Stolen women, we are still perpetuating the behaviors of sexuality that have been ingrained in us, some of which predate slavery. We continuously allow the media to capitalize on our sexuality as if we are still nothing more than objectified erotic capital. We are so busy trying to prove to everyone that we are so sexually empowered that we are actually doing ourselves a huge disservice. In many ways, the sexual images that represent us in the media as hyper-sexualized jezebel- place – us right back on the auction block for sale disguised as entertainment. Somehow in our minds and in the minds of others, these degenerative images of women have become the defining factor for sexual empowerment.
“It’s my body and I’m free to do with it what I want and express my sexuality however I choose” is the mantra of many sex positive feminist who revel in disdain for anyone who feels differently or expresses another view of sexual empowerment. To them I reply, “yes, why certainly is, but that ‘freedom’ does not come without a cost.” Yes, you are free to engage in sexual expressions of all kinds, and yes, it is your body…nevertheless, there is a price to pay! That price that we pay comes in various forms such as: embodying all the negative energy exchanged from the sexual escapades, the negative impressions and unwanted attention, the messages that our young girls receive, sexual transmitted infections, and the list goes on. In addition, this price we pay adds to the reasons why women continue to be disenfranchised, sold as a commodities and continue to remain as on bottom in every area from careers, educations, marriage, etc. Some will say, “sex sells” and “we use what we got to get what we want.” And I absolutely agree…however, my question would be, “Is what we’re getting worth what we’re selling or in most cases giving away for free?”
Given the historical context and social construction of women’s sexuality, it’s important to move forward and reclaim and redefine our images – in the name of sexual empowerment – in a way that does not cause us to compromise our integrity. And For heaven’s sake let us stop disguising sexy as some alternative form of sexual empowerment that only perpetuates the bureaucracy of a society who is feeding us all these distorted ideals; ideals which are set by those who objectify, diminish and disregard all the facets of womanhood. Women, we are so much more!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for sexual empowerment of women—however, within that empowerment comes a responsibility! Women’s sexuality is not to be taken lightly. Being sexually empowered does not equate to engaging in sexual trysts all willy-nilly, nor does it mean gyrating, grinding and “twerking” all over the place! We are more than hyper-sexualized out of control women who lack the ability to maintain a decent relationship and the wherewithal to have an intellectually stimulating conversation.
Additionally, the essence of sexual empowerment does not lie in the ability to making yourself come! It’s so much more than demanding orgasm! And it’s beyond casual sexual encounters and one night stands! It’s bigger than the five or 10 minutes, maybe, of physical pleasure! That’s not sexual empowerment, that’s just sexual intercourse. The two are not synonymous, yet we continue to use the two sexual empowerment and sexual intercourse interchangeably. We have been so miseducated about our sexuality that it has contributed to the breakdown of the family structure, the lack of healthy relationships, the lack of intimacy, the lack of respect for women, the lack of reproductive justice, the lack of sisterhood and so much more.
So then what is sexual empowerment?
Sexual empowerment is a spiritual, emotional, social, economic, physical, intellectual, political, institutional, biochemical, energetical and legal accountability of our sexuality. All of these dimension of sexuality contribute to our empowerment as sexual beings. Each and everyday we operate within these dimensions, therefore it is extremely important to first be aware of the dimensions, secondly to understand the impact these dimensions have on our lives and finally to learn how to operate effective within these dimensions to navigate our sexuality in a safer and healthier manner.
When we operate from this standpoint of sexual empowerment, we will begin to experience a shift in society. Women are the key to life! We are the backbone of society! Everyone in this world, was been born of a woman! We nurture the world in our womb, therefore how can be bring forth healthy generations with worn and rotten wombs from poor choices of our past? How can we educate our girls and boys when we have no real concept of sexual empowerment? We can’t—as a result, we fail our generation and perpetuate the cycle of this false sense of sexual empowerment. Therefore, it is extremely important that we as women begin to understand the significance and value of true sexual empowerment. This is our responsibility!
Finally, I challenge to evaluate your assumptions on sexual empowerment! Wrap your mind around the damage that has been created by post traumatic slavery syndrome and the miseducation of generations. Push yourselves to move pass the media conceptualization of Black women sexuality and move pass the historical chains of slavery that has us bound by our current thoughts of sexual empowerment. When we undo all that has been done to control and/or destroy Black women’s sexuality, then we can call ourselves sexually empowered.