Patriarchy, Sexuality, and Power

After public scandals involving men’s predatory actions, the discussion inevitably moves to drawing lines around sexuality itself. Modesty. Media. The Pence Rule. (Never be alone with a woman.)

It’s right in the wheelhouse of various religions and ideologies. Rules stacked on top of rules to create a “hedge”; to make sexuality itself dirty and fraught with danger.

What’s typically ignored is the power component of rape. Power and control and patriarchy are much tougher to confront, especially because it’s often religion that is indicted.

There are infuriating arguments suggesting a slippery slope to rape when sexuality isn’t placed in a box of restricted piety. The approach is entirely backwards. It isn’t the celebration and embrace of sexuality that’s the problem, but often entitlement — and a complete lapse in teaching our children about consent. Of challenging systems of patriarchal power.

Stop the fixation on modesty and sex itself which demands little more than disapproving side glances — and began to deconstruct the social norms and power structures that allow sexual assault to flourish.

Celebrate sexuality. Stop celebrating power.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore