Watching Porn, and Other Things I Am Ashamed Of

In photos

by Jessica Semaan / photos by Jane Hu
 

Being human comes with a lot of shame. Imagine being a woman. We carry a lot of shame for simply living in a patriarchal society.

The feeling of shame is internalized from the systems and culture we grew up in and we currently live in. For example, I grew up in Lebanon where the pressure is big on women being and looking perfect.

Photographer Jane Hu and I partnered up to bring some of these moments of shame to life. Why? Shame thrives on isolation. To break its cycle, we must share it, to realize we are not alone and by default shame will crumble.

“As a shame researcher, I know that the very best thing to do in the midst of a shame attack is totally counterintuitive: Practice courage and reach out.” — Doctor Brené Brown

These are things I am ashamed of in my identity of being an Arab queer woman.

1- Watching porn (aka my sexuality)

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Photo by Jane Hu

Stories in my head
1- My Arab community will think I am dirty
2- No other women watches porn
3- Porn is a man thing
4- I am bad for having sexual fantasies that are not heteronormative

2- Crying in general (aka my emotions)

 Photo by  Jane Hu

Photo by Jane Hu

Stories in my head
1- People will think I am weak
2- I cannot control myself
3- Big girls don’t cry
4- Crying is unprofessional

3- My cellulites (aka my body)

 Photo by  Jane Hu

Photo by Jane Hu

Stories in my head
1- I am fat
2- No one will be attracted to me when they see my cellulites
3- Everyone can see my cellulites and are disgusted
4- I am not enough

4- My period

 Photo by  Jane Hu

Photo by Jane Hu

Stories in my head
1- Men think I am gross
2- No one should know I am on my period
3- I am dirty

5- Not having my shit together (represented by food stuck in my teeth)

 Photo by  Jane Hu

Photo by Jane Hu

Stories in my head:
1- I suck at life
2- People think I am a mess
3- I am immature
4- I am not a woman, because women are on top of their things

This is how I feel after the shoot #shameless

 Photo by  Jane Hu

Photo by Jane Hu

 

What are you ashamed of and you are ready to let go of?

About the Author: Born and raised in Lebanon, Jessica moved to the US to attend Stanford Business School. As an early employee at Airbnb, Jessica worked on scaling its operations worldwide, and recently launched Airbnb's first global conference. Despite the successes Jessica did not feel fulfilled, so she spent a year interviewing 100 people doing what they love through her blog Passion Stories. During this time, she found her own passion which is helping others find theirs, and today is dedicated full-time to it through The Passion Co.


***Originally published on Medium.com, re-posted here with permission by the author.

Jessica Salgueiro