Yesterday, as I was driving home from the grocery store, a man in a red Prius rolled down his window to stick his tongue out at me. No, this was not done in the “I don’t like you” way that a child might do. Instead, it was the type of lewd gesture with which most women are all too familiar. After I passed his car, I started thinking about that man and his tongue-sticking-lip-licking gesture and whether he really thought that I would be enticed to turn my Jeep around and be swept away and off to my magical destiny with him.
What woman has ever responded that way? I mean, EVER?
Then I began to think about Mama Gena’s definition of flirting: “Enjoying one’s self in the presence of another,” and I realized that this man was, in fact, enjoying himself but it was at the expense of another – me!
My thoughts then took me back to a much younger version of myself. This version considered such gestures and catcalls to be compliments. As I discussed this with some of my friends, I learned that they, too, once believed these actions were compliments and that somehow, they gave us value.
Why did we ever think this was not only okay, but actually a good thing? Clearly the gestures and catcalls had nothing to do with us as human beings – none of these men had any idea about who we were. Instead, they were about using our physical form as an object for their own use – the very definition of objectification.
I wondered, again, why I ever thought this was not just okay, but that it was actually good.
Us women are often conditioned to value ourselves only by what others find valuable in us. For example, if someone (other than me) finds me attractive, then I feel I am attractive; the reverse is also true. It seems that many of us have been conditioned to believe that any male attention is good attention. Take this to its extreme and we’ve got the Harvey Weinsteins of the world. These men take advantage of this conditioned need for male approval and subsequent female dis-empowerment.
The giving away of our own self-concept is truly an abandonment of our own power. By subjugating our self-worth to that which is bestowed upon us by another, we become vulnerable to the predators who would use us for their own gratification. This is extraordinarily damaging on a number of levels, the most obvious of which is that our happiness is dependent on another. Less obvious is that we are at risk to subjugate ourselves at work and at home which can lead to unwanted consequences, including pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and physical abuse.
It is my belief that education sheds light into the darkest corners of fear and dis-empowerment, which is why I created a Talk and Workshop on “The Ridiculous History of Female Sexuality, and Why it Matters”. By openly discussing the ways in which we got here, it is my hope that women become empowered to live up to what Oprah Winfrey stated at the 2018 Golden Globes: “Their time is up!”
Jill Becker has combined her knowledge of Mental Health Counseling, Expressive Arts Therapy, and Medicine with extensive training in women’s sexual health, transpersonal psychology, metaphysics (including energy healing, Chakra balancing, EFT), and many artistic media. In practice, she is an Empowerment and Life Coach, Sexual-health educator, a Psychosynthesis coach, an artist and a mother. All this life experience, education, and practical training means that Jill is able to joyfully support women in their personal development.