by Melanie Saiz Cordero

Ah, the proverbial feminist society…screams of EMPOWERMENT, EQUALITY, and the overall EVOLUTION of WO-MAN by way of sexual and reproductive freedom fill the air around them. While the words are cacophonous to the religious right, they sound like music to the words of the independent-thinking woman. The idea that men have kept us “down” with sexual oppression incites the cries of angry picketers and liberated females across this great nation. Visions of Gloria Steinem and the ERA dance in our heads as we envision a country where we can bust through the symbolic chastity belt and “Express Ourselves” Madonna-style! But…what does this really mean? Are we really empowering ourselves, or are we playing into the hands that have caused us this so-called oppression in the first place? Hmmm? What an interestingly unpopular stance to ponder.The sexual revolution began to really flourish after the introduction of a little thing we all know as “The Pill.” The pill was an amazingly innovative new form of contraception that provided women with a better living through chemistry approach to pregnancy prevention. One pill a day keeps the baby away, so to speak. Today the pill has evolved into many different types of hormone induced contraception. While oral contraception is not specifically targeted to the market of promiscuity, it has given members of the so-called “oppressive sex” a reason to lift their own worries about the issue. Instead of becoming empowered, women have taken on the burden of putting their own health at risk in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Isn’t that ironic? We fight for reproductive freedom citing “our bodies, our choice,” when all along, we have truly been allowing our “our bodies” to be put at risk by allowing ourselves to consume synthetic hormones while men sit back and breathe a sigh of relief. Where is the pill for men? The risk, for men, is probably not worth it.

The next step in our journey away from sexual oppression was the all too famous Roe vs. Wade ruling. Pro-choice activists everywhere rant and rave about the incredible feat achieved by this important court ruling. However…I would venture to bet a life-time supply of condoms on the notion that most people are misled about what the ruling actually states. Roe vs. Wade has nothing to do with the protection of “our bodies.” In fact, the ruling had more to do with the time a fetus could be considered a viable human being. In essence, abortion has served to de-humanize our most vulnerable members of the human race, while exploiting the women whose vulnerability has ultimately led them to make such a “choice.” The real mantra should be “our bodies, our BURDEN!”

After we have eliminated all means for becoming pregnant, is it time to proclaim autonomy in our quest for gender equality? Once the chains of society have been broken, are we truly on level ground with our male counterparts? I believe that we have fallen into the oxymoronic subculture of promiscuous feminism. Our own “if we can’t beat ’em, join ’em” philosophy has done little to change the way men look at women. What it has done, however, is solidify the image of women as sexual objects. We have created this monster on our own! Pornography sales are at an all time high. Should we, as women, jump on this bandwagon as well? Should I try to equalize myself on this level of sexuality by trying to feign sexual arousal upon the slightest hint of male nudity? Must I come to terms with the fact that there must be something wrong with me because my own personal arousal comes from attraction based on a connection with a person, rather than the exposure of random body parts? Is Samantha from the highly popularized television show, “Sex and the City,” merely a hyperbolized character created for entertainment value, or is she really the hidden alter-sex-ego that resides within the depths of each one of us? Like the little boy in the old fable, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” I vow to stand up and scream…”The Feminists are Naked!”

Why have we avoided the truth about who we are as women for so long? If we honestly believe that we are equal to men, then why have we acquiesced and conformed to the male perspective of allowing ourselves to use and become used as mere objects of sex? Why not force men to “evolve” to the emotional level of (GASP!) intimacy that we, as women, innately crave? I do believe, that regardless of religious preference or lack thereof, that women must learn to embrace their femininity by realizing the harm we cause to ourselves and to our gender by engaging in gratuitous sex that neither empowers nor validates us or our position in any way. I think, as true feminists, the question begs: Have we freed ourselves, or have we succumbed to all the deviant requests of the oppressor himself? Or, dare I ask…is the oppressor even a HE after all?

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