When I was younger, I was taught to sit with my legs closed because them being open was “not ladylike.”

During dress down days in high school when I had the chance to feel pretty in something that wasn’t a catholic school girl uniform, I was asked, “There aren’t any boys here. Who are you trying to impress?”

Can anyone else relate to hearing our female bodies should not stand out to cater to the male gaze? That what we do shouldn’t be for male attention when that wasn’t the intention in the first place?

Society socializes women to be ashamed of their bodies. We are to remain pure and pristine while men can set their gaze on us and take claim. While people shame women for being sexual beings, men each other for their “conquests.” While women dress to feel good about themselves, they are “seeking attention” and over-sexualized. Women of color especially appear “exotic” and are subject to fetishization.

Is it so hard to believe that the world doesn’t revolve around those who objectify our goddess forms?

As someone who has spent the last two years exploring her sexuality and sensual nature, I can attest to it’s difficulty. Self-love is not easy to attain when years are spent constantly hearing and seeing what the body should look like. Not only do men feel entitled to making disgusting comments, but women also bring each other down because they too were taught that you can’t be comfortable in your own skin. You have to hide to prevent receiving the wrong attention.

Friendly reminder: this is rape culture.

Luckily in my explorations I have come across many women who inspire and empower others to embrace their bodies. There is a sexuality and sensuality movement on the rise from women. They want the world to know that we are bold and beautiful and demand respect for our bodies. We demand love towards are bodies. This involves being naked, masturbation, healthy sex practices, and much more. Here are the people I have found that advocate bringing out the inner queen.

Afrosexology

Afrosexology is a community for discussing and discovering Black sexuality, encouraging empowerment, and seeking sexual liberation. They offer the opportunity to have a more sex positive Black community with open dialogue, exploration and education. They promote self-love and body positivity and also post and discuss articles regarding various facets of sexuality. Topics have included unpacked masturbation shame, continuation of sex ed conversations in the home, twerking, and more.

BodiPosiPanda

Megan Jayne Crabbe aka BodiPosiPanda sheds light on fat shaming while filling her Instagram with love and self-acceptance. Her posts aim to inspire others to embrace their curves and stretch marks and anything deemed as “flaws” to society. Crabbe finds beauty in all these things, and reminds others that their bodies are good enough. As an active participant in the body positive movement she pushes to help others step away from unrealistic standards of beauty.

Evyan.Whitley

Evyan is all about sex, love, and liberation. She is well-read in the history of women oppression and strives to help others feel liberated from shame. Her goal is to empower individuals to love their bodies in all forms, from clothed to stripped bare, curves and stretch marks. She also addresses the ways trauma can impact sexual well-being. This involves deconstructing sex-negative beliefs. Evyan reminds others that there’s nothing wrong with sex and loving your body, and that history has a huge role to play in why individuals think otherwise.

Fun fact: Evyan works with anyone who identifies with/as a woman or femme, including trans women and non-binary femmes.

Reinenoirebrand

Reine is a young female entrepreneur building her brand by way of seductive high heel shoes fitness classes.  Students learn the art of seduction and body language while incorporating cardio. Her other workshops include discussions of womb wellness and couples chair dance.  Reine’s goals are teach women about total body awareness. This includes increasing self-esteem by reminding women that we are queens and our bodies are our temple. Her ultimate goal is bridging the Philadelphia Female Entrepreneurship community to where we support one another.

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