sometimes i think about how growing up in Las Vegas has affected me. usually this is triggered by something reminding me that growing up listening to house & trance music on the radio isn’t exactly common, or when i happen to have an occasion– for whatever reason– to question my own apparent insensitivity to public displays of nudity, sexual innuendo, etc. even when it comes to more mundane things, like forgetting that stars are things that people can actually see in the sky at night, that street lights every few yards along even residential roads isn’t a given, and stores/fast food joints closing at 8pm, 9pm or literally EVER is actually a thing that most would consider to be normal.
specifically pertaining to sexuality and gender, it stands to reason that growing up seeing scantly clad women (and men, but mostly women) in suggestive or erotic poses overflowing with sexual innuendo along the sides of the road everywhere you go in the form of giant billboards advertising clubs, hotels & casinos (and gun shows… always with the gun shows) would eventually desensitize me to visual manifestations of compulsory [hetero]sexuality, sexnormativity, etc. at the very least, it furthered normalization and internalization of the notion that women’s sexuality existed for male gaze and consumption, to the point of making me feel no reason to question it for far too long.
similarly, seeing so much bare skin imbued with sexual innuendo as an asexual person with no interest in sex or sexual appeal– while simultaneously being black, AFAB and thus perceived as being an inherently exotic, sexual being– has, perhaps, played into the aversion that i have to showing skin…? to the point of not even wearing short sleeve shirts, shorts or sandals, despite Vegas summers arguably necessitating it.
then again, there’s also generalized poor body image to blame for that, but even that is arguably tied to growing up in Vegas. i mean, scantly clad, underweight white women with body types strikingly different from mine did serve as constant reminders of what it means to be “beautiful” and “desirable.” even if i didn’t have any desire to be seen as desirable or beautiful– especially not in /that/ way– i still didn’t want to be seen as the opposite of those things either. yet the disparity that i perceived as existing between myself and the people on billboards suggested to me that i was the opposite of whatever they were, and that that was invariably a negative thing to be.
meh. there’s obviously a lot more involved with these things than simply having grown up in Vegas, but yeah. in the ace communuty, it’s often talked about how difficult it can be to be asexual in this overly sexualized society that we live in, but growing up / living in Las Vegas takes the cake, i think. pun intended. it certainly makes for interesting, random thoughts about my own internalized bullshit.