Women’s Empowerment Versus Man-hating Feminists

Empowered woman

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere in outer space, you will have noticed the prevalence of “female empowerment” in mainstream media. The revelations against some powerful figures in the entertainment industry followed by the #metoo campaign appeared to be the start of a dramatic shift for women in 2017, with huge stands made against sexual violence, discrimination and assault.

Sexual assaults victims of Harvey Weinstein
Image: Harvey Weinstein Sexual Assaults
#metoo sexual assault and violence awareness march
Image: #metoo Survivors March

I’ve seen many posts and articles flooding social media and news websites with comments from women reminiscent of the man-hating feminist rants from decades ago and felt great sadness that in some ways, this approach to standing up for women’s rights is still being taken.

Before you go thinking that I am anti-feminist and against the uprising of women, I want to state that this could not be further from the truth. I have spent years growing into my own power and learning ways with which I can teach women how to do the same. I am beyond thrilled to see women thrive in the world and believe we all have the right to do so. The one distinction I want to make crystal clear from some notions of feminism is that I absolutely love men just as much as women. I can believe in the absolute necessity of equal rights for all beings, I can stand for women and their right to feel safe in this world, I can fight for my grandmothers, mothers, sisters, friends and future daughters rights to live a life from a free and empowered place and at the same time I can completely and utterly love men. Believe it or not, the two are not exclusive!

Equal rights with Emma Watson
Image: Emma Watson Equality Quote

If there is one thing that really gets me fired up it’s the absolute conviction of one gender based on a minorities actions. I cringe when I see abrasive, man-hating discrimination disguised as female empowerment. I understand that sexual violence and discrimination is rampant with women across the world however I see judging and treating every man on this planet as part of the problem being similar to condemning every white person in this world as being a racist skinhead – it is nonsensical to treat every man as a deviant, predatory and manipulative creature when this behaviour is not representative of the majority.

If women continue to ostracise all men, we will find that men are going to go about life feeling as if they are walking on egg shells around us, afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing. I don’t know about you but I could not think of anything worst!! I want the men in this world to feel confident, empowered and self-assured to speak their truth, just like I want the same for all women.

Stop Expecting Men To Know How To Treat You And Tell Them How

All this discussion around certain men’s behaviour validates the importance of men being shown how to treat women. I believe this needs to be done in a way that empowers them to treat women with respect, love and reverence. Fighting, yelling at and shunning all men does not work. I see that condemnation, as opposed to education, results in a continuing vicious cycle that does not make room for union between men and women.

Men desire to be loved, respected and adored, just as women desire love, adoration and respect. I believe that if women wait around for men to treat them in the way they want to be treated, they will spend their whole lives waiting. What a waste of a life when there is so much potential for beautiful relationships between men and women!

We end up placing so many expectations onto others to know how to treat us without taking the time to communicate how it is we actually want to be treated. All the men in this world are not going to one day wake up and know how it is they “should” be with women, it doesn’t happen that way. What I believe is needed is for women to show men the way. I in no way believe in allowing disrespectful treatment and see that it is vital for both women and men to have healthy boundaries and call out poor treatment if and when it occurs. What I feel is important is that we all have compassion and understanding for the unique yet universal difficulties that each gender faces in life.

Women, I encourage you to show a man how it is you need to be treated, communicate clearly and kindly what it is you desire, tell him when he is out of line and be honest with how it makes you feel. Encourage him to do the same with you. If what he has said or done results in you feeling sad, be sad!! If he said something that led to you feeling fiery rage, feel this!! Don’t conceal, don’t suppress and be honest with your emotions. But don’t outcast him from society for mistakes that he may make from an ignorant and/or conditioned place. Don’t disempower yourself by falling victim and making him the cause of all your problems.

So many times a man does something that triggers something deep within us that runs so much deeper than that single experience. We carry wounds from the past, old traumas and pains that are held in our bodies (not necessarily from this lifetime) and when we are triggered, it often doesn’t make sense why whatever they have done causes us to feel so intensely. Women, I ask that you don’t put all of this on him, he doesn’t deserve it just as you don’t deserve to carry it. Ask for space to feel and express in a healthy way and shift it out of your body.

What’s needed is the power of the feminine. The feminine is not the solution, rather it’s the feminine in a relationship and harmony with the masculine that’s the way forward, allowing both their full brilliance.

There is so much potential for potent and powerful union between men and women that awaits us all. Let’s rise above the idea that we need to blame and shame each other in order to move forward into this new way of being with each other.

*I speak from a heteronormative, gender binary perspective and understand that this may not apply to some people. My intention has not been to exclude but rather simplify and condense this post.

Author: Stephanie Curtis – BA. Nursing., Grad. Dip. Sexology

Dr. Stacy, How Do I Pleasure Myself Without Sex Toys?

