The Paradox Around Female Sexuality

In many parts of the world women are valued based on their chastity. Whether you are in India, the Middle East, or even in the United States, there is a religious and cultural obsession with female virginity. The irony is that if a woman is found to not be a virgin (whether true or not), the punishment is often rape, or even worse, a stoning to her death.Can we really be living this way in the 21st century?The chasm between men and women is a sad one, and in many cases, horrific. But we have the power to change this, and I believe are in the process of it right now. Last week in New York City at the Clinton Global Initiative I listened to President Bill Clinton talk about how the power differential between women and men really has to do with one group defining themselves by power over the others. "For too many of us, our identity is focused too much on whether we have control over someone else's life," he said. "That's still the fundamental problem for women and girls all over the world."Bride burnings, genital mutilation, mass rapes, acid attacks, sexual slavery, and domestic violence are happening every day to women on a large scale. Did you know that an estimated 140 million women and girls are living right now with the consequences of genital mutilation, and globally, at least one in three women and girls has been beaten or sexually abused, or will be in her lifetime?If we continue to turn our attention away from this, we are in for a long haul of global instability, war and poverty.Think about it: Women are the ones who bring new life into world. Both physically and symbolically, we are the vessel of life. We are also the nurturers and caretakers of our families. If a woman or girl's body is violated, her spirit becomes violated too. She suffers, and in turn the world suffers with her.So what do we do about this?I believe the first step as a Western woman starts with honoring ourselves. What I mean by this is that in order to have the power and capacity to help our sisters around the world, we need to first make sure that we are honoring ourselves as women on a very personal level.Here are two important things you can do right now: How to Reclaim Your Feminine Power

  1. Honor and respect your body. You are a beautiful woman with tremendous power and potential. Start to recognize this in yourself. As you do this, others will treat you with the same respect. You will also help other women claim this beauty and potential within themselves. Make an honest effort to love your body and give Her positive attention. Your body is a sacred vessel of feminine wisdom. Whether you birth children in this lifetime, or birth ideas into being, your body is the divine vessel.
  2. Learn about the history of the world when the feminine was honored and revered. From 30,000 B.C. until around 3000 B.C., the Goddess was the primordial power. It has only been in recent history that a male God and man were considered superior. A great book I recommend to learn more about the history of the Goddess and the later transition to patriarchy is called The Chalice and the Blade, written by Riane Eisler.

At the same time you are reclaiming your own feminine power, you can help other women reclaim theirs. Here are three things to choose from: How to Help Other Women Reclaim Their Power

  1. Use your voice to help women come out of silence. There are too many women suffering in silence, afraid to speak out, or conditioned to think that it isn't even a choice. You have the ability to speak out against the atrocities happening to women. Use your voice in your community through social media, blogging, radio, television, presentations, etc. The more you use your voice to speak up for the rights of women and girls, the more you step into your feminine leadership and encourage other women to do the same.
  2. Join with V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. In Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, V-Day commits ongoing support to build movements and anti-violence networks. Working with local organizations, V-Day provided funding that opened the first shelters for women in Egypt and Iraq; sponsored annual workshops and three national campaigns in Afghanistan; convened the Confronting Violence conference of South Asian women leaders; and so much more. Join the V-Day movement here.
  3. Join the UN Women campaign, UNiTE to End Violence Against Women. There is power in joining forces with others, especially joining together as women. Whether you want to start an action, join an action, or manage an action, you can get involved at some level. Join UNite the End Violence Against Women here..

I believe that if we as a human race are going to evolve to the next level and make our way out of global poverty and into a more peaceful and prosperous future, we need to re-define our relationship with each other, and with female sexuality.The old version of the dominator and the dominated cannot exist anymore. Today the world is calling for us to work as partners, honoring the feminine and masculine within all of us. This I believe is the ticket back to our real power as a human race. 

Tabby Biddle, M.S. Ed., is a writer, speaker, and women's empowerment advocate dedicated to raising awareness around issues affecting women and girls and elevating female representation in the media. She received her Master's degree in Education from Bank Street College of Education and her Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Colby College. She lives in Santa Monica, CA with her husband and kitty.