My daughter, at age 10, knew that her Yoni (Sanskrit for Vagina) means ‘Sacred Space.’ She grew up knowing that her Mom, and all women, cycle with the moon. She knows that she will start her Moon Flow sometime in the next few years, and even said to me the other day: “Mom, you can’t talk like this to a girl who is about to become a woman!”
One evening she talked about her budding body, referring to it as sacred, in the manner she heard it spoken of since she was very young. Then, after a pause, she asked: “Mom, do men have sacredness in their body?” “Of course,” I replied. “In the same way that girls and women have a sacred space called Yoni, men have a sacred organ called ‘Lingam,’ which in Sanskrit means ‘Wand of light.”
– “Wow” she exclaimed, “that’s nice!”
– “In English the word is Penis” I said, “have you heard it before?”
– “Yeah,” she replied, “but I didn’t know what it was…”
– “In English,” I continued, “the word for Yoni is Vagina”
– “Yes, I remember” she said
– “You may hear the words ‘Vagina’ and ‘Penis’ more often than Yoni or Lingam,” I went on, “they describe the same parts of the body in different languages.”
– “People are embarrassed when they say them” she commented.
– “I think it is because they forgot the sacredness,” I replied.
– “And it’s private, too” she added.
– “Yes, these parts of us are the most sacred, and we keep them private. When people forget that their body is sacred, then all that’s left is the privacy part, and it can become embarrassing.”
My daughter changed the subject at this point, yet the exchange stayed with me well into the next day.
I was pondering the recent campaigns fighting sexualization of girls’ and women’s bodies by the media, which I wholeheartedly support. Yet when I read them, and more poignantly when I see the continual barrage of commercial sexualized images they are fighting, I am left with a sense of profanity. These images are horrifying, and I don’t want to see them, in a continual loop, to remind me what I am fighting. I don’t, actually, want to fight! I want to create alternatives!
I would like to see a barrage of strong, empowering images of girls and women. I’d like to be immersed in solutions! Similarly, I don’t want to “Stomp out Hunger” I want to Feed All! I don’t want to read bumper stickers that say “War is Not the Answer!” I’d like to see Peace is the Only Answer!
Eradicating girls’ sexualization is essential and deeply needed, starting with the fact that my computer underlines the word ‘Sexualization’ as an error, and the spell check has no alternatives. This is a metaphor to societal denial of sexualization as an issue.
I invite us all to decorate our homes with images of womanhood we wish our girls to see! It is not enough to shield them form the degrading ones, to raise our voices in protest, and to work toward their elimination. We need to seek, gather, and create the images that we wish today’s girls to be inspired by!
Inviting you all to HELP CREATE THE ALTERNATIVES:
Please post empowering images for today’s girls,
here, or on my Facebook page – Red Tents In Every neighborhood:
Together, we can change the world!
© 2011 DeAnna L’am, All Rights Reserved