Controlling Women's Bodies Is a Fight to the Finish

James Rosenquist ‘Playmate as Fine Art’, 1966Freudian fantasies abound in New York’s exhibition “The Figure and Dr Freud”, on view at Haunch of Venison through Aug 22. Included in the exhibit is Golden Girl Bea Arthur, naked as you’ve never seen her. via Daily Beast.

A New World View

Male-dominated global cultures continue to wrestle with female sexuality. The most repressive forms of Islam are at war with womens’ bodies, throwing head-to-coverage on the female form.

Simutaneously, Western societies, led by the Internet, unveil women’s bodies as never before, rendering us all voyeurs.

Some women do what they are told, having no political or cultural voice in how they are packaged for consumption. Others express their discontent of cultural realities around women’s bodies, making clear that they are ‘good girls’, when others are ‘bad’.

A third group, led by celebrity sensations like Shakira and Carla Bruni, are using their fame to articulate a holistic essence of womanhood.

Shakira’s vision of woman as ‘she wolf’ outrages some people. But the Smart Sensuality women’s movement is growing culturally in its influence, and Shakira is a strong global voice in articulating the multi-dimensional aspects of this ‘new woman’.

Patricia Piccinini, ‘The Embrace’, 2005Religions, led by Conservative Islam — but joined by the fundamentalist wings of most large religions — condemn immodesty in women. Just when it seems that we face nothing more than a black hole, a new dialogue is emerging from darkness on two fronts.

The Internet dialogue that allows articulate people of diverse cultures to communicate about female sexuality and physicality is making for strange bedfellows. I wrote a life-changing journal essay a few weeks ago about burqas, prompting a rare exchange between Western and Muslim women who choose to veil themselves.

Shortly after that jolt of Internet traffic, I became the lead Western woman’s voice — in terms of expressed Internet support and number of postings — in the Lubna Ahmed Hussein case.

I find myself in online strategy sessions with Muslim men. Facebook transmits my blue-shirt photo with my answer to a question, and I immediately send a gasping apology: “I am so sorry. Please forgive me. “

They say “Don’t apologize, Anne; it’s a nice photo.” Then we plot our next move for Lubna.

Refocusing my own mind around Khartoum’s intention to flog Lubna Hussein for wearing trousers, I confront the reality of the subliminal, global passions that remain about female sexuality.

The very cultures cutting out the female clitoris are huge consumers of Internet porn. I have seen the statistics — no the IP addresses — with my own eyes. A male colleague showed me, and I was astonished. And women are dying because a glimpse of ankle has dishonored the family in these same countries.

Screaming that female sexuality must be contained, men also can’t get enough of it. This is a very dangerous, pathological reality for global women.

In America, Too, Hypocrisy Rules

Just this week I took a look at porn subscriptions in America.

As you might surmise, even in America, the states that yell the loudest about the need for women to ‘cover up’ and control their animalistic urges, sign up monthly in numbers that exceed New York, California and more liberal states — the ones with ‘no morals’.

This is the abyss of hypocrisy threatening women’s lives on a daily basis.

From my perspective, female sexuality is front and center, in the ‘battle for civilization’, even though the fight is clothed in religious identities.

One wonders if there is any light at the end of this tunnel.

As the women of Khartoum yell to the world that they’re not returning to the Dark Ages, and young female converts to Islam in America, Canada and France willingly take up the veil — often against the wishes or recommendations of their husbands and mothers — a strange voice came out of Khartoum the other night.

Roba Givia, a male Sudan Tribune journalist, reflecting on the whipping of women in Khartoum, wrote a superb piece Sudan is still living in an era of Arabs before Islam.

” … even in indigenous and primitive societies who are still walking nude today, do visualize women as human beings but not as sexual puppets. Their women are walking naked in front of them but yet as human beings, they do control their sexual desire and abide with family norms. Hence, then why not those who claim to be civilized society, educated and God fearing people! Are we being driven by our natural sexual innate, if yes, then we are just behaving like animals?”

These comments — framed within the larger problem of North and South Sudan, Islam against Christian in a power-sharing arrangement that isn’t working — hit the bulls eye of my own observations and long-held beliefs, around gender relations.

Laptop in bed, I read Givia’s piece three times, unable to believe the words on the screen before me. These words are coming out of Khartoum?

John Currin, Bea Arthur Nude, 1991This man seems to understand my argument, and the reality of our lives. The scourge of woman as temptress is not her fault, although she is blamed for everything. Her very being calls for her destruction and blotting her away, like spilled milk. 

Artist John Currin’s Bea Arthur Nude explores similar terrain. Large parts of the global population detest that which nourishes us and brings us to life.

