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Womyn's Body as the Canvas

1. A womyn’s body in this society is, for better or for worse, the canvas. It is both the object and the altar upon all the things we hold sacred and profane are placed and projected.

2. Until we all get on the same page politically, we as Afro-descendant womyn will straddle the prude/slut complex and never truly come to the consensus that our sister Audre Lorde explicitly laid out for us on what the erotic really means. The erotic is feeling and sensation. It is the measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings.

Currently, the womyn of color’s body in our collective psyche (regardless of individual psyche) exists as pornographic. There is no right or wrong in this; you wanna wear booty shorts and pose nude for the camera, I will find you beautiful…from the lenses of a womyn who worships the goddess. As a white supremacist patriarchal society, I cannot in good faith say that beautiful is the first thing that comes to mind collectively. Sexual liberation in this society is a slippery slope. That’s all I’m saying. Patriarchy exploits and separates the sacred and the profane. Matriarchy embraces and unites the sacred and the profane.

3. On the other hand, herstorically (and historically) we look to our womyn as the standard of what we consider beautiful. womyn are commonly used to represent norms and values of a society; therefore the appearance of African-descendant womyn is essential to the appearance of the race as a whole. This is why the burden of beauty lies on the back of womyn. This is why the conversations around hair and straightening it are so emotionally charged. We both birth the world and, for better or for worse, are looked to as our standard. Furthermore, the way womyn of color are obsessed with what they look like and why everyone makes such a big deal is intrinsically tied to how important it was to rebuild the image of enslaved womyn given the sexual and physical abuse inflicted at the time. The issue is deeper than, “oh I just wanna have my hair straight and my nails done.” The whole thing is political. This rebuilding is in essence an attempt to bring our womyn onto the level of the perceived pedestal that white womyn are on. By what? By looking like white womyn?

4. Internalized oppression is killing us. We want to make a change in the world but we’re still cutting each other down? Still fighting to be “sexually liberated” but calling each other sluts? We have to come to some kind of consensus. Individualism is patriarchal. Matriarchy realizes that the “we” is much more important that the "I”. Everything we do has a greater impact on the world.

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