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Sexuality: Private and Public

 
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Historically, women have used protective clothing, hidden away out of public life, and in many countries, wrapped themselves up in clothing in an attempt to remain untouched by the seedy underbelly of those acts that less than respectable women participate in.

In many countries today, wearing a covering to shield their bodies and sometimes their faces from the lust of men is a social norm and in certain cases, a requirement for respectable women.

Often, intensely private sexuality for women goes hand in hand with disempowerment.

http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/326354I

In predominantly Muslim cultures, women are hidden away behind their burkas, invisible beings in ghost suits, floating unseen among the populace.

In the U.K, a growing debate about the appropriateness of this piece of clothing for women living and working there has sparked an interesting debate.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/5627346/Why-the-burka-is-part-of-Britain.html

The notion of the oppression of women and the hiding of women and their sexuality seems linked. Fundamental questions about autonomy, choice, equality, independence in movement, self-expression and thought abound in cultures where women’s sexuality, their very presence, is reduced to a billowing piece of cloth.

Here in the liberated U.S. women and girls are feeling their ability to go public with their sexuality as never before. In 2009, so much good, honest information about sexuality is available to women and girls; yet much of this open discussion is left for “others” and girls still struggle with their self-esteem, their knowledge about the functions of their own bodies at times less than adequate for safe sex and/or avoiding pregnancy.

The very public display of bodies, of writhing sexuality in our media and on computer screens has given the impression of liberation and freedom, yet many girls and women silently place their own feelings inside of a makeshift burka, an invisible burka, an internal cloaking that masks a sense of fear, isolation, ignorance and self-doubt.

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