My Vagina Resists Self-Objectification

This year marked the 20th anniversary of The Vagina Monologues, and local