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The Sexuality of Shame as My Mother Taught Me

Who Taught You?

It feels shitty to think about even, much less write down and share with the whole Internet community. But alas here it is, my recognition of how my dear old mom managed to fuck me up more than society would have ever managed to.

I still remember when I was first starting to develop into a woman and she sat me down to tell me that it was time for me to start ‘covering-up’. As if I had something to hide. All my life up till that point I’d been blissfully content and somewhat dismissive of my body. It had always just been my vehicle of naive childish innocence and fun. I grew up running around our acreage nearly naked with my brother; never much realizing, or caring, that our bodies were different. Sure I knew that I am a girl and he a boy. I had a faint conception that I would be able to bring forth new life one day and he could not. But I never much realized how seriously society took such differences until my mother sat me down for that fateful conversation to tell me that I must wear a shirt from there on out, even around my own family members. In the span of that one conversation she shattered any sense of innocence, of justice and equality that I had possessed so far. She taught me that I needed to be wary of the opposite sex, that they couldn’t control themselves and that it was my job as a woman to repress myself of any sort of temptation I might emanate. She conditioned me to believe that it was my fault for having such attributes that man desired. That it was my duty as a woman to make a mans life easier. That one conversation was just the beginning of my years of instruction in repressing my femininity, of repressing myself essentially.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I know she didn’t do this to me on purpose. She was brought up in the very same fashion. She was simply continuing the cycle, as she knew it, the only way she knew it. I don’t even think she has any idea what it is to really and truly celebrate ones sexuality. If I weren’t so goddamn angry and frustrated I’d probably pity her. To live ones whole life in shamed silence; to incessantly feel the need to cover up and hide; to repress and deny anything real, anything with depth. Of course she never actually came out and said any of these things to me, that would go against the whole ‘seen and not heard’ little dogma she’s been unconsciously propagating to me all these years.

It took me a long time to figure out that it didn’t have to be this way for me, that I didn’t have to live my life in such a way that made others feel more ‘comfortable’. Because as much as she, and the rest of this bullshit patriarchal society has led me to believe, it is not my job to make life easier for everyone around me. It’s not my duty to fit into some neat little box; to dress a certain way; to talk a certain way; even think a certain way. It’s all a load of bullshit. I know it and you all know it too (or at least I hope you do).

My mother is the face of my sexual oppression, and I don’t know if I’ll ever truly be able to forgive her that, much less make her see what she’s perpetrated. All I know is that I certainly won’t ravage my daughter (or any woman for that matter) the way she’s ravaged me. The cycle stops here, with us. Let’s put an end to women putting their fellow sisters in their ‘place.’ Let’s put an end to designating certain ‘places’ to certain genders. Let’s put an end to the conditioning of women to view themselves as the second sex.

The oppression of daughter by mother, sister by sister, ends now, with us. And only then maybe will the men of our lives start to regard our claim to freedom and equality with all the seriousness and enthusiasm it deserves. That we deserve. I won’t be quiet anymore mom… And as much as I do love you I won’t stand for it anymore; even if my sexual rebellion ends up manifesting a break between us that can’t ever be bridged. My pursuit for freedom trumps my desire to please my mother. It trumps everything really…

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The Sexuality of Shame as My Mother Taught Me
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