We need to normalize female sexuality

jodie signed ed

The policing of women’s sexuality is pervasive throughout society. Women are expected to be pretty but not too pretty, smart but not too smart, sexy but not slutty. The female body is critiqued in all regards, and we need to change that.

While women are hypersexualized by the media and told their bodies are sexual objects, the owning and expression of that same sexuality is frowned upon. It’s extremely hard not to internalize feelings of objectification when they’re coming at women from every angle.

This double standard is most evident in the music industry, where female artists are at the forefront of fighting for awareness about female sexuality.

Recently, Billie Eilish came under fire for wearing a ‘revealing’ outfit, after years of baggy clothing in an attempt to avoid the sexualization female artists are constantly scrutinized for. The idea that a woman could want to wear a tank top for herself, rather than the male gaze, is out of the question in society’s eyes.

But it’s not just about the tank top; it’s the woman inside it. We’ve decided that curves are inappropriate, and that only girls with any sort of ass, boobs, or fat need to cover up. Lizzo pointed out these contrasting principles after fatphobic critics judged her for dancing at a Lakers game.

In reality, there are women who have high libidos and women who have low ones—just as there are with men. The only difference is the way society commonly criticizes women who are open about their sexuality, yet lack that same criticism for men.

We ask teenage girls to cover up, sexualizing their bodies while simultaneously telling them not to be proud of those bodies. We’re warned to wait until the third or fourth date to ‘put out,’ and are discouraged from openly wanting sex as much as men do. Our mothers warn us not to become ‘that girl’ who gets used by men, as if we’re objects to be used in the first place. 

We’ve come a long way from the days of institutionalizing women for hypersexuality, but the playing field is nowhere near even. 

So, what’s the solution?

As women, we need to start by addressing our internalized judgement of sexual promiscuity. Unless your partner is an asshole, the amount of people you’ve had sex with—and the way you dress—has nothing to do with your viability as a wife.

We also need to put an end to silence about the orgasm gap and shaming sexually expressive female celebrities.

There’s nothing wrong with getting what you want, man or woman. Women want sex just as much as men do: get used to it.

Jodie is a fourth-year English student and The Journal’s Photo Editor.

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