I read my last post about the sex strike in Nairobi and it was clear to me that it missed its mark. So it seems wholey appropriate to revisit the topic, because I suspect my point was lost in the malarkey.
So much of me wonders, in a group of obviously intelligent women –smart enough for a send-up of farcical Greek comedy –why a “sex strike” makes sense (in a country where polygamy is illegal but accepted, FYI), and how you explain using sexuality in that manner to tweens and little girls. That’s my first concern, because I’m a dad. Second is, I’m convinced that the men this strike is aimed at won’t care AT ALL, and the idea of it diminishes all of them. I think there has to be another way for these sisters to express their outrage that doesn’t insult and dehumanize everyone involved.
It kinda gets to a question I ask my single dad friends all the time: how do we raise our girls to know that the world will still love and respect them if they keep their clothes on? And it’s rough, because you got Kim Kardashian on one end and just as you’re dealing with that – here comes a “sex strike.” It’s different, but it’s the same: women using their bodies to forward an agenda. Why is sex a bargaining tool or a means of protest? I don’t think that sex should ever be a way to barter favor or motivate action, in any context. But once you OK that, what precedent are you setting here? And most importantly, how do I explain a “sex strike” to my daughter? Between admonitions to dress properly, lessons about Rosa Parks’ heroic contribution and Roxana Saberi’s hunger strike, exactly where will this fit in?
If the Kenyan women really wanted to make a coherent statement, I would have liked to have seen them act out “Lysistrata,” because that would make some sense. At its core, it’s a (pretty entertaining) farce about empowering women in the political system: they use thier sexuality to give them proper and equal voice. Of note is that “Lysistrata” (while based on some historic fact) was farce, a comedy, not meant to be taken seriously. That’s not by accident.
There’s alot of bickering and chestpounding going down in Kenya to be sure. But we can do better do than a “sex strike”… right?