So. That explains A LOT.
Mayim makes me feel very glad I had the mother I did, and that Mom did have The Talk with me, and she did it in a very body-positive, sex-positive, love-positive way.
Mom was also curvaceous, like me, with a substantial bosom (I come by it honestly). Mom never communicated to me that she hated her body. In some ways, she joked about it – about her height (no taller than me) and her boobs, etc. She showed me it’s ok to have a sense of humor about one’s body. I think that was a good thing.
Mayim also makes me feel grateful that I took a really comprehensive health class in 8th grade that included a section on human sexuality. My mother had to sign a permission slip for me to take that class, and she did permit it, and I’m glad I was in that class. The human sexuality section was medically accurate, but it was focused on straight sexuality – no mention of being gay or bisexual or transgender; this was in the very early 1980s – and they did use proper terms for body parts, like “vagina” and “penis” etc. Yes, that matters. There are some “sex education” classes that don’t do that; all they tell you is to wait until marriage to have sex. They don’t even explain what sex IS. I remember Carrie, from First Unitarian, telling me what her employer (Catholic Charities) thought “sex ed” was. Just a “wait until marriage” thing. She even sent me a link to one of their webpages, and it was not informative at all. Ugh. Then she said that lots of kids, because they didn’t know what sex was or what body parts were called or how they worked, came down with STDs or girls didn’t know what a menstrual period was, etc. How ridiculous. How avoidable.
But in watching this video, I think I see why Mayim puts such emphasis on modesty…and why I have always been very sexually confident and adventurous. It’s probably why I really love this song:
“People think it’s intimidating when a girl is cool with her sexuality; I’m a 180 to the stereotype girls like staying home and being innocent.”
Then I got involved with Goddess spirituality, which was also enormously affirming of women’s sexuality and all the creative ways sexuality can be expressed. Having divine figures like Freyja and Aphrodite and Oshun, some images of whom I have here:
With images like this, how can any pagan woman not feel empowered in her sexuality?!
There ARE Goddesses that speak to Mayim’s more academic and intellectual way. Goddesses of wisdom would be very suitable for her, like Frigga and Minerva and Athene. And this is why I DO like Goddess spirituality so much – it tells women “your life experience is blessed, too.” In that way, Goddess spirituality is very inclusive.
By the way, Mayim thinks there’s no call to label someone as a “bitch” BUT there are a lot of women, especially in the Goddess spirituality world, who OWN that word as a HUGE badge of pride. Usually in the world of Goddess spirituality, the energy of the Bitch Goddess is that of someone who takes no shit off of anyone, and doesn’t let anyone’s negative opinions stop her from doing what she believes is right and true. She takes a stand on things even if they are unpopular positions, she expresses her truth, and she faces down her critics fearlessly and does not back down from her position UNLESS she, of her own free will, chooses to do so. She never caves to external pressure. And yes, sometimes just saying “no” to something does earn one the title “bitch” – and it’s not always a bad thing.
I have had to do that, and I have faced critics who would put me down and try to force me into a different viewpoint, but I did not cave. That takes a lot of courage, and bitch Goddesses are, morally speaking, very courageous people.
Just wanted to put that out there.
As an aside, there is a part of me that thinks “maybe there are some people out there for whom their sexuality and gender identity REALLY IS A CHOICE – and if it is, more power to them.” They should be affirmed in their choice. It shows enormous creativity and using one’s own life as a canvas, upon which to paint anything they want. I like the idea of sexuality, etc, as a choice. I think it’s great. It sure is better than “I’m a slave to my genes.” That, to me, is disempowering.
I recognize that not everyone is going to be ok with my sexuality. As women age, we are expected to be less sexually active. Sometimes that does happen, but sometimes it doesn’t. I prefer to let it be whatever it is, sans social expectations.
But that’s what I’ve hoped to demonstrate to some people around me – that sexuality is nothing to be afraid of. I think it should be handled respectfully, with dignity, but not feared. Yes, it’s very powerful, and yes, one can get hurt. But some of just HOW hurt you get is in your attitude about it to begin with.
So there we have it. Mayim woke me up to some truths here. I’m sorry my mother is now gone, and I can’t express this to her; most of what I remember of life with her is not good. It involves alcohol and abuse and all that. But it wasn’t always like that, so perhaps I should focus more on the good and take whatever lessons I can from the bad. Something to consider.
More on this later, perhaps…got things to do…