If you are like me then you grew up in a hyper sexualised patriarchal paradigm. My senses were bombarded from a young age with scantily clad women representing or promoting all kinds of consumer nonsense. Usually things we do not need.
The most common working class newspaper I saw in almost everybody’s home I knew had the spectacle of the ‘page 3’ girl (She was never referred to as woman – but as girl). As soon as you open the first page you see an attractive Naked Woman in a pose not exposing her crotch but with large breasts on display and a speech bubble from her mouth saying a mediocre observation of what she feels about the headline news story.
From as young as I can recall I was influenced by my Father who would stare at any attractive women going by and comment about how superficially beautiful they are. My first memories of him teaching me anything about Women came from taking me downtown late at night to watch half-naked women stumbling drunk out of nightclubs.
Not to say he was a bad guy or predator or anything like that. He would be the first to state that he highly respected Women and would protect them at any costs. He just did not think that any of his sexualising behaviours were disrespectful in any way, it is not his fault, he just did not think he was doing anything wrong and probably learned all of these behaviours from other men who lived that way as the norm.
It has taken me until I am almost thirty years old to grow to a level of awareness of the depravity of this type of sexualisation. As a teenager or a young adult I never found myself in a place of comfort or confidence around women. All of my stimulation of sexuality came from pornography or airbrushed images of ideal models, or from internalising and self-expressing a projection of my own unbalanced femininity.
I decided to work on my confidence and utilise my femininity to empathise with Women. It is a tough road, to undo years of addiction to pornography and longing for real connection, which lead me to little more than mindlessly staring at beautiful women in the street while feeling as though I was invisible.
Now though, safely rooted in my masculine body, I can understand that I am not, nor never was invisible and that my actions contributed towards prolonging the cycle of disconnection from true human sensual union.
About a year ago, when I was already on my own path of undoing my behaviours of objectification I was presented with a ‘Sexualisation Zine’ which really opened my mind and expanded my awareness of this phenomenon while giving me tools to help overcome it.
I used to, until very recently, put a lot of my comical energy into harmless innuendo and borderline verbal sexual harassment of female friends, lovers and colleagues. Believing it to be just a bit of fun, and usually having it received that way which is just a sign of how far society has come from intimate sincerity.
I assume many women just think it is normal to be sexualised, harassed and hit on by for their bodies by Men who have no care for the depth of their soul. I cannot even imagine how many times a young woman has been sexualised before she is even mature enough to understand why guys are staring, whistling and being manipulatively nice to them.
Not to make this sound like a feminist piece. I have certainly been sexualised, objectified, and lied to in order to get me into bed, I have been emotionally abused by Women for not meeting up to their ideals and laughed at for being shy. I see those things as a reaction to the turning tide of countless generations of patriarchal abuse, but I certainly do not mean to minimise them. Two wrongs do not make a right.
What should be the norm of a respectful civilised human actually turns out to be an intense spiritual discipline of becoming non-sexualising after all of this experience. Receiving zero external stimuli from media or pornography, to not stare at and imaginably undress or sexually fantasise about non-consenting or unknowing women, and not dropping relentless innuendo is the healthy result of large amounts of inner work, and has opened me up to having space to have allowed some incredible women closely into my life.
It still is a challenge though, to be a Man in a time when the lines of gender identification are going through stark upheaval. Like –
Trying to figure out when to act feminine and draw my own boundaries, or to embrace my masculinity and challenge others to expand their boundaries.
To attempt to define myself and reach out to create the conditions of my own true wants and needs.
To figure out what the line is between desiring and visually asking the fabric of the universe to assist me in manifesting / or encroaching on the free will of unknowing sovereign souls.
And when to be completely honest with my feelings of someone while fearing I could easily come across as just another creep trying to manipulate.
I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to figure out what I have while still being young enough to contemplate and act upon deeper levels of these eternal quandaries.