The other day, my newly 15 year-old daughter was waiting at the bus-stop to go meet some friends.
As she reported back to me later on, a car drove by and a man motioned out of the window as if to say "call me!"
And then shortly after that, two slightly older school boys came up to her and one said: "are you today's date? Because you're a 5 out of 10." (It was October 5th)
My daughter felt weird about both of these experiences and I can totally understand why.
As a tender teen, late developer and innocent soul, these were her first two experiences of unwanted male attention, based on an assumption by men that it was ok to:
a) invade her space without permission
b) objectify her and
c) pass comment on her value as a human being, based upon her physical appearance.
She has heard her girlfriends talk for some time about "creepy taxi drivers", "catcalls" and "groping", but it didn't seem real to her, because she'd never experienced it.
And I've done my utmost not to put any fear or expectation in her of what could happen, as she matures into puberty and ventures out alone ......
... even though a young girl was raped and murdered near her athletics club last year
... even though I, myself, have been sexually harassed, groped, cat-called, flashed at and almost raped on multiple occasions - starting from the age of 9.
.... even though in every women's circle I facilitate, every woman present has experienced unwanted male attention and typically at least one third have been sexually abused.
... even though, the President of the United States has publicly mocked and derided a woman who says she has been sexually assaulted.
I totally get that what happened to my daughter was small and at the very "minor" scale in terms of what could and does happen, but it is still an expression of;
THE PATRIARCHAL ASSUMPTION THAT PUBLIC SPACE BELONGS TO THE MASCULINE AND THE MALE GAZE
which defines women as objects without voice or agency, who are there for HIS use and pleasure.
This assumption is so engrained that many don't see it. Especially those most privileged.
The assumption that HE has the RIGHT to this claiming of space on his terms alone runs deep in men and women.
And this makes public space - STILL - less safe for women to be in - even in a supposed western democracy.
I STILL don't get on a train carriage if there's just one man in it.
I STILL pay close attention to who and what is around me, if I'm walking home alone at night.
I STILL tend to look down and contract my energy if I walk past any group of men.
In my Sexual Awakening for Women Facilitator's Training, we did a whole module on "Feeling Safe to Be Sexual" (including learning basic SELF-DEFENCE techniques).
And every woman's story of unwanted sexual attention or abuse came up.
Every woman's fear of being labelled a "whore" or blamed as "asking for it."
And guess what happens in this unsafe space, where the dominant storyline says "I'm here to look good for you"?
A woman's true beauty, radiance and divine sensuality goes underground.
And instead, she becomes a consumer of expensive perfumes, lotions and fashions manufactured to manufacture value and approval.
And/or a manipulator, who puts on the mask of "pleaser" or "teaser" and trades for what she can get, in a cheap exchange of sexual energy for X.
Approval by whom? The patriarchal gaze. And all the SHEs, who have bought into and support this matrix. (What Shakti Malan calls the "Women's Union").
She becomes a shell of who she could be. Frozen. Stuck. Stiff and contracted in her body.
Oh yes, she may look superficially "beautiful" and immaculate as a Barbie doll, but she will not be able to open to her fullest pleasure potential, because her Shakti is on shut-down.
She will not be standing in her power, because she's been bottle-fed to give it away and conditioned to believe this is the order of things.
I want to say to every woman of every age: your beauty, power, pleasure, divinity, wisdom and radiance are NOT anywhere outside of you.
Nor are they dependent on ANYONE or ANYTHING.
You are one with the most magnificent, almighty creative power in the Universe - SHAKTI.
You are inherently beautiful. It's only when you forget this, that you lose your shine. And all the make-up & push up bras in the world can't re-create the glow of the self-illumined Feminine.
If you start to connect with and tap into that inner energy, you will become magnetic, radiant, empowered and start living in tune with the soul-song of your soul - what you really came here for.
Stop prostituting yourself for affection, security and validation.
Stop trading your sexuality for what you feel you lack.
Stop playing to the crowd.
Stop being the man-wolf in woman-sheep's clothing, who bays for her own sister's blood!
Know your SELF. Please yourself. Not others.
See through this manipulation. Unravel & become!
I want to say to every man of every age: have the courage to be the one, who says NO to the complacent club of cosy manhood and, instead, be the true hero, who steps up and honours the Feminine within and without.
Understand that woman will never stand in her full power, nor her sexual or spiritual potential until she feels SAFE and RESPECTED in your PRESENCE.
Understand that SHE is not separate from you.
You too, can never stand in your full, true power, unless you create an environment in which she feels safe to BE and OPEN.
Until such time, you will rely on your will, your ego and all manner of distorted power expressions, that could, ultimately, destroy this world, in an attempt to control and own what you never can.
You have the power to change things now with your choices.
Ask yourself what space you are creating with your actions, words, thoughts and sexual energy.
Become aware of when your unwanted looks, words, gestures, jokes and touch represent the crossing of a personal boundary or perpetuate a dynamic of (sexual) objectification.
Meditate. Explore the unspoken, engrained assumptions you have lived by. Dare to question the privileged man's club and release all patterning not based in LOVE.
Honour your Feminine and all women, and dance with your shadows. In so doing you are honouring and elevating your Divine Masculine self.