Virginia Stark

Virginia Carraway Stark has a diverse portfolio and has many publications. Over the years she has developed this into a wide range of products from screenplays to novels to articles to blogging to travel journalism.

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I was raised in a religious family, I see the rest of the women in my family subjected to physical, emotional, mental abuse and most of all to the effects of low self esteem. Somehow I missed out on this family curse. I’ve never been ashamed of my body, it’s not perfect but it’s the skin I live in and it’s as much a part of me as my voice or anything else that is ‘me’.

I’m very beautiful. I don’t say that out of vanity, but it’s true. All eyes turn to me when I enter a room and I’ve learned to stand tall while being under constant scrutiny, but it was a journey to get here and I had to go through a lot to realize how my experiences in life were different from other people’s life experiences as a result of how I happen to look.

It might give me advantages in life, but it also puts a big bulls eye on my face to be a target for sexual shaming. This is also called ‘slut shaming’ and women are equally guilty of this act of abuse as men. In fact, I’ve found that women are often crueler about it. This is because women are taught that any woman who is beautiful and doesn’t work very hard to cover up their beauty has an unfair advantage. This causes people to act out and try to bring me to my knees to repent for how I look.

I’m immune to this approach of shaming, or rather, it makes me angry rather than submissive. It rouses my spirit to battle. I used to carefully crop my cleavage out of any picture I put up on Facebook, only to have one or two picture slide through. Years after I had posted a picture of myself fresh from gardening someone found it in my FB pictures and someone had written, ‘You’re a slut’ in the comments.

I’m a married woman who was out gardening. The fact that it was a hot day and I wasn’t covered up lead someone to the conclusion that the exposure of my skin gave them a right to judge me. This is the essence of sexual shaming. Making comments about a woman’s outfit or appearance that are designed to make her feel self-conscious or like her choice in clothing casts a social judgment on her are both qualities of sex shaming. Because of my upbringing I had one of two choices: Knuckle under and hide my attributes at all costs, or learn how to identify and retaliate against sex shaming.

I chose strength over fear and will go on the offensive if anyone tries to curtail how I choose to dress, walk, talk or behave sexually. These are my private decisions and it might surprise you to be told that you don’t have a say on ANY of these things on ANY other human being. It doesn’t matter if someone is your wife, your daughter, you co-worker, a student or anyone else. It is against International Human Rights Laws to attempt to control anyone other than yourself in this area.