A few weeks ago, I was cast in a female-based sketch comedy group! Yay me!
I was super, super wary when I was first auditioning, though. Because the group is called Hot and Funny, and the person who directs the sketches is a guy. I've seen plenty of "sketches" that are littered with terrible excuses to get women naked, and I'm not about on screen nudity. Thank goodness he included a couple of really funny sketches in the invitation to audition, because I was considering just not going! But I went, we clicked, and it's turning out to be so much better than I had expected. So it's made me consider the ways in which I do and don't use my sexuality.
The first thing to say about the way I usually use my sexuality is that I... don't. I typically play young, intelligent, and innocent. I'm an ingenue. And that's a hard role to play if someone can Google my name and find naked images of me. So I won't do any kind of sexualized nudity, and I'm cautious and hesitant to do scenes that take place at the beach, the pool, or in a shower. There's one time I got into a fight at an NYU seminar with a ton of student directors because I said that nudity is usually a crutch, and they were all convinced that when THEY used it in THEIR films, it was art. I wasn't buying it, and they were not happy with my ability to argue my point of view. It was awkward all around.
But being in this group is making me properly consider how to use my sexuality in a way that purely benefits me without delving into the inappropriate or over-sexualized. It's making me consider for the first time how I can use the fact that I'm ultimately, you know, an attractive young woman and have it work for me through my own initiative, as opposed to banking on it for making men want to talk to me who might be influential.
It's something I'm still exploring. But I love the idea that I use my body to make things that I think are funny and good, not just projects I think will turn on other people.