Posted by: littlegirlyone | September 3, 2007

exhibits, displays, and the gaze (more thoughts on being watched)

there have been only a few times that a comment on my journal hurt me. the first time was way back – when deity said “I have to say, little girl, that i enjoy the hunt. If the prey just laid down after i commenced chasing it, i’d consider it less interesting, perhaps injured or ill. I like obedience, but i want to have earned it, not just given it. Sounds like you feel like you haven’t yet been MADE obedient, and are rather just acting like you are.” at the time, i had no explanation for why this comment stung like severe criticism – it just ached and hurt when i read it.

similarly, after my previous post on this topic, i felt a little bit rejected. roper’s question, “I still wonder quite why someone would want to be watched doing mundane things if there were no sexual element in it; or why someone would want to watch?” kicked a deep nerve. i know my reaction was based on my own insecurity, not really anything he said; i just didn’t have a very good answer for those questions, and it ached.

i understand now why deity’s comment hurt. with john, i was acting like i was obedient, but not because anyone had asked, or made me. his comment threw the light on the fact that despite my deep sense that i was a submissive girl, my relationship with john was not helping me explore my submission, not really. and that comment hurt because it was true.

roper’s comment, though. it’s taken me nearly a month to understand why that hurt me. afterall he only asked in order to understand my desire. all i had to do was find a good answer to his question, and tell him, and that should make it all better. he would understand me, i would understand me. all of it would make sense, and then i would feel better about it.

first, i want to clarify my previous statements. i was writing from the point of view that the thrill of watching a naked girl/ being a naked girl was fairly obvious. i didn’t mean to suggest that that kind of being watched was unappealing. in fact, it was the tension between the obvious (watching a girl get naked/getting naked) and the puzzling (watching a girl eat breakfast/eating breakfast) that interested me. i meant to explore a bunch of ideas that had been bubbling around inside me for a number of weeks, and it all came out jumbled. why did i feel like i wanted both? what was the relationship between the two desires, and how was one related to the other? i intended to answer these questions by writing, but instead i confused myself (and my good readers/friends, as well).

naked girls are fun and sexy. watching one, being one, making one – all of that is appealing to me and has been forever. as persephone pointed out, in her comments to the same post, this is the objectified type of exhibitionism: to be watched as a compilation of pleasing parts; to be studied; to be limited to a physical state of usefulness. this whole idea appeals to me very deeply: hence my desires for the strippers behind glass and the butterfly on the wall. parts. pleasing pieces. objects. toys.

you understand?

in the same comment, persephone wrote: but you point out a subtle distinction. you say that you want someone to want to watch you so much that they’re compelled by seeing you do mundane things, not by seeing your (highly) marketable body parts… then, at the same time, you want to only be an object. you want to be more than just your body, but you also want to be just your body. what makes those different things come together as one desire?

to me, those things weren’t actually separate desires; they were two sides of the same coin.

on the one hand, we’ve got body parts. marketable or not, there is something utterly sexy and deeply appealing to me about being nothing but parts: parts with a purpose, but parts nonetheless. many submissives write about this kind of objectification. and while i think this is a generally-understood submissive desire (use me for your pleasure, treat me like a toy, an object, a thing with a limited use), the hard part of having that desire, for me, is asking to be treated like an object.

goodness, no! women are whole, complete people. . . all those good feminist lessons bubble up in me, and clash with that part that wants to be reduced to an object.

so, the flip side, or you could say, the softer side, is the idea of being so much more than parts. i think of this as the kind of love-side, the intimacy side of watching. watching someone make coffee could be mundane. but watching someone you find incredibly attractive or adorable make coffee could be fun. it’s not really watching for any obvious pleasure, but more watching to see how she does it.

perhaps because i spent my early life in front of people, getting applause for my performances, i thought that this kind of watching still held some erotic charge. to be so lovely to watch that it doesn’t matter what i do – that remains a small aspiration. i mean, we all brush our teeth, make our beds, get dressed, eat breakfast and leave our houses: the only thing that would make that worth watching would be an obsession with the girl doing the tasks.

now here is where it gets tricky, and the whole knot of my understanding of my self starts to get tighter. i can’t tell anymore if i really want that kind of watching, or if i just think i do. i can’t tell anymore if i need to feel like someone wants to watch the little girl no matter what she does because i need that kind of intimacy, or, if i just like to think i want that kind of gaze on me because i’m not ready to confess that i just want to be made into an object completely.

i can’t tell if my desire to be watched clothed is a real desire, or a defense mechanism.

i can’t tell if i want to be seen as more than parts, or if i want to fall into object land and never come back.

but, the way roper’s question hurt hints at the answer to my quandry: roper’s comment called my “more than parts” desire into question in the same way that deity’s comment called my submission into question.

deity was right. if roper is right, then it hurt because he kicked the door down on my defense mechanism. whether he knew it or not, his question called my bluff on wanting to be more than an object.

roper wrote just a few days prior to my post, about the submissive’s desire to be watched. he noted that most women bump up against their shame about the act. they struggle to overcome their feelings that nice girls won’t or shouldn’t.

i wonder if my own shame was the genesis of my misunderstood desire.


  1. i thought this was a beautiful self-analysis. it is so smart and so valuable to look at the feelings that you can’t control, and to try to see why they control you. i really liked the way that you explained your thoughts and how you came to you continue in your process of this and of your new submission, i will be interested to see where you determine that you fall in this objectification question. personally, i think that the love and tenderness inherent in your “clothed-watching” fantasy is what can pave the way for more intense letting go with the “naked objectification” and other challenging tasks of submission. but as always, noting the ways that you and i are different helps me to learn so much about myself, so i will wait to learn if perhaps, as you wondered, you really don’t need the clothed-watching fantasy at all.

  2. Interesting and very exposed.More…Rock on!

  3. I don’t think you ought to rethink your desire to be more than just a collection of body parts. Everyone, and subs no less than anyone, needs to be valued. But subs also love to become objects. These two desires may seem in conflict, but D/s offers a way of reconciling opposites. She wants to be valued. She wants to be merely an object. She just needs to separate out the two things and accept both, and realise that the problem only comes if she tries to have both kinds of experience at once.

  4. persephone,thanks for validating me. i always like to feel beautiful and smart. i, too, will be interested to see where i end up on the objectification spectrum. today, at least, i’m feeling the need for a little love and tenderness. (see mushy love poem i just posted)rex,welcome. i shall proceed and continue to rock the mike ;)roper,thank you for your insight and wisdom (and a warm welcome back). i agree that everyone wants to be valued, and that sometimes submissives need to feel that way, maybe more than other girls. the journey to object-land requires a girl to check some baggage, and it’s only natural that upon her return to her starting place, she might expect her bags be returned.

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