8.7.05

No-No Parts

I feel: dorky

From The Guide to Getting it On:
~Western religions have never done too well with the notion of women and sexuality. For instance, early Christians taught that a virgin daughter occupied a higher place in heaven than her mother, since the mother must have had sex for the daughter to have been born. And around 400 A.D., Christianity's St. Jerome wrote,"Though God can do all things, He cannot raise a virgin after she has fallen" (Epistles 22). Not even God can help you when you lose your virginity, if you are a woman anyway. It's never been a problem for men, but then again, we're the ones who wrote the scriptures. (You don't have to be religious to know that when a boy has intercourse for the first time, he becomes a man. Yet a girl who has intercourse loses her virginity and is no longer pure as the driven snow, assuming she was in the first place.)

Rigid as St. Jerome may have been about women's virginity, he was quite the feminist compared to some of his Christian and Jewish predecessors. For instance, one early church father described women as "a temple built over a sewer," with sewer referring to their genitals. Men who made statements like these were later declared saints.

Perhaps it's no coincidence that many adult women who are unable to have orgasms were reaised in households where the temple/sewer notion still holds sway.

To this day people still equate a woman's personal reputation with her appetite for sex: if her sex drive is too low, she is cold or frigid; too high and the sewer floods the temple, in which case she is called easy or a slut, whore, ho, or nympho. In Britain, the term is "slag." While young men are free to strut their sexuality, young women learn to carefully regulate theirs. Otherwise, they risk being called dirty words.

Contrary to what makes sense, women are often the first to accuse other women of being sluts or whores. Men may have been the bozos who wrote the anti-woman theology, but women can be its cruelest enforcers. Also, scripture tells us that Jesus of Nazareth was loving a respectful toward women. Why did the church fathers who followed him have so many problems with this? And if the human body was made in the image and likeness of God, as scripture says, why were church leaders so rejecting of women's genitals and sexuality? Had God been drinking the day He crafted the clitoris and vagina? (pgs 17-18)~

Holy crap. This is the first time ever that I have ever felt good about my womanly parts. I know it sounds silly, but I never really thought that my entire body was made in God's image, only the presentable parts. It was told/suggested/insinuated to me that my breasts and crotch area were the no-no parts, so I have always felt dirty about them. Like just having them on my body made me somehow less than worthy. I also learned how to show and use my no-no parts to get things that I wanted, like love or the facsimile of it. I have also believed in my heart all along that since I'm not a virgin, that I'm tainted, used goods. I can't even regard myself as a valuable person, only a commodity that is either buyable or spoiled. Most of the men that have drifted/wandered in and out of my life have treated me that way and I realize only now that it wasn't entirely their fault. It's what I believed about myself. I just didn't fully realize it. I'm not saying that I deserved to be molested as a child or raped 4 times in the years after, physically/verbally/emotionally abused by my mother, father, grandparents and various other people in my life I couldn't stand up to. What I'm saying is that all of these things led more and more to my feeling that my body is a dirty, shameful thing. Most of my life, I've been victimized. I think it's about time for me to take myself under my wing and learn to love my body as a creation of God. I think it's time for me to realize fully that God made me just the way He wanted me. I'm not dirty. I'm not a mistake. I'm not damaged goods. I'm a person. I'm valuable and precious. I think it's time for me to start really taking these things into my heart. The things that make me a woman are not shameful because God made them. I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me. Don't look for me to be running naked through the streets any time soon, but I hope I no longer feel like I have to use my sexuality in order to try to manipulate people into giving me what I want. It's so easy to get dressed up to go out and plump up my breats so that they look inviting or to wear my make-him-stop-dead-in-his-tracks jeans. (Every woman has a pair of those. You know, the ones that make your butt look fabulous.)I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with doing those things. It's my motivation that's wrong. I tell myself that I want to be stylish. I pride myself on not following the herd, so my fashion sense tends more toward 50's retro or old school punk than what's trendy now. It's really, really easy to tell myself that I'm just trying to look my best or that my cup of style runneth over.
I started the new summer session on Tuesday. That morning, while driving to my Psychosexual Behavior class, I was sitting in traffic and saw this on the back of a car in front of me while we were sitting at a traffic light:

HOOCHIE

At first I thought,"I don't think I would be advertising that." Then I thought how weird it was for me to see that on my way to a class about the sexual behavior of humans. Today, I thought about the different meanings of words in different social situations and how it means different things to different people. Yet another case of my making a snap judgment with my mind clamped shut when I think I'm so progressive.

I've also been noticing all week people's sexual behavior. No, I haven't been watching porn. I am by nature a people watcher and I notice little things about people when I'm in public. Body language, conversations and such. I'm addicted to these two reality tv shows on VH1: Kept and Strip Search. I know most of the reality shows are annoying, but for some reason I like these. I noticed this week the sexual behaviors of the men and women on these shows. It's so interesting how even when we're clothed we can be sexual. I'm not talking about being inapropriate in public. What I notice are things like how couples stand close to each other when they are newly infatuated with each other, how men and women act in a club situation versus how they act at lunch or dinner. I have watched on those shows men come in thinking they are God's gift to every woman and leaving with their tail between their legs. I don't think this is funny and I'm not man-bashing. I am simultaneously amazed at how fragile egos are and I'm glad that I'm not alone with my fragile one.

One last thing. Earlier today, as I was drving home from class, I saw a tractor trailer carrying a refrigerated trailer. On the side of the trailer it said,"Rhett Butler Trucking". I immediately started thinking about the movie 'Gone With The Wind' and how sexy I thought the character of Rhett Butler was. I remember the first time I saw that movie, I wanted a man like Rhett Butler even though he had so much machismo and he was so self-destructive. I thought he was sex on a stick. Then, I thought how weird it was that a trucking company would name itself after a character in a book/movie. But Rhett Butler was a business man. He was into making profit off war and other people's ensuing pain. I thought if he were a real person and alive today, he would probably be in the trucking business. As I was driving along, I had an image of Rhett Butler standing at the trailer door of Scarlett O'Hara in overalls with a trucker hat, a cigarrette hanging from his lip and a Billy Ray Cyrus-esque mullet saying,"Frankly, Scarlett,I don't give a damn." I crack myself up sometimes.

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