You choose. Claim it. Healing spaces.
Claim it. Freedom.
Claim it. We stand on greatshoulders and together, we can tend to ourselves and each other in reclaiming ourselves, our bodies and our lives.In
redefine sexuality as something beyond “conventional or reactionary narratives of commodified sexual relationships”, of simply power, or simply asmeans of efficient reproduction or simply as defenses against disease and violation.In addition to all of these, I have heard from my sisters tonight out in the audience and herewhere I stand--the shouts, the orgasmic moans, without shame, unabashed signs of release,sobs, soft hums and the possibility of the open and the “fearless underlining of our capacity for joy ….of self-connection, of that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of feeling, areminder of our capacity for feeling. And that deep and irreplaceable knowledge of that capacitycomes to demand from all of our lives that it be lived within the knowledge that such satisfactionis possible,” on our terms. On—our--terms.To our brothers, allies, friends, family, community---“A denied right, misinformation, a frown, adisapproving scowl”, a leer across the street, on the subway, across the room, “a raised voice,an angry reprimand, a verbal insult, a shaken fist, a shove, a slap, a punch, rape, a slit throat –these are part of the routine processes of socialization and gendered identity constructionthrough which girls and women and our bodies are persistently reminded that they are chattel.”
Because your liberation is tied to ours and our liberation is inextricably linked, no longer do youor I have to comply with the taboos and strictures associated with the sexual realities in thesepatriarchal societies. Can we stop encouraging Black women and girls to “conceal what theyknow about their bodies, to express shame about their bodies, to apologize for their bodies, andto lose touch with what Alice Walker has called--the secret of joy?”Bolster
efforts as we strive to offer a precious gift to ourselves by opening a window of opportunity through which we could imagine the beauty systematically buried by centuries of hateful, supremacist patriarchal propaganda and violence and from centuries of cultural andsexual repression and denial, and from the racial vilification, appropriation and violation of theblack female body.
We no longer have to perform the imposed task and/or duty of gatekeeper,enforcer, imposer of a Black sexual politics that prevents us from being truly free. Stand withus in this journey of unearthing, un-silencing ourselves for ourselves and do this, because our liberation is inextricably bound with each other.Then finally, Black women, we can offer ourselves this---begin to work with ourselves and eachother to unpack, unburden, unload this crushing weight and seize our freedom. And for thosewho haven’t already---reclaim our bodies, reclaim ourselves, reclaim our lives. Black women, wecan say, “I dare to imagine my black, female body in ways that are both disruptive andexhilarating.” I can feel the surge of power and clarity that comes with the revelation that I—am—beautiful! I can embrace pleasure and embrace joy and self-love.My Body, your body is not to blame, my vulva, your vulva is not to blame, your clitoris is not toblame, your vagina is not to blame, your cleavage is not to blame, your breasts my dear are notto blame, your thick full lips are not to blame, neither is your tongue, your hands are not toblame, and neither is your ass--not to blame, your belly is not to blame. Your womb is not toblame, your neck, your back is not to blame. Unheave, unpack, unburden, unload it. As of tonight, you and I can lean on each other to begin embracing the joy of being free; And for those who have already made it, reach back, reach back for us so we can all embrace the joy of
Patricia McFadden, Sexual Pleasure as Feminist Choice, Feminist Africa: Changing Cultures.
Patricia McFadden is a feminist activist and scholar who has lived and worked in various parts of Africa. She is currently undertaking research in theUS.