Woman asking questions about sexual wellness and health

This week Dr. Stacy Friedman a clinical sexologist and certified sex coach has partnered up with Adultsmart to answer two anonymous questions which were emailed in to askasexologist@gmail.com.

Question

I am a virgin but always so horny. I always need to pleasure myself but I am getting bored of the ways I can do it as I would love a get a little kinky however I am not able to purchase any sex toys as I don’t live alone!  Is this normal? Can you help me?

Woman orgasming
Image: Virgin

Dr. Stacy Friedman’s Answer

Seeing that I don’t know all of your details, age, history, etc, I can answer basically and say yes it is totally normal to have a high sex drive as people have all different drives and there isn’t one that is considered “normal”. Since you are a virgin, you may have some built up sexual urges that are wanting to come out so you may be more horny that some because of that.  Masturbation is a healthy, normal part of sexuality so there shouldn’t be any shame or concern if you are enjoying yourself unless it is to a point where it is affecting your work, relationships, and daily activities.

There are many ways to get kinky without women’s sex toys by using different positions to pleasure yourself.  Maybe get a small bottle of lube that you can put near your lotions so it is discreet. When you take a shower, use the showerhead and see if you can get a good feeling from that or lie in a tub and let the water from the faucet run between your legs.  There are also many small sex toys you can keep in your purse that are quiet and may even be disguised as a lipstick or a blush brush so if they were found, nobody would think twice.  There are discreet pillows that can hold and hide sex toys or even lock boxes made specifically for toys to keep in a closet or drawer that nobody can open.  You can also look at some videos on your phone of some light porn if you think of things that may turn you on to give you some more ideas or to use your imagination for next time.  Hope this helps and you see that even though you don’t live alone, there are plenty of ways to pleasure yourself without any large toys to be found!

Question

With the news that has been making headlines recently about the sexual assault allegations with Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Kesha Vs Dr Luke and the #Metoo campaign, I have found it hard to ignore memories of the bad experiences I had to face in my past. How do I manage the flachbacks I have been experiencing? What steps am I meant to take to begin coping with the sexual assault I have experienced?

#metoo sexual assault campaign
Image: Metoo Campaign

Dr. Stacy Friedman’s Answer

I am so sorry you have had to deal with any type of sexual harassment or assault as most of us women (and some men), myself included, have been through some kind of situation that sparks anxiety, frustration, and just bad feelings regarding a sexual action that was brought against us.  Being that I am a sexologist, not a sex therapist, I would highly suggest if you are having flashbacks and have never gotten any one on one therapy for the sexual assault that you have experienced, that you find a person near you that specializes in sexual trauma or abuse that maybe does EMDR to talk to.  My suggestion in the meantime until you find someone, is to do some yoga or breathing exercises that can keep you relaxed and find yourself a happy place in real life or in your mind that you can go to where it is safe and calm so you can be there while you breathe.  Know whatever happened was not your fault and you find a way to get to your inner strength, take a kickboxing class, karate class or something that makes you feel strong and do your best to move forward.  I hope you get the support you need and stay strong.

#MeToo Fighting Sexual Harassment & Assault!

Hashtag for sexual assault and harrassment

In solidarity with the internet world I am joining the #metoo movement currently happening. Now if you haven’t been online over this past weekend, you might be wondering what the #metoo movement is or what I am talking about? A little over a week ago a major movement began in the Hollywood circle with sexual assault and harassment charges were brought forth by one of the industry’s most notable. These allegations are nothing new, countless incidents have been brought forth against countless people for years and years. What makes this instance so unique is the backing support it has received from women and men around the world who have had enough, in particular Alyssa Milano (Who’s the Boss, Charmed) started a tweet:

Twitter Facebook And Instagram Trending Hashtag
Image: Alyssa Milano’s #MeToo Tweet

 “If all the people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Metoo.” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. #MeToo”

Hollywood Actress Alyssa Milano
Photo: Alyssa Milano

This tweet has sparked a viral online movement and one that is causing a number of debates amongst its own supporters. I first started seeing this post specifically calling for “Women” who’ve experienced these forms of harassment and assault to come together in solidarity, soon after I started seeing men, women and non-binary identifiers also posting their stories, or simply indicating a #metoo.  For many this is a movement to bring awareness to the harassment and mistreatment of WOMEN that has been swept under the rug for too long. Others are proclaiming this is the opportunity to show that sexual harassment, assault and rape are not just a Women’s issue, but rather everyone’s issue.  1 in 4 girls will be sexually mistreated in some way before they are 18, that same statistic applies to 1 in 6 boys. I’d say this is everyone’s issue and in 2017 when the movement for equality has made more stride than ever before, there’s no better cause to come together for.

