I recently launched an indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for the release of my upcoming album, "Kiss It." The day the campaign launched, I was struck by the familiar sense of fear I associate with being visible, or being on camera. I love my work but it is hard on the nervous system -- being on stage is literally being watched -- not always an easy thing, despite that reality TV tells us.
Putting out this new record, and launching a crowdfunding campaign to get it to people, is unnerving but interesting. My ego is on the line, as well as my product, and because the record was made for my nieces, I'm heavily invested.
The new album talks about female sexuality (among other things), and writing an album or blogging about this topic is as complex as the very subject itself; female sexuality is diverse, ever-changing and full of contradictions. What is cool for one women is appalling to another. The topic infuriates, engages and perplexes most people, including myself.
There are so many different ways of being sexy, and as Jenna Marbles says, "women are majestic creatures." So why are we so critical of each other in the ways we express our sexual self-confidence? The truth is our truth changes daily, or it should, if we are sentient and curious. I don't know about you, but for me, one minute I think I understand something, and the next day or year I realize I am clueless. I'm a writer and performer, so I am on display as I figure these things out and hopefully become a better human. I write about what I care about. But that doesn't mean I understand it or have answers.
As a caveat I would like to say that I am fully aware of the half dozen or so moments in which I have flaunted my sex appeal in my career of 15 years. I too am on a journey of self-discovery, and the way I feel about revealing my body is a question, not an answer for me.
I am aware that I live with contradiction, and am clear that I am flawed as a human being. I am also aware that these pinpointed "sexy Kinnie Starr" moments caught in the digital web are the moments that folks use as proof of my hypocrisy. Guilty as charged.
Before I became a musician, and before I worked on stage, I was pretty serious about NEVER wearing flattering clothing. I wore strictly ill-fit baggies, layers upon layers, clothing found in dumpsters, and all outfits to conceal my frame. I thought I was too awkward to mean anything to anyone.
When people stared, which they always have, I assumed it was because I was ugly, or unkempt. I fondly recall those years, however insecure I was, because I was a nudist and had no problem with it because I could not possibly imagine that my naked body would be considered attractive. I was, and am, quite thin and long and kind of sinewy, and it did not, and often does not, feel beautiful.
To this day I vary in my confidence around showing off my figure, and it's always been a big question to me where my comfort lies in the area of revealing my body. Am I am doing the world any good when I show off my frame? Am I building self confidence or feeding the machine that tells us women should be seen, not heard. And better yet, women should be nearly naked, and perpetually on display in 2012.
My close friends want me reveal my femininity, my frame, my skin and my physical poise, because they know my story intimately, and they know my journey through shame. But to people who do not know me, and only know me as a public figure, they see a music video where I look my best, or photos where I look "pretty", and write me off as a thinker. Why? Why can't we be many things at once?
Because of the internet, a handful of sexy moments over my 15-year career are burned in peoples' minds, digitally present with greater longevity than my other choices. Having hot photos in my Kinnie Starr brand discredits my efforts to deconstruct the broader conversation around sexuality, and that dichotomy is the core of this conversation. It is where the question begins, not ends. Can a woman only be one thing, or can she be many?
Like any human, I want to be me, all sides of me, because when we show all sides, we allow others to be all sides as well. I want to love my body so I can be good to others, unashamed and generous, and know my frame is part of my spirit; just like my kindness or humour. I want to be beautiful, but I don't want to be looked at for consumption strictly on my form, or feel unsafe under the gaze of strangers.
I want to be on stage and express the voice that comes from my ancestors, but I wish it could happen in the dark where only sound guides the moment, rather than image. I want to feel free and unencumbered like I used to before the internet, before cameras and YouTube and popularity hits on websites were a part of everyday life, and I was a nudist, a graffiti artist, an introvert. Invisible.
I know that each time I take a step towards self-love and reveal my body, I become a "bad feminist" in some people's eyes, or a hypocrite. I'll take bullets for this conversation, because I think we are all equally confused as to how to be a great woman in a time where everything goes. I don't have any of this figured out, and I am just like you -- I like to look my best some days, I want things to be good for us all, and I am seeking comfort in my own skin, in this world, as a sexual, intelligent, curious human.
The only difference between you and me is I'm on stage as I figure it all out. And I guess I can safely say I am strong enough to be in the line of fire.