guys wanna all get naked later and share the secrets of our bodies, I would be happy to partake. I'm always hungry for female intimacy. the kind that is platonic but bordering on sexual is my favorite.