First, let me be clear, every woman has a brain. She has overt or subtle sexuality and her own unique way of expressing her sensuality. She can be celibate, a seductress AND a mom simultaneously (so please throw the Madonna/whore perception out with the bath water). And, despite the current assault of radical Christians and fundamentalist Muslims alike, we do not need to have our bodies regulated by legal framework, shaming (and stoning or beheading) or in the courts. A woman should be able to walk around topless, as men are often seen, should she so desire without fear of molestation. She should certainly never have to worry about being raped as many as 40 times a day (please sign the petition to right a still festering very old wrong) – simply because she is a woman!
I am spurred on by watching the most recent season of the American reality TV show The Bachelor where I was struck by the fact that two women (Renee and Cassandra who are single moms) were consistently referred to as “my special ones” by the bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis, other women, Andi and Sharleen, were clearly respected for their brains while others fell into the hot, hot, hot category and frankly seemed to be taken merely for their sexuality. I am not buying into the damage control storyline that Juan Pablo was linguistically challenged (to explain his repeated faux pas) in English but I do believe that he both loves women and can also be a horrible misogynist at times. Every woman comes across a guy exactly like Juan Pablo at least once in her dating career – eye candy but lacking in so many ways – but the contrast between him and (super respectful) Chris Siegfried and Sean Lowe of previous seasons was so astonishing that Disney-owned ABC’s producers must be more than a little embarrassed for getting their choice so wrong.
So I am writing about my gender, unified by our having vaginas, differentiated by how men have perceived and treated us over thousands of years, (the rise in female genital mutilation #FGM is a whole different post to be written), and the distinction between whores, courtesans and the rest of womankind that has sex (however frequently or infrequently).
For the sake of argument let’s assume that the hypothetical whore in this conversation has chosen her own path, that she was not abducted, sold via the global human trafficking networks, nor was she a child runaway with a pimp that keeps her on drugs and beats her on a regular basis – a woman such as Heidi Fleiss (or Pretty Woman prostitute as portrayed by Julia Roberts) I think ‘the idea’ that a woman, any woman, could sell her body by HER CHOICE (despite the very real dangers involved) is what has scared men senseless since Biblical times (perhaps earlier). A whore exists strictly to accommodate the demand for sex, in all its various permutations, another commodity in the world’s economic systems (umm, wrong) but she can be morally redeemed. The tie of our feminine wisdom, ability to bring forth life that we know is our own child (never any doubt of who the mother is) as well as healing capacity dating back tens of thousands of years combined with the fact that women have twice as many nerve endings in our genitalia as men has caused us no end of difficulties with males. That we still find men attempting legislate when and with whom a woman has sex only serves to underscore this fear of the ‘first original sin’ somehow (these) men would punish us for not loving them for all their inconsistencies and foibles or for our being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I am like a guy, sexually,” I’d told a therapist I’d seen a couple times the year before – […] “What’s a guy like?” he’d asked. “Detached,” I said. “Or many of them are, anyway. I’m like that too. Capable of being detached when it comes to sex.”
~ Cheryl Strayed, describing herself, page 131, Wild
A woman who can (seemingly) treat sex as casually as (some) men do I think is generally being driven to such behavior by one of two scenarios – to feel something, anything (to be validated if only briefly) or to numb some kind of pain perpetrated in childhood. In other words, she makes risky life choices rather than to become whole by doing the hard work necessary to overcome something quite horrible in her past. I have witnessed ‘the hunger’ for having a lover and the pursuit of sexual attention most of my adult life (I have ever been the girlfriend you take along to get you out, keep you company and make sure you get home if you don’t “get lucky”) and it is painful.
I have two very dear girlfriends both highly intelligent and attractive women in the 40s at the cusp of their individual professional successes who give off palpable hunter energy (the goddess Diana, without the virginal aspect). One of these two women expresses (if only figuratively speaking) that in a past lifetime she was Veronica Franco. (I am also writing a book about love that includes historical examples of these extraordinary women) – let’s be clear, a courtesan, and likewise the Geisha, was amply compensated for the delightful company which her brain offered, her ample hostessing skills, her ability to play a musical instrument or recite poetry and the salon which she maintained. She didn’t necessarily have sex (she decided who she wished to take as a lover, not her male guests, and sex was an option financially negotiated for exclusivity often with a lifetime annuity at termination).
In an way, these women, such as La Païva (Esther Pauline Thérèse Lachmann, Mme Villoing, Mme la Marquise de Païva, Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck), whose circumstances might have forced them to become demimondaine were also the ultimate feminists of their day – always the height of elegance in speech and manner, erudite, well read, multilingual, well dressed (including jewels), very, very wealthy, acutely aware of international politics and intrigues, and often times orchestrating world events Pamela Harriman might be the most well-known example of such a woman in recent history (her life boggles my imagination! Read the biography).
A woman can love men without taking them as her lovers or of thinking of particular ones if she masturbating (and her ability to be on intimate and satisfying terms with her own body surely makes some percentage of the male population uncomfortable). But, should she leverage her knowledge of a man for her pleasure it is hers alone. As a male friend once expressed the fantasy of making love can be as fabulous as our imaginations, and reality is often a very different thing.
So my point is that without any commercial aspect (and in this regard whores and courtesans fall into the same category) involving men and women alike we really must cease distinguishing women by categories. A woman, because she has been placed upon an illusionary marble plinth, in exercising her passions, for having normal sexual desires, should never experience a fall from grace – that is someone else’s problem, not hers.
If you enjoy my blog please share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschi. To order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you!