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.

I'm a Lesbian. I'm Also a Trans Ally. Here's the Word They Don't Want You to Know.

PHOTO CREDIT:  MIGUEL BRUNA

PHOTO CREDIT: MIGUEL BRUNA

“TERF.”

Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists.

Disruptively alluded to as a “slur” as a way to silence lesbians who are trans allies by gaslighting the conversation faster than I can tweet “Come cuddle, @Lavernecox.”

Never use the word TERF, unless you're prepared to fend off an army of incontestably hateful people—who just so happen to be lesbians and bullies—ascending against you. That's exactly what happened to me when I decided to speak out against the transphobia that squeezed whatever last little bit of breath out of a bygone second home for a lot of us in the LGBTQ community when we were coming up and out—AfterEllen—before it was overthrown by organized hatred. TERFs. They even went so far as to use “the rape culture lesbians are facing” (Amy Dyess has me blocked, otherwise I'd link you directly) for blatantly disregarding trans people. 

Is this what “lesbians for lesbians” looks like now?
And this?
What about this?

Celebrated LGBTQ-inclusive lesbian, iconic DIVA Magazine publisher Linda Riley, has also been targeted for standing in support of visibility not limited to lesbians, as well as various other entities falling under the umbrella term who took principled stands against some of AfterEllen's ugliest thematic attempts to further marginalize and delegitimize trans women and trans women who are lesbians (recipients of “A visit from AfterEllen and Their Goon Squad” include comedian Rhea Butcher, author and editor/founder of The Dart Elaine Atwell, and managing editor at Autostraddle Heather Hogan). 

AfterEllen cares about neither lesbians nor “preserving a herstory,” as they've proven by launching personal attack campaigns against any lesbian or woman who goes against the TERF-popular grain on this (the unpopular grain in TERFland being LGBTQ solidarity). I'm still recovering from the conversational whiplash I experienced when I attempted to express my concerns to a member of AE staff, as I was immediately slammed with conspiratory alternative facts from opinion pieces. I literally told her I wasn't discounting her personal experiences of terror as she began to provide more context but instead substituted listening for more propaganda villainizing trans people, followed by defending AfterEllen's TERF-in-chief/editor with a divisive confidentiality notice at the end. Another one of their scare tactics used in attempts to silence us, perhaps. This is also the same person who wants us to believe she actually heard a single word Hannah Gadsby has ever said

The same war that gave us misogyny and homophobia gave us trans exclusionary radical feminists, AfterEllen. “Entertaining women since 2002.” Erasing lesbians all by themselves long before I showed up. 

The Self-Acceptance Movement & Platform for Women, "Women Who Look Like Me"

The Self-Acceptance Movement & Platform 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 movement has since become a platform on Instagram uniting and urging women everywhere to embrace themselves as they are through authentic storytelling, creative expression, and thought leadership content.

“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. Our voices, our creations.

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