There’s a lot of energy in the “wild woman” meme these days. Social media is saturated with endless personal posts and blog posts, poems and essays, that describe in delicious detail the “fierce, tender, succulent, sexy, awe inspiring, terrifying, gorgeous, irresistible” energy of this “wild woman,” and the post is always accompanied by some completely fabricated, photoshopped pic of some nameless, mostly or completely naked, always thin and big breasted, always cover-girl beautiful woman in some dancing pose or some otherwise “wildly” expressive pose in a beautiful place, or otherwise in the passionate sexual embrace of some equally magazine-typical beefcake babe of a guy.
I’m going to dive into some of the elements of this conundrum that get under my skin and disgust me every fucking time I see this drivel. At this moment I am going to approach this as a woman in a world that completely sexualizes me at every turn, and I am not going to get into the obvious other side of the coin that the “passionate embrace” pic represents: those beefcake guys are few and far between, and perpetuate a beauty myth amongst men that is equally damaging. I’m going to leave that for another essay, but I see it, and I acknowledge it and the way that it has shaped my relationship with men.
So be prepared, this is a heated piece, but it’s also a plea. Don’t be afraid.
First and foremost, this entire approach to the “wild woman” is completely nested in idolizing her sexual value. Before you cry foul, ask yourself why are there never pictures of “fat” women, old women, “ugly” women? Because they are not sexually valued in our society, and are therefore marginalized in a snap. This approach to wild woman does not idolize and uplift this quality of the feminine for it’s own sake, honoring the possibility that it has nothing at all to do with sex or with men, it highlights it as a sexual energy: for women the unspoken meme is “wouldn’t you be lucky to be her, and be that hot?” and for men, it’s “wouldn’t you be lucky to be able to handle her, and have that hot sex?” This approach to wild woman goes on endlessly about how she’s going to rip you open from within in and demand that you arrive with your whole heart and authentic self (in bed), how she’s going to woo you into deep romance with the wild nature of life (which you can play out in bed), how to embrace her is to embrace the beating heart of life itself (in bed). Maybe in love, but definitely in bed.
That’s all lovely, and to enjoy all of those hot, deep, mysterious qualities in a truly loving communion of souls would be top-of-the-line AWESOME. I’m all for it.
What this approach to wild woman does not go on about endlessly is that women, myself at the top of the list, are sick-to-fucking-death of being idolized, marginalized, minimized, and aggrandized on the basis of our perceived sexual viability. We are hurt – HURT – by this constant grasping, pawing, and pulling on our sexuality. By every single thing we do or do not do as being some measure of our sexual viability in a world that constantly tells us we are only as valuable as we are young, thin, ample breasted, tight bottomed, and sexually available. We are hurt by seeing an endless array of beautifully rendered pics of stereotypically beautiful women posted with these clap-trap posts about “wild woman” saying, between the lines, that “if you are not this, you are not beautiful”, because no other expression of womanhood is ever portrayed in that spot reserved for “beautiful.” There are no photos of “fat” women. There are no photos of women with “ugly” faces and round, dimply, small breasted, big bottomed bodies, crooked teeth and screwy hair. There are no photos of old women. There are rarely if ever photos of women with their fucking clothes on, doing things that have nothing to do with this hyper-sexualized “wildness” but that are wild, make women (or anyone who engaged at that level) come alive, and make the world go round, nonetheless. Like wildcrafting herbs for medicine in the woods. Or sitting with their sisters in a grove of trees drinking tea and singing songs. Or standing by the oceans side, crying tears for the pain in the world, listening to the waves for guidance and solace, dancing by the fire, singing to the canyon… Or just being in the world in a daily way: working, mothering, tending the many faces of life in the ways that women do. Those things are not represented. Those women are not represented. Susan Sarrandon goes to the Screen Actors Guild Awards with her cleavage showing and the internet lights up with derisive comments about how she’s too old and saggy to show her goods that way, breastfeeding mothers can get tickets for feeding their fucking babies, while an endless parade of almost naked women sells everything from movies to cars to perfume, and people eat it up in sales, status quo, business-as-usual, baby. Fucking outrageous.
