By Jenise Jackson
Blog Content Contributor
Ladies, let’s refrain from having sex with men until they learn to fight for our rights. Sounds kind of extreme, right? Well singer/actress Janelle Monáe seems to believe it can work. But is it really that easy to give up sex? I mean we do live in a society that promotes hypersexuality, plus for some people it is just really enjoyable. So do I believe it could work? Yes I do. Is it realistic? Maybe not so much.
In a recent Marie Claire interview, Monáe discussed endorsing women empowerment and breaking down gender norms. She proclaimed that a sex strike might be necessary in order to make that happen. Monáe said, “Until every man is fighting for our rights, we should consider stopping having sex. I love men. But evil men? I will not tolerate that. You don’t deserve to be in my presence.” She believes that is the only way men will “start respecting the vagina”.
While I am a big fan of Monáe, her proposal reminded me a lot of the classical Greek play Lysistrata. The titular character in this tale inspired all women to withhold from having sex with their husbands in order to end the Peloponnesian War. This play was modernized in the 2015 musical drama film Chi-Raq, where the women instead refrained from sex with men to stop gang violence in the city of Chicago. While the women in these tellings are ultimately triumphant, these women and their stories are also fictitious. And while there have been examples of sex strikes in the past, they were very short-lived.
I’d like to make the point that all women don’t have sex with men and vice versa. But for the men who do participate in heterosexual relations, their deepest desire is probably sex with a woman. Take that away from them and they would lose their minds. But let’s consider the history of women’s sexuality for a brief moment. There was a time when a female’s sexuality was controlled and restricted. Women had to be conservative and there was really no way around that. There was nothing a woman could do but submit to a man’s sexual desires. Today, we have seen the tables turn though. Women have started to own their sexuality just as much as men. In fact, I think it is safe to say that there are women who love sex just as much as men do. With that being said, a sex strike would not only drive men crazy, it would drive women crazy as well.
Basically what I am trying to say is that this would be a big disaster that would end quicker than it began. So if you asked me if I believed a sex strike against men was possible, I would definitely say no. While it would probably be easy for someone like me, I know it may not be for others. For men and women, I just see it turning into an uproar, one that isn’t needed these days. And I don’t want it to seem like I don’t believe that women deserve equality, trust me, I definitely do. There just has to be an easier way to get men to respect us and fight for our rights. But what will it take? Sure we can punish them, but we have to be more practical. While I won’t suggest any examples for punishments that could take place, I will say that we can no longer deny the fact that men hold the hierarchy in society and women will continue to work towards equality until they receive it. Men have to learn to be humble by listening and learning. For the men who claim to be feminists, start actually speaking out and work towards bringing the change you endorse. That change won’t happen overnight as time has taught us on numerous accounts, but it has to start somewhere.
Featured illustration by Jenise Jackson.