Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: November 2013

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Women & Sexuality

I live my life in a bit of a bubble, always have. Some things never change. I'm a woman who was a girl from a small town, who had a close knit set of family friends, who has become a woman who lives in a small town with a close knit set of family friends. Yet the world still gets in. As a child it was HBO and SNL. Now that I live without much exposure to TV, it's the internet. But lately, I haven't even been that plugged in to the news. So it's quite a shock when I finally decide to tune in and see what's going on out there in the big wide world.

Women's sexuality has always been a powerful thing. There's no denying it. And I'm not here to play the prude. I have my own particular story and experience of using my sexuality to discover or express my power--or at least my understanding of power in that moment. And I wouldn't deny any woman her journey through that particular fire. But if we take the conversation to a wider lens, as a culture, a society, are we not tired? Has it not reached it's final bitter bloody end?

When the Miley Cyrus story first broke, I only felt compassion. Here's a young woman who has been completely acculturated to use her sexuality to sell her talent. But when she decides to take the reigns into her own hands, she doesn't pull back from that acculturation, instead she swallows it whole. And for the game to work, you have to play the edges or people will turn on you--as they did on Miley. But what makes her any more or less empowered than Madonna in the 80s or Cher in the 70s? Isn't it simply that we as a culture have reached the limits of that line--that delicate line that performers and women in general have to walk in order to be "sexy". You can't be openly a whore--that's disgraceful. But you have to dress like one in order to be attractive. You can't openly be brazen and wanton--you can't actually enjoy sex. That's turning the tables--and don't you understand by now, that the game is played for men?  And whether Miley actually began playing the game for herself or whether she was being played we will let her decide. But my question is when will it be enough for women to quit being complicit? When will we stop co-opting our oppressors mythology? I see women here in Northern New Mexico with Playboy stickers on their cars and I'm stunned. I see young Christian women dressing like "streetwalkers" if I can borrow a term from Fashion Police. I see girls as young as 7 and 8 dressing as though they were fully realized sexual beings--when they are children!

I know the mindset; I adopted it once myself. If sex is power, then I'm going to play that game--but I'm going to be on top! And I believed my own story for a quite a while, until one day you wake up emptier than you've ever felt in your life. Your youth is behind you, and what lies before you is a vast wasteland of shame and denial.

Sex is powerful and mythical and delightful. But it's no coincidence in my mind that the Fifth Chakra--the throat--is known as the kant because our voice is our power. But instead it's become cunt. We pour all our phobia and shadows into this hole and we revile it; and it represents the entire foundation of our culture. The distortion of power. The distortion of the woman. The dignity of her voice, her story, her sexuality and her grace. Her kant--and yes, her cunt.

Are we not tired yet? This morning I'm tired; but I'm also hopeful that maybe others are tired too? And maybe that weariness, will somehow turn to frustration, which will inevitably lead to action. My prayer is that every woman--young or old--will know her own beauty, dignity, grace and strength. And that she will neither deny nor use her sexuality but rather own it and express it in love and joy, with all the juiciness and darkness and lightness that comes with it. But may it be her own.