Why Women Should Interrupt More Conversations About Our Bodies and Sex

PHOTO CREDIT:  T. CHICK MCCLURE

PHOTO CREDIT: T. CHICK MCCLURE

As the #MeToo impacts continue to pour in on our social media feeds, redrawing the lines of consent—as highlighted in Jill Soloway's illuminating new memoir, She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy—combined with exercising our right to tell our stories, this marks the monumental shift in the history of sexual entitlement, privilege, and having our bodies policed within the world of men.

“I wanted to love my body. I wanted to celebrate my sexuality. I wanted to feel like the succulent woman I knew I was deep down inside. I hungered for sexual liberation”—founder of Sex Love Liberation—Ev'Yan Whitney recalls a time she refers to as ”some of the darkest times of her life” on her quest to sexual healing and awakening. Whitney is also the creator of the #SensualSelfieChallenge—a pillar movement in the plight of women active in becoming deprogrammed of our bodies instructed to use beneath the patriarchy—which calls for women to “take one selfie a day for five days that highlights your body, celebrates your sexuality, and encourages you to take up space.” As a woman battling my own body image and coming out of my shell sexually, I wasn't sure I was emotionally prepared to participate. It wasn't until I began reading the hashtagged stories from other women who also expressed how delicate their participation was that something clicked for me:

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Self love for women means experiencing ourselves beyond physical parameters we've built as women self-conscious about our bodies. Being vulnerable enough to share our truths. Accepting while we still have a lot left to love, we can still feel empowered in our skin. #SensualSelfieChallenge.

Whereas we still live in a world that is structured to write us out of our own narratives by promoting women in a way that relies heavily on objectification and asserting the gender binary, it is in the counter-culture of reclaiming our stories where we are discovering our power, frequently maybe without indeed realizing it.

The Self-Acceptance Movement for Women, 'Women Who Look Like Me'

I recently wrote about my journey as a woman unapologetically passionate about saying goodbye to the unrealistic standards of beauty and leaving more room for what feels authentic. Fully present in that empowering revelation, I felt compelled to do something to promote the diverse composition of women further. What began as a simple idea for a t-shirt has since sparked the movement on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, to unite and urge women everywhere to embrace themselves as they are through the sharing of self-acceptance stories.

“I don't have realistic expectations or unambiguous descriptions of beauty. Why? Beauty isn't clear-cut. Beauty is versatile enough to be whatever I want it to be. I have the power to invent my own brand of beautiful. Beauty gives me that.”

At a time when equality and visibility (without shame) is crucial to our ongoing plight, treatment, and condition as women, this is my contribution to our active voice as both a collective and as individuals. To our revolution. By virtue of love, respect, acceptance, support, encouragement, and the gratitude to daily inspire one another, our wars are best fought and won, together. 

Join me in this sisterly movement to connect with ourselves and embrace women all over the world. As we are.

Buy the shirt here.

I'm Every Woman, Not Some Sub-Par Headlining Act

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I remember cringing the first time someone told me I was a “beautiful woman”: post-shower, naked, and completely vulnerable before her. In retrospect, it wasn’t so much being called “beautiful” as it was hearing it paired with “woman.” Not that I was ashamed of my womanhood or being seen in a full-blown feminine light, but in that moment I realized that I had previously only ever been made to feel marveled at as some kind of core aesthetic. Overlooked, pacified. A mute screen of woman. It was the first time I felt fully embraced as a valid representation of a woman and not hindered by my androgyny.

“My only purpose is to be the most authentic representation of myself I can be. If any or all of what that looks like makes you uncomfortable, I’m not sorry. For some, my message will be lost on. I won’t be for everybody and that’s okay. To those who see ME: Thank you.” 

I’ve been embracing myself more and hiding less. I feel empowered in my skin. On this journey of freedom, I feel a neutralized sense of gender expression notwithstanding the insistence to label me with little to no room for fluidity. I feel secure enough in my sexuality to intimately explore the full-spectrum of women—having only ever dated hyper-feminine women—as my attraction to more masculine-presenting women blooms. This transparency—still one-hundred percent human—invokes a heightened sense of vulnerability:

“How will I be responded to?”

I’m immediately reminded that I’m not anyone’s boxed perception of me—synonymous only with my propensity to leave room to redefine myself, and again. And again.