*Explicit language ahead.
By Zoë Collenburg
How did you read that headline title? Did Nicki and Beyoncé play in your head? Or did you read it with confusion and concern? We may not live in a society where it is normal to talk about masturbation, but it is a “standard” that all males masturbate, and females don’t. Even the so-called “slutty ones.”
We live in a society where “boys will be boys” means it’s normal for boys to masturbate daily beginning in their pre-teenage years, but it’s taboo for women even to discuss. Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj’s song, “Feeling Myself,” opened the door for the taboo to wear off, but decades of patriarchal ideas about women, men, and their sexuality are still every present in society. It’s dangerous to all- feminism is not just for females.
Society has told women that they are not sexual beings and that men are purely sexual beings. This notion is not harmless. We tell women they can’t be sexual, and if they are, they are a “harlot,” “skank,” “wench,” “hoe,” or “whore” (pay attention to the fact that all to refer to females, not men- gendered language). So rarely are women allowed to be sexual.- yes, women are overly sexualized in the media, but look at women in everyday society. A woman couldn’t dream of being half that sexual without being torn apart. Sexuality is just another place where women are expected to have all and be all. Women are supposed to be modest in the day and exotic at night, and only with their long term boyfriend.
If a woman is sexual outside of that, without a man, with multiple partners, or “too early on,” she is deemed damaged goods. You’re allowed to screw her, but you couldn’t love her. Make love to her. She’s damaged. Through this, we perpetuate the idea that women only have sex for love, not enjoyment. This idea is incredibly crippling, and completely false (multiple orgasms anyone?!). But making female masturbation taboo, we demolish the idea of sexual exploration, only furthering these ideas, perpetuating the stigma and its consequences. We restrict women incredibly.
On the other hand, men are allowed total freedom, right? He is welcome to sleep with whoever he wants and as much as he wants. Well, not welcome to, he must. A man, who doesn’t sleep around and masturbate, isn’t a man at all, right? If a man isn’t having crazy sex and a lot of it, he is not a man, he’s a “pussy” (you can’t ignore the genderization of the English language). We tell men that they are purely sexual, and that puts boundaries on them as well. When we say they must be highly active, we restrict who they can be. They don’t have free reign on sexuality; they have their own crippling box.
Sexuality is not exclusive, is not male or female; and the idea that it is dangerous. Sexuality differs between person to person, not by gender or orientation. By perpetuating these ideas and notions, we put people into boxes that refuse to let them grow and develop. Feminism is right at the heart of sexuality in our society, and it is not about just freeing women. All are welcome to as much or as little as they’d like.
Smash the patriarchy. And long live you.
About the Writer…
Zoë Collenburg is a Junior out of state student (hook ’em horns!) double majoring in English and Communication with a Theatre Emphasis. She is the Vice Chair of Student Senate, a Student Ambassador, and an Orientation Leader. She loves coffee, being on stage, and long walks on the beach.