Now that you have a little more information about the #metoo trend happening around you, I’d like to take this time to share my experience.

As a man, and for one who grew up in rural Canada surrounded by every hegemonic masculine stereotype you can imagine, I endured physical and mental harassment from peers in school for being different. I personally never gave much thought to sexual harassment and how it would, could and did eventually affect me.

When I was 19 or 20 I had been casually “seeing” a guy for some time, we went to movies, shared dinners etc. On this particular night which happened to be his birthday, he had people over to his condo for drink and celebrations, nothing unusual here. I turned up later than the rest of the guests as I had prior commitments. When I arrived everyone was well into the celebrations, him included. Everyone was full of love and laughter, the night was just like any small birthdays you’ve been to. As the guests levels of intoxication grew the party dwindled down, having arrived later I was leagues behind where this guy was on the drunk meter. As the last guests were leaving, I decided I would head home as well, but first to put this guy to bed. We had been seeing each other for a while and known each other longer; I thought the nice thing to do would be to make sure he was comfortable in bed.  After leading him from a half passed out position on his recliner to his bedroom, his energy level picked right up. The whispers of seduction were pouring from his lips, I playfully laughed it off and told him I was putting him to bed and I would see him the following day (I’m not one for drunk sex). He began kissing me and soon we were horizontal on the bed. I played it off with laughter and repeatedly telling him I was tucking him in and walking home… alone! The seductive moves began to get more forceful with one hand on my wrist and soon followed by the second. Even at this point, pinned to a bed, a man much larger than myself on top, I still didn’t feel like I was in a situation of assault. In my mind he was drunk. I began repeating for him to let me go, admittedly I was laughing and smiling through this. I continued to repeat myself, when his knees began pushing against my legs, still pinned at the wrists and the full weight of this man atop me I began to feel for lack of a better word claustrophobic. It was this feeling at the time that prompted me to use my head. Literally, when he leaned in to kiss my face or neck or wherever he was aiming I threw my forehead into his face. It was like lightning, his grip released my hands and I rolled off the bed in one movement.

I didn’t say a word, I don’t even remember leaving his apartment. I remember walking down the nearly deserted city street walking with as much “unf” as I could muster, it was about a 30 minute walk from his place to mine. To be honest I don’t remember getting home, or what I did with myself. I don’t remember being scared or upset at what had happened. As I said before, in my mind it was the alcohol. I chalked up what had taken place to the results of alcohol.

It wasn’t until the next morning that I found my t shirt with blood splatters across the front.

Perhaps putting the blame on something intangible, kept me and my brain from re living and mentally playing over the events to determine his actual motives.  I didn’t “date” this guy again, I just lost interest.  I never acknowledged within myself that I might have ill feelings towards him or in fact I didn’t think about it again for years.

The effects of that night did dawn on me years later, while dating another person who suffered from alcoholism (I’ve dated some winners). During this relationship after his countless benders he would always end up apologising for this and that, he would always blame it on the alcohol. After a few repeat offences and repeat apologies from this guy I knew it wasn’t the alcohol that lead to this behaviour. The alcohol just lowered the inhibitions that would tell someone “it’s not a good idea”. Alcohol doesn’t make you do things out of nowhere, it just lowers your sense of judgment and inhibitions.

After the later relationship ended I was out at an event in Vancouver and I bumped into “the guy”. All was well until he approached me outside the venue. He began the conversation as if his birthday night was the other day and not years prior. He was apologetic, he was afraid, he was ashamed. I didn’t know how to react, the emotions I was feeling in that moment were too overwhelming and came out of left field. I hadn’t acknowledged my own hurt and here he was exploding his. I did the only thing I knew how to do, and that was to accept his apology as cordially as I could and smiled then answered a fake phone call, told him I needed to take it and proceeded back inside the venue to my friends.

Now years later since all of this has happened and as i reflect on the situation as a whole i am left with more questions. What I should have said to him? Did he deserve that platform to express himself? Did his words bring up more trauma than healing?

No two situations are the same, no two people go through the same emotional process. That is what is so tricky with situations like these, not every matter is black and white. The one thing that is for sure is that your body is yours alone, no one has dominion over it but you.

I have shared my #metoo story along with many others. And I question what good will it do? I might be able to sit here and recount this story, countless others who’ve gone through their own situations may not and that doesn’t make their story any less important or imperative to this movement. No one is entitled to another’s story, nor is anyone obligated to share their story. These are personal offenses and take a personal journey to deal with.

For a personal story about recovering from sexual assault read Morgan’s article “Deciding to Touch”. Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centre’s are LGBTQI safe spots for people who may be in distress.

Author: Patrick Kriz- BA, Psych (HON)- Human Sexuality

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