So are women that aren’t this skinny, naked, cover-girl faced woman that’s in all these “wild woman” posts less worthy of celebration? Are they less worthy of the title of “wild woman” because they don’t turn you on? Are they not beautiful? Are they not valuable?
What I want to see is a celebration of wild woman that leaves her clothes on. That doesn’t sexualize her. That doesn’t look at her dancing in the forest with the moon as a sexual invitation, but as an invitation to a deeper life wherein we are all participating in the stewardship of the world with care and a deep inter-relatedness with nature. If you see her dancing in the moon, go dance with the moon! Don’t try to get her wildness into you by getting your member into her: dive into your own wildness instead. I want to see a celebration of the person that wild woman is: not the sex object. This does not mean neuter your sense of awe or your attraction to her: it means to truly regard her as a part of the interconnectedness of all life and when you feel that sexual urge towards her, open yourself to see the PERSON that’s there, beyond just the sexual possibility that’s there, and open yourself to the AWE itself, so that you, as a whole being, can come more fully alive. Then meet from that place of aliveness, whole in yourself and honoring her as a person whole in herself who doesn’t need to answer your sexual hunger for her, and see what happens. That’s real life, right there.
For thousands of years, women have been told that our only value is our sex. For thousands of years. So as we are endeavoring into an earnest, wonderful exploration of what it would mean to live a balanced life that works for everybody and all the other creatures her in the world, let’s name the elephant in the world and take responsibility for the obvious: let’s not overlook that the constant sexualization of women makes in nigh on fucking impossible for us to stand tall as the equal participants of the life process that we actually are, and that impoverishes everybody, no holds barred.
Because that’s what we want: we want to participate without having to fight tooth and nail for respect and regard while fending off an endless array of sexual advances or sexual abandonments. We want to be respected, honored, revered, and integrated into the ongoing journey of creating the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. We want sex and passion and love, for sure, make no mistake! But we want to be met as people, not as sex objects.
We are people, and we want to be seen that way. And when we get old, or “round”, or “ugly”, we want to be honored, respected, revered, integrated, and included in the ongoing unfolding of life here on the planet because we are an entire half of the species, and no matter how we look, we are integral to the process of life on earth! That’s what we want to have known: no matter how we look, we are crucial to the unfolding of life on earth, just the same as no matter how a man looks, he is crucial to the unfolding of life on earth.
This moment on this planet is crucial, and it is fucking DIRE. People are completely anthropocentric at this point (meaning that we are completely obsessed with and only value people as a species, much to the detriment of all life on the planet), and unless the relations between men and women get sorted and set to rights, we, as a species, are completely fucked. We need to meet as people, because unless we come together in an integrated, respectful way, valuing all participants regardless of their genitals or their looks, things aren’t going to get better. They’re not.
So this is my request, as a wild woman in a world that constantly sexualizes me and all of my experience, or coaxes me into sexualizing myself, and then throws out the person attached to the yoni:
Be curious about me, the person. Be as interested in me, the person, as you are in me the yoni. Make an effort to get to know me as a person. Meet me as a person. Value me as a person, no matter how I look or whether I stimulate sexual attraction in you. When you see me in my power, just enjoy what it brings alive in you, don’t immediately reach for me sexually, or try to control it so you don’t have to feel what it brings alive in you. Let that inspire you to more fully embody your own wildness. Explore the ways that you constantly sexualize me and my experience. Notice the ways that you perpetuate the beauty myth by idolizing skinny, naked women as the beauty ideal. Pay more attention to images of “fat” women, old women, “ugly” women. Better yet, spend more time with those women. Value them for their wisdom, intelligence, aliveness, uniqueness. Value them as people, and value their beauty. Interrupt sexism, every single time, in yourself and amongst your brothers. PLEASE.
Reprogram yourself to have a bigger vision of what beauty is, and what wild woman is all about. Then get into that with your brothers. This is not only women’s work to unwind this mythology: men must take this up with men, and explore, in real ways, how they value women, and how they can value us as people beyond the possibility for sex that we do or do not represent to them.
Wild woman is not about sex. She’s about life. And so are you. Let’s meet at that level, shall we?