The words in quotations are borrowed from an artist I follow, Kathe Izzo. The words not in quotations are my own.
“For centuries the pleasure principle has been as subjugated and marginalized as woman herself. Of course, pleasure does not only belong to women, but pleasure and its relationship with the continuation of both nature and the world is definitely contingent on female pleasure. The expression of female pleasure has been historically (or at least in recent history) controlled and utilized for the ‘pleasure’ of the male gaze [and beyond] and has therefore been inherently tampered with and toxified.”
This has created a vicious, never-ending cycle of guilt, shame, confusion and reluctant acceptance of a woman’s perceived role in society, making it incredibly difficult for her to lay down her defenses and become vulnerable to the pain caused upon her. She might even be confused about whether she is a victim or not because rape culture does a fantastic job of distorting and dismissing legitimate grievances into things like: It wasn’t that bad. Boys will be boys. Suck it up. Don’t talk or else. It happens to everyone. You’re being dramatic. It’s why you might have been surprised to see so many “#MeToo(s)” this week. Over time a culture unwilling and not called upon to correct itself submits the abused into silence.
“It is in vulnerability that true power lies. Vulnerability does not mean victim. It does not mean licking your wounds. It does not mean playing small. It does not mean blame. It means the freedom to be beautiful as you are and to walk in pleasure without the need to inordinately protect oneself.”
Truth also lies within vulnerability. And what’s stronger than power driven by truth? Hundreds of thousands of fractionalized voices, all with their own unique tones, have created a harmonious force of nature that has triggered national headlines and, more importantly, initiated hard and meaningful conversations. It’s vigorously demanding accountability and it’s unapologetically taking and putting the ball back on the right side of the court. To all of those who are participating in this conversation, thank you for, among other things, your honesty, bravery, courage and vulnerability. To all of those who caution that this is a fleeting social media campaign that will soon dissipate, I wholeheartedly disagree it will end there. There’s nothing frivolous in the widespread awakening of courage backed solidarity. More than that, courage, once instilled in a person, does not easily vanish. In fact it becomes ever more present and contagious. No, a social media campaign in and of itself will not effect change. But the steady accretion of voices rallying together will eventually burst this insidious silence. And while sexual abuse, assault and harassment will inevitably still exist, a culture that readily accepts and silences it will not.
Photo above via Pexels.