One of the biggest HIV/AIDS awareness efforts in the hip-hop community was launched because of the song “Let’s Talk About Sex,” which was hailed as having changed rock and roll music. Still, there was resistance, and as the lyrics foretold, several radio stations refused to play the music as it was considered “taboo.” Why? Because it had the concept of women talking about sex!
People continue to feel uncomfortable with the concept of women being upfront about their sexual wants and behaviour, and women frequently face criticism for claiming their own bodily and sexual autonomy. Team Manzuri is dubious if the widespread belief that women should behave as “ladies” in public and “freaks” in bed hurts us far more than benefits.
What does ‘Lady in the streets, freak in the sheets’ mean?
Many of us have been deterred from discussing some of the negative experiences we’ve had and from asking vital questions about sexual health due to the shaming of women into silence.
Without taking into account the fact that there is nothing wrong with being sexually open, we frequently refer to sexually active young females as “quick” and blame them for misguiding men. Then, girls and women who are classified as ladies or freaks are frequently given values for committed relationships or casual sex relationships in accordance.
Many of us have been deterred from discussing some of the negative experiences we’ve had and from asking vital questions about sexual health due to the shaming of women into silence. Without taking into account the fact that there is nothing wrong with being upfront about being sexually open, we frequently refer to sexually active young females as “easy” and blame them for causing others to lay eyes on them. Then, girls and women who are classified as ladies or freaks are frequently given values for committed relationships or casual sex relationships in accordance.
The representation of this sexual binary in pop culture
Women have frequently been portrayed in binary ways all through the history of Western popular culture in order to support gendered power systems and promote an overly simplified view of femininity. These representations are frequently associated with religion and attempt to classify women as “good” vs “bad” females or “sinners” against “saints,” with the designations being based on a woman’s sexual behaviour.
The wicked girl engages in sexual activity whereas the virtuous girl refrains from having sex and remains chaste. The “good” VS. “bad” sorts of women are frequently discussed in songs in the commercial music business, which actively promotes this dichotomy. For instance, Avril Lavigne’s song “Skater Boi” describes the fateful loneliness of a “bad” girl who rejects Lavigne’s love interest because she believes she is “better” than him. The song ends with Lavigne, the “nice” lady, gaining the man’s love and teaching the audience a moral lesson about the perils of friend-zoning men. Lavigne sings, “She had a pretty face but her head was up in space. She needed to come back down to earth.”
Pink’s song “Stupid Girls,” which describes “porno paparazzi” girls as a “disease” or “epidemic,” is another illustration of this. Here, it is implied that women who partake in stereotypically feminine activities—the film depicts highly makeup-ed ladies having pedicures and spray tans—should be mocked and dismissed as one-dimensional, fickle, and stupid. Both songs really perpetuate the virgin/whore duality by pitting “intellectual” females against “feminine” ones, with the implication being that the others are always openly sexual and, as a result, “evil.”
The issue with the lady/freak sexual binary
Our main problem with the madonna/whore dichotomy is that it treats women’s sexuality as though it were money, which uncomfortably echoes the days when women were traded during marriage contracts. It thinks that having and loving sex taints valuable women and that if women are too intelligent and brilliant while having sex, their value is somehow diminished. Why should a woman’s ability to experience love and a serious, long-term relationship be determined by who she has slept with or how much she loved it?
Although it is true that it is simple to blame religious laws requiring “virginity” and “purity”, we need to go a little further. The majority of us have at least one generation between us and the brainwashing against premarital sex that comes with religious indoctrination. We contend that both pride and power – or rather the absence of it – are key factors in the situation.
The virgin/whore dichotomy: what does this imply?
The Madonna-whore dichotomy embodies compartmentalization to the highest degree. It discusses how women are viewed as either a virginal, matriarchal Madonna figure or an immoral, sinful whore, with little in-between. The antiquated, sexist theory’s originator, Sigmund Freud, said it best when he said, “Where such men love they have no desire and where they desire they cannot love.”
Nowadays, the married man with a mistress doesn’t actually represent the Madonna-whore complex. A woman can now either be respected but not wanted or desired but not respected; it has evolved into more of a delicate duality. Unaware of it or not, a lot of women have encountered this either-or mentality.
If you’ve ever felt the need to misrepresent how many people you’ve slept with in the past or felt guilty about when you had your first sexual experience, simply remember that these are learned behaviours caused by a system that places an excessive value on a woman’s sexual status. As an example, consider beauty standards. A fantastic illustration of how society views sexually aggressive women, or the “whore,” who is sought but not respected, is Kim Kardashian. Her sensuous images receive a lot of slut-shaming remarks, but they also have an unmistakable fan base.
As women, we’re subjected to the narrow limitations that patriarchy places on our freedoms.
The unabashed sexuality of women is still shunned by both men and women due to the stigma that is so easily linked to it. However, maintaining the secrecy of their relationship has been the preferred strategy since both parties desire the joys of sex. Is it fair? Of course not, but it persists in virtually all areas of our communities. Is it secure? I contend that it grows riskier the more private we are about our sexual practice.
To wrap up…
We’re not advocating that women brandish the most private aspects of their sexual life like scarlet letters on their chests. No one is entitled to an explanation of our actions. Women shouldn’t be made to play roles in public that disguise their interests or be chastised for expressing their interests. Because males are seldom subjected to the same norms and judgments, it is difficult to judge women based on their sexual experiences.
Women who embrace their sexuality, are confident in what they want, and aren’t hesitant to talk about or act on it shouldn’t make men feel threatened. By giving us that freedom, we can fight to change the perception of who we are and combat some of the negative preconceptions that say we’re nothing more than “hoes.” If given the freedom to just be ourselves, we can be both ladies and freaks or none; the two ideas don’t have to be incompatible.