The policing of women’s bodies has always been an issue all around the world.
Women’s bodies and the relationship between women’s bodies and culture, custom
and honour, has been the foundation of violence against women for years
Female sexuality and the policing of it continually leads to the shaming of women, the ostracising of women, and the mutilation of women’s bodies.
Female genital mutilation, abortion laws, virginity testing, denial of access to birth control, forced abstinence are all ways women’s bodies are policed
From organised religion to local patriarchal cultures, the freedom of the female body is feared. Religion is so paranoid about women, they developed an entire theology about what we are ‘allowed’ and ‘not allowed’ to do and a thousand and one reasons why we must be controlled.
So the way they deal with the fear is the reverse psychology of shame
Raise girls to be ashamed of their own bodies. Tell them they are only honorable and special when they hide themselves. Tell them their value is tied to their vaginas. Use words like “deflowered” when they have sex for the first time so they can feel like sex reduces them.
Use words like “defiled” when they are assaulted so they can feel damaged and ashamed. Call them “damaged goods” to drive the shame home.
That way, they will grow up to be women who will never have Agency over their own bodies. Women who will perpetually live for the validation of men about their bodies, and most dangerously, women who will believe that the actions of others against their bodies, is their fault.
We need a deep cultural shift that puts the responsibility for male aggression and violence where it belongs – with the behavior of men and boys, not because of something a girl or woman, wore or said or did.
And please, let’s shut down the narrative that a woman who dominates in business or career cannot be sexual. Women are not unidimentional. We can be many things at the same time.
It is another shaming tactic developed by the patriarchy and its handmaids to put women in a single mould.
The truly empowered woman has full agency and control over her body and her mind, and she is not afraid or embarrassed to show them off wherever and however she chooses.
That is not a woman you look down on. That’s a woman you bow down to.