My Beliefs in and Practices of Sexuality, Gender Bias, and Gender Empowerment
My conservative values have made me a complicit supporter of judgmental notions about sexuality. I want to embrace feminism and gender equality more nowadays, however, so I challenge traditional notions of femininity and the essentialist concept of sex and support gender equality that includes gay marriages.
I have unconsciously perpetuated essentialist social constructs, when I show a gap between my feminist values, on the one hand, and my beliefs and behaviors regarding women who dress in sexually provocative ways and who are sexually promiscuous, on the other hand. I am a feminist because I believe that society has historically wronged women by devaluing them because of their gender, and so women must demand for equal economic, political, and social rights (Buhle, 1998, p.14). As a feminist, I want to empower all women by encouraging them to fight for equal economic, political, and social opportunities. Despite this feminist stance, when I see women who practice sexual promiscuity and who dress too provocatively, I revert to my traditional notion that women should not act like sluts. The word “slut” itself, I realize, is a construct that demeans women through essentialist concerns about their sexuality. By saying that a woman is a “slut,” I am comparing her to the Christian view of a woman as someone who must be “pure” and “prim and proper.” I am reinforcing the essentialist notion that “nature” is “unchanging, asocial, and transhistorical”.