Ok, firstly, a disclosure. I’m going to open with some praise for a Girlfriend which, naturally, you the reader could be tempted to think is just because I’m quoted in it and the organisation I’m part of gets a guernsey. While it does feel somewhat novel to see one’s words in a magazine that I’m not known for raving about, the article in which they appear comes at a critical time in the current conversation and about girls, sexualisation and sexuality.
‘Let’s talk about sexy’ by London based blogger Rachel Hills, (‘Musing of an inappropriate woman’ ) explores the contradictory messages girls get about their bodies and sexuality, the way young women are taught to satisfy others while at the same time being alienated from their own bodies. I see this a lot in my work, girls feeling they have to be performers, sexual service stations for men and boys, while being completely cut off from their own desires, not expecting pleasure or intimacy in return. This is what I said in response to Hill’s questions:
Many of the girls I meet feel pressured to act in highly sexual ways. Many are engaging in sexual practices they don’t actually like or enjoy, but think they are meant to. Objecting to the sexualisation of girls is not the same as objecting to sexuality. The shame is not the sexuality of young women, but with a culture that teaches them that is their only value.
I’m really pleased Hills chose to include mention of Collective Shout for a world free of sexploitation, which some other activists and I launched a couple of years ago. The response from young women to this new grassroots movement is one of the things that keeps me going. Read more here .