Intermission: zomg this is my favorite new picture of me

natalia and kafka

As taken by my bruh, who knows how to make me look good (even when I haven’t slept and have recently gotten out of my pajamas, which I frankly spend way too much time in).

We will return to your regularly scheduled posting soon.

12 thoughts on “Intermission: zomg this is my favorite new picture of me

  1. I’ll bite. As probably the only radical feminist who still reads this blog, I think there is nothing to be baited by. Sure, it’s a woman with cleavage coquettishly pressing a Kafka book against her chest, I’m guessing in an effort to appear more intellectual. For everyone who is familiar with Ms Antonova’s brand of me-first, sex-is-great, women-are-great-if-they-are-conventionally-attractive “feminism,” this is neither shocking nor surprising. This is standard fare. Ms. Antonova relies on her looks, but because looks have an expiration date, she is maximzing their effects right now. I can only be glad that some of us can spot an inferior talent and an anti-feminist in disguise. Best of luck to her and her fellow travelers after they’re discarded for no longer being “sexy” enough.

  2. Ophelia Reborn:

    In your view, how would Natalia Antonova manage this blog if she were a ‘real’ feminist as opposed to an ‘anti-feminist’? What, in your opinion, specifically makes Natalia an ‘anti-feminist’? From your comments on this blog, you make feminism sound like early Christianity with its horror of the human body.

    “Ms. Antonova relies on her looks” — rather, Ms. Antonova makes use of her looks to promote her online brand. She’s not alone in this. But, in using her looks, I don’t think she’s targeting male audiences. I suspect she’s actually targeting college-educated women of her own generation. It’s unclear (to me) how she connects with other women this way. But on her Facebook post with this photo, women commenters responded very favorably to it. I have no idea why that is, since the men’s comments were rather muted.

    At any rate, maybe you yourself can explain what makes Natalia an anti-feminist, and Natalia can explain her multiple online self-portraits.

  3. Hey, I’ll also bite. This blog hasn’t featured a picture of Nat in years. Yeah, she posts pictures on social media……like everyone else on social media.

    She’s worked as an artist’s model and this is far from the raciest picture she’s ever posted of herself anywhere. In fact it’s not fucking racy at all. It’s just pretty. She committed the sin of posting a flattering picture, so let’s freak out and insult her!

    Neither will I agree with the assessment that this picture is coquettish, because look at how she’s staring at the camera.

    “Ophelia Reborn” is offended by the fact that a woman can both be pretty and smart. You taking offense to that, “Ophelia,” is not political. It’s 7th grade cafeteria-level bullshit and no amount of appealing to feminist ideology is going to convince me that it’s not.

    Hey, hey, I’ll even admit it. I’m one of her “male admirers.” I dig this awesome lady. I think she’s sexy and intelligent, and I think it’s sexy that she’s intelligent. My girlfriend agrees with me, she’s a fan too. I used to be more in the friend category, but we haven’t seen each other in years. And that’s why I’m thankful that this blog exists and I have access to the fun stuff she posts here.

    Yeah, here’s another cool concept: FUN. You might want to try having some sometime, “Ophelia Reborn,” like the lady is doing with her picture. It would do wonders for your personality.

  4. Yaaas! This is a good one. It’s not coquettish. The eye is immediately drawn to the cleavage and the Kafka resting against it, but the real “sex” is in the way the body is positioned and in how the tops of her thighs are visible. It enhances and draws out a curvy body’s curves. But because of her searching stare (I suspect this is how she normally looks when deep in thought), and how she’s lying on a kind of old looking, dorm-room blanket, you have the sense that she was reading in bed and getting lost in the material and someone went, “Hey, let’s take a picture,” and she rolled over and there it was. It’s a cool picture, maybe not the best quality of light, but it would also probably look too “polished” if the light was better. The Kafka and the way the hair takes on the appearance of a 1960s French actress-like style because of the way she’s lying down ties it together. It’s very sensual but there’s an edge. I can believe that she’s a good artist’s model.

    So in other words I love it, thanks Natalia. And maybe you all could cut the author some slack.

  5. I’ll bite back. As an empiricist. I claim you have no way of proving that what you see is right, since it is possible (= thinkable, plausible, not against the laws of physics) that Ms Antonova is exactly what she claims to be: a journalist who happens to be interested also in sex as a topic and who writes about it. Your claim — that she is using her looks to get by and using the topic to get more clicks — is not in itself any more plausible than the counterclaim I just stated. How can you decide between them? In other words, how can you prove that Ms Antonova is not simply what she claims to be?

    If you think about what you wrote, it reads as a sequence of ad homines without any specific compelling argument in the middle. Think about your claims for a minute:

    “a woman with cleavage coquettishly pressing a Kafka book against her chest”

    I see a woman with anguish in her eyes clutching a Kafka book — possible reacting to Kafka’s famously nightmarish world. Why is this any truer than her cleavage?

    “I’m guessing in an effort to appear more intellectual”

    At least you label it as a guess, which is what it is. Why don’t you ask her? I’ll bet she would answer.

    “Ms Antonova’s brand of me-first, sex-is-great, women-are-great-if-they-are-conventionally-attractive “feminism,””

    Claim without supporting evidence: you’re presupposing your conclusion, and then formulating it in a way that begs tthe question. Also, you’re trying to seduce the reader into agreeing with you even if s/he never read anything written by Ms Antonova. Now — do you call that ‘serious critcisim’? To me it sounds like sheer gossip.