In some of our Lubna Ahmed Hussein video footage, the women make a wild sounds, cries that force the most sophisticated students of female nature to listen. I don’t know the history of these calls; presumably they have existed for centuries.

Who knows what fantasies and urges men experience, when they hear these female calls. Perhaps anthropologists tell us that men, too, have their cries. Certainly, they existed among America’s indigenous Indian tribes as war cries.

Women make love, and men make war. Is life as simple as this lowest, common-denominator fact?

In my crazy, connect-the-dots mind, I’m reflecting on why the Grameen Bank makes its micro loans almost exclusively to women. Reality is that men drink up the money, gamble it away, most often using it for “no good”, rather than to take care of their wives (wife) and family.

Grameen Bank gives the money to women, who in spite of our animalistic natures, rarely murder our own children and husbands. Additionally, we pay the money back on time, build businesses, and qualify for a new, larger loans.

I speak the truth here, and I apologize if the facts affront.

‘Desert Cruiser’ by LomokevA Window of Hope

Behind this dark shade of women’s lives, there is a small window of hope for women. When a Sudanese journalist acknowledges the beauty and normalcy of women’s nakedness and sensuality, and I read his words in my Manhattan apartment, this is a new connection. 

This ‘brand positioning’ is the DNA of Anne of Carversville. I am also committed to the unleashing of the full power of Smart Sensuality women and the men who stand with us.

There are many men who quality as Smart Sensuality men.

In all honesty, enlightened men may actually help lead women out of this valley of tears — if an exit is at all possible. 

Science shows us the degree to which women must cover up their inner most sense of self, via our brain scans.

We women do plenty of our own restricting, binding, and covering — in search for purity and godly righteousness. Who can call us ‘bad girls’ if there is nothing to see?

If I’ve covered every element of myself, so that I can’t even put food in my mouth, I dare you to call me a whore. This is just another variation of Lubna’s defiance.

Caging Us Doesn’t Kill Us

So many people can’t get beyond the outrageousness of Shakira being in a cage in her new She Wolf video.

Is this not where the world puts us women? If men cannot control their urges, women must be caged and flogged into submission — except that global porn statistics tell us that even when women are covered, the urges continue.

The natural, fundamental desires of human sexuality will always exist for both sexes. Perhaps when robots rule the world, we can ‘breed out’ sexual desire, but for now, testosterone, dopamine, estrogen and adrenalin define us.

‘Modern’ religions have legislated sexuality for centuries, and women in particular. If women are stamped into complete and total submission, perhaps these gallant men, committed to preserving honor with the lash, can finally rest in peace — or turn on each other in even greater numbers, than they do now.

The Art of Enlightenment

Historically, art has played a key role, in advancing or destroying civilizations, depending on your perspective.

In placing this words here today, in Inner Vision, I am walking through my own Anne of Carversville website, hammering the stakes in the ground for our own tent — my people’s cabana.

At a time in my own life, when I want to be reading the great books of the Western World and reflecting on the great minds I will not know before I die, I must go back to pitching my tent in the dessert, hunkering down to do my part in digging us out of this mess.

We’re globalists, like-minded people, identifying the seventy per cent of shared values we can agree on, and not fighting over the rest.

After all the lofty arguments about equal pay and men doing equal amounts of housework, the real fight for women’s survival will be waged over the control of female sexuality — like it or not. It’s not men against women, either. There are many men in the Smart Sensuality camp. 

No matter what your religion, the facts of human nature drive our behavior. Sexuality is a glorious, positive, life-generating trait that binds us together as humans. Those who reject that view — regardless of their religion — threaten to destroy the planet. 

Shakira Understands

Cover of Shakira’s ‘She Wolf’ albumShakira Google-wide quotes on sexuality:

“Women have this primary, basic, animalistic urge. It goes beyond sex.”

“Freedom is more than a state of mind. It relates to many different parts of our lives, not only sexual pleasure. But sex is the origin of life, the ultimate human expression.”

“Ten years ago I was very traditional and very conservative. But people grow and change. I am in another moment in my life. I feel more like a woman today.”

Shakira’s words are my own.

She speaks for me and millions of women worldwide, who are not getting back in our cages without a fight. Many men don’t want us in cages either. They are worried sick for their daughters.

I have no delusions that this is a fight, perhaps to the finish, but you can count me in, come hell or high water. I have found my Inner Artist, my inner Anne vision. I will never again let the woman who is me, be chopped into little pieces, for the sake of cultural propriety. 

I’m dallying over the keyboard here. Write, erase. Write, erase. I will pause before writing the words in my mouth. Y-W-H-T-K-M-F.

A Smart Sensuality woman thinks carefully about what she writes in cyberspace. In our sick world, my thought might be taken as an invitation.