Sex or No Sex, Your Body Matters
“I’m not having sex till I get married”
This was a constant ideal that I lived up to throughout my entire high school career, and my friend didn’t get it.
Growing up in Catholic family household has its contradictions and advantages. The one thing that I understood from the advice and lessons that I received from my family, was that some people (bodies) did not matter.
People with piercings and tattoos did not matter, people (especially women) who had a lot of sex did not matter, and people who would drink alcohol did not matter.
Back in high school these were things that I fully believed. Somehow, I would think that my body and being was above another. That I was better.
My 15 year old self would never imagine that 6 years later, my beliefs would completely change and that I would fall in love with Amber Rose’s video “Walk Of No Shame.”
The process of unlearning has been long and continuous, but I have come to a point where I can reflect on how problematic and dangerous some ideologies can be.
Judith Butler defines bodies that matter as bodies that have meaning and potential, something that has subsistence. A body takes form of multiple definitions and categories.
However through our culture, tradition, and society we are repetitively told that there are bodies that matter, and bodies that don’t matter. There is ‘us’ and then there is ‘them.’ A binary between what has importance and what doesn’t. The practice and repetition of these beliefs is then embedded into our minds and bodies, to the point where this force now dominates and controls us.
An example of a practice that is embedded into our mentality is the view on women and sex. There is this huge contradiction that women are supposed to “give” sex, but somehow are viewed as worthless if they have “too much” of it (is there really such thing as too much sex?).
There is this mentality that women’s bodies are meant to be owned by another. This body has no worth until it is of service to someone else.
Recently this month, Amber Rose hosted a Slut Walk in Los Angeles to speak out about slut-shaming. This walk is addressing the issue that certain bodies have been told that they don’t matter, and that these women are coming together to change the dialogue. Regardless of their interests and careers, these women bodies matter.
We should ask ourselves why sex has become a prerequisite for what is valuable. Why do men not have to live up to this standard? Our culture lives with these contradictions that go on without question.
Matter and worth are concepts associated with the body, they’re intangible things that somehow define and control us. We stop ourselves from doing certain activities because we do not want to jeopardize our worth and value.
Growing up I was told that women who have “too much” sex are not worth anything. But what is worth? Who defines it? How is it lost?
I think it is time that we unlearn dangerous and hateful narratives that have been taught to us. It’s time to teach the future generations that some bodies are not above others. Perpetuating dominance and hierarchy will only continue the cycle of sexism and misogyny.