    “Ms. Antonova relies on her looks,”

    Speculation. Evidence? Or are you just going to assume anyone with good looks “relies on their looks”? Besides, you do realize that by making this assumption you come off as rather arrogant (‘I know better than you do what you really want to do with your looks!’). Was that your intention?

    “but because looks have an expiration date, she is maximzing their effects right now”

    That is indeed a good strategy with any non-renewable resource, but again you provide no evidence that this is what she is doing. Please note that what you said could be copy-and-pasted in any blog written by any woman who happens to satisfy your definition of “conventionally pretty”. There is nothing in what you write that is actually grounded in any facts relevant specifically to Ms Antonova; rather, it seems you’re just presuming (without evidence) that she belongs to a category that you claim to be familiar with.

    “I can only be glad that some of us can spot an inferior talent”

    How do you measure “talent”? I could say, for instance, that you don’t have a talent for good argument-based discussion (the evidence being that you failed to present any argument other than ‘that’s what I think’), but I don’t know that for a fact — maybe you’re just not using your full potential in your comment, for some reason.

    “and an anti-feminist in disguise”

    Same comment as before, with the added plus that ‘feminism’ has a number of schools of thought and individuals spanning a large area of beliefs, from Catharine MacKennon to Christina Hoff Summers, from Katie Roiphe to (the sorely missed) Andrea Dworkin, from Simone de Beauvoir to Camille Paglia, from Betty Friedan to Anna Hutsol, from John Stuart Mill to Susie Bright.

    Given this diversity, one may wonder: perhaps Ms Antonova is the feminist and you are the anti-feminist in disguise? After all, it wouldn’t be the first time that misogynistic trolls masquerade as radfems to besmirch the movement.

    “Best of luck to her and her fellow travelers after they’re discarded for no longer being “sexy” enough.”

    At least you express good feelings. Good for you! Just keep working on these feelings of compassion, and you’ll go far.

  6. This is such a captivating picture!

    Also, if you feel the need to criticize women for having the audacity to be comfortable in their own skin, maybe you should take advice from Justin Bieber and love yourself.

  7. That’s a beautiful picture! Ignoring the troll upthread for a second: Do you think you get taken less seriously as a writer because of your looks? And because you embrace them? (I’ve seen some of your social media pictures, they are also very pretty!) Not random curiosity. I have a cousin who says that in the beginning she found it hard to be a painter because people would tell her that her looks were “distracting” and older male artists prowled around her and her beauty was something she needed to learn to work with. I guess my real question is, do people like Ophelia Reborn exist in your life offline? Do you get judged for wanting to be known as both a writer and a very obviously beautiful woman?

  8. I’m glad you guys like this picture! Hank is right, I haven’t posted pictures of myself in a few years – and in these last few years, the number of subscribers to this blog has reached nearly 3k. So, Ophelia Reborn, your theory doesn’t quite work, I’m afraid.

    Sian, I don’t really think of myself as all that beautiful. In fact, there’s plenty of material – not just awkward Facebook photos, but drawings and paintings and filmed material, where this is really obvious. Especially obvious if you’ve ever seen me on the news, hahaha. Most of the time, the camera really does not love me! I just have that kind of face.

    This isn’t false modesty. I also know that I can photograph rather dramatically, and there is amazing (and really quite erotic) film footage of me out there, and it depends on what I’m doing. Once again, as Hank has pointed out, I’ve been lucky to work with cool artists, including members of my own family.

    So, to answer your question more fully: There have been men in my life, fellow journalists especially, who have liked me, but decided that feeling was something to be ashamed of, and therefore treated me quite badly as the result. There have been men who think that desiring a woman means having to demean her. And there are men who separate the physical from the intellectual with a crowbar – so if they want you, they like to think of you as brainless. I wish I could say I dealt with that nobly and sensibly, but who am I kidding. That stuff sucks. But it also happens to many women when they’re young. You don’t have to be exceptionally beautiful or a writer for it to happen.

    I guess there have been some guys – older and successful, all of them – who thought to themselves, “Aw, girl with writing ambitions, how can I exploit that.” And if they were unsuccessful in exploiting it, they would then tell me I was talentless. And these are the sort of people who also try to make you believe that your worth is tied to your sexual capital – once that’s gone, you have nothing left, might as well jump in the river. And when they treat you like shit and you call them on it, they go, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t have been so attractive.” That sucks.

    So what you’re talking about when it comes to your cousin, it seems very familiar. I think it exists in every profession, though I guess that when it comes to writers and artists they are weirder, and more prone to tie themselves up in knots over their desires – as in, “WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN” – and their lifestyles are often quite bohemian to begin with, so they feel more entitled to pursue the objects of their desire, I think. Or else they are expected to do it.

    I should also point out that Ophelia Reborn may be an asshole, but she’s right that people do respond to you differently when they’re attracted to you. I’ve used that. MEN USE THAT TOO. I know male journalists whose looks and charm have served them well in the world, to give one obvious example. And I don’t see anybody holding that against them.

  9. You know, I finally figured out who you kind of remind me of. Dina Vierny. The modeling, the muse stuff, how open you are. Except you write instead of sing.

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