The documentary begins by following a group of young men on spring break in Palm Beach, Florida. These young men describe their goals for the week, which basically include getting laid, getting laid, and, you guessed it, getting laid. Their way of expressing this, along with their attitudes towards women, is gut–wrenching. It took a lot of willpower not to slam my screen shut.
Masculinity and femininity are the underlying themes of Liberated, and how they influence each other. Masculinity is power driven. To be masculine means to be physically, economically, socially and emotionally dominant; in other words, being at the top of the food chain and showing no signs of weakness or vulnerability. An element of masculinity is the relationship you have with women; in other words, how sexually active you are. And since we live in a patriarchal world, that sexual motive directly influences the concept of femininity. To be feminine is to be desirable, to make yourself visible in a sexually appealing way for the man, in order to be noticed. Should a man not display this type of masculinity, he is at risk of being criticized, ridiculed or even ostracized. If a woman does not fall into the narrow definition of what is feminine, she is at risk of being invisible to the male eye, and therefore of no worth.
If you can’t see the blatant issues within these incredibly rigid views of masculinity and femininity, let me shed some light:
1) They are not inclusive of non-binary gender identities
2) They aren’t inclusive of non penis-vagina sex
3) They do not give permission to the whole human experience
4) They are oppressive, and reinforce patriarchal idealism that rejects the feminine for anything other than the male’s use
5) They reinforce the fact that men have entitlement over women’s bodies, since women behave simply for the recognition and pleasure of men
6) They define the female as the lesser; subordinate to males
And those are just the fundamentals born from this script. It pisses me off. If you are reading this and aren’t gettin
g a little pissed too, you may be a victim of this societal messaging. Regardless, it’s time we all need to support a healthier, more inclusive, and broader range of what it means to be human. That is the epitome of a sexual revolution! If you are someone who needs to disrespect, harm or belittle another human in order to feel valued, the problem resides in you! The relationship you have with yourself and this world is based on detachment and ego, a deadly combination.
As I mentioned, this is not an easy documentary to swallow. It took about 45 minutes for the rush to subside long enough for me to write this. I write this out of anger, out of empathy, out of hope. I write this because, like the majority of us, trying to fit into one of these two categories is, frankly, exhausting, diminishing and unfulfilling. I struggle because I don’t know exactly how to change this. Culture has forever been engraining these ideas in the brains of its people, and as a millennial – being a part of the most open and liberated generation in history – I feel it is my duty to spread the word, which is:
In order to have a beautiful and fulfilling human experience, you must begin to question the beliefs that have been handed down to you. If they don’t serve you and the greater good simultaneously, something is misaligned, and it is up to you to redefine your own value system.
As a woman, I understand the grey areas that exist; the idea that if I show too much skin, I could be deemed a slut; the idea that speaking openly about my sexual needs and desires puts me at a higher risk for receiving unwanted attention, be it virtually, physically or emotionally; I understand as a woman that there have been lines drawn for me, and should I dare cross them, not everyone will accept me. I have been frightened by these grey areas and lines for a long time, because society tells me that the space between respecting my authentic self, and exploiting it through sexual expression is but millimeters apart.
So where is the safe zone? Is it just giving into societal messages and choosing between the identities of virgin or whore? Repressing everything I am and believe in, even if I know it could help shift the world? Or do I shit on those few millimeters, say “fuck the safe zone,” and rewrite my own script, knowing that human beings are much more than binary machines!
Well, to be honest, I’ve already begun the latter. But how does one do this when our culture is so desperately trying to keep these topics at bay, by removing sex education, not teaching children about their bodies, the diverse relationships they can have, or stigmatizing and marginalizing minority voices? How does one show up in a world bare and raw, when masculinity is taught to take advantage of that vulnerability and openness or reject it entirely?
I am no world leader; I have no degree in sociology or political science, but I am human, so I can say this:
Change begins internally, and is then projected outward. For me, my first step was accepting who I am and recognizing the fact that, regardless of what media or heteronormative conditioning told me, I am most at peace when I am open and loving and authentic. By making space for myself, inevitably it has expanded into creating space for other people and their authentic selves.
Since I began this blog, I have been presented with unsolicited images and offers, uncomfortable confrontations, judgement, and ill treatment. But, I’ve also been approached with gratitude, love and other people’s stories of self-acceptance. Compersion always outweighs the backlash. My truth being the key to setting someone free or giving the permission they’ve long sought after…that is a gift. This opening up and acceptance of humanity always snowballs, it’s just a matter of increasing the velocity. It’s a conversation, a series of questions, but also a set of boundaries.
I very quickly had to embrace and stand firm in the idea that my sexuality is my own, and my expression of it is not an invitation. The same goes for my body. If someone takes my words or images as an open door into intimate conversations (or more) with me, it is my responsibility to address their misconception of what freedom of sexual expression means. I also have to understand that not everyone will grasp this idea, and it is not my responsibility to rewrite their script – each individual is in charge of doing that for themselves. All I can offer is a safe place to assist in their journey, and the facts to reinforce the positive changes along the way.
As a sex writer, specifically an open submissive woman, I had to get very harsh with men who identify as dominants and, due to this self-appointed status, believe that every submissive is theirs for the taking.
D/s relationships, just like any other kind of relationship, requires consent, trust, and communication, and that’s just the bare minimum. D/s relationships are quite complex in nature, and if any person identifies as a dominant and is not understanding these very basic concepts, they need to educate themselves before ever engaging in a D/s scene, let alone approaching someone. For a person to submit to another is very profound. Every time I go to bed with my Dom I release my power to him. This puts me in a very vulnerable state. The ability to do this does not happen over night, and it requires much more than a private instagram message saying, “Hi Slave.”
Sexuality is sacred. Bodies are sacred. Identity is sacred, and neither culture, society or religion can redefine what is inherently you. I reject the labels “masculine” and “feminine” for all the reasons I listed at the beginning of this article, but also because they ignore the diversity of what these labels mean. We are all human beings, and we move through our human experience in cycles and waves, ranging from active, powerful, and confident to subtle, passive and vulnerable. One is no better or worse than the other, and one is no more “masculine” or “feminine” than the other. They are simply two characteristics from a broad spectrum of attributes that are expressed individually, and
independently from one person to the next. We wouldn’t know happiness without sadness, we wouldn’t know strength without weakness, confidence without insecurity, connection without loneliness, resilience without vulnerability, light without dark, and humanity without one another. We all cycle through the same emotions, but not necessarily the same experiences. So how can we expect each other to permanently move into one identity, and reject all the rest? Why is one valued over the other?
We are all more alike than not, and there is more we don’t know about this world than we do. Perhaps it’s time we all celebrate ourselves and each other for what we can bring to the table, give, teach; not what we can take, judge or deny. We are as free as each other, meaning none of us will reach salvation should others remain in shackles. The first to cut through are the stories society has been whispering to us our entire lives. The narratives that keep us hidden away; the “who you are is not good enough,” “who you are will never be like everyone else,” “who you are is against nature,” “who you are is shameful,” “being a man means degrading women,” “being a woman means submitting to all men.”
No, my friend, who you are is a beautiful creature with its own unique abilities and skills. Who you are is a gift to this planet and everyone on it. Who you are has value simply because you have this magical, unmatched force moving through you: life. Who you are is fluid, and ever changing, and enough. Who you are meant to be is simple: liberated. And I believe together we can create a true, harmonious and equal sexual revolution.
It simply starts with you, you’re the author of your own narrative, I’d just like to hear about it.
Fuck-well, my friends!