As soon as Molly posted the prompt, I thought about trying something related to The Scarlet Letter. The letter in question was an A after all. I even went so far as to dig up a copy of the book. My high-school memories of reading it were foggy and I thought I could skim it and get a clearer image of what I wanted to say.
Ha! You don’t (or I don’t, at least) “skim” 19th century literature. Not wanting to invest the time wading through Hawthorne, and convinced that many other people would have the same idea, I gave up on it and tried to think of something else.
Unfortunately, nothing else came to mind so I took some test shots with the A this afternoon. I liked how they turned out so glanced at wikipedia to make sure my memories of Hester Prynne and the reason for her A were accurate.
Hester’s A was for an affair leading to a child that wasn’t her husband’s. I think the A can now also be seen as a symbol for women making their own decisions when it comes to sex. Hester did, pushing Puritan boundaries while discovering her own strength. I’m certain there are many, many examples of the use of the A by women through modern history claiming it as their own. (Apologies for my scholarly laziness in not being more thorough and providing links.)
I’m proudly wearing the A. I’m smiling in the photo, though it wasn’t captured in this edit. I’m thrilled to be able to sleep with who I want, how I want. Giddy to share this information with friends (albeit receptive ones). Excited to be owning my body, my sexuality. Eager to learn what I like and grateful for the fact that I have the freedom and space to figure it out. Of course I know this isn’t the case for many still, and I’m aware of my privilege here.
While we’ve come a long way from the early 1800s (when the book was written) and the 1600s (when it was set) there is still a long way to go. Women are still slut-shamed in many areas. Unmarried women are still questioned and expected to settle down. Women are still accused of “asking for it” and women still worry for their safety in ways that most men don’t have to. I believe change is coming. I know it has in many ways in my own life.
I think the photo can be interpreted either as a celebration or a comment on how far we still have to go.
To see more A inspired images, click the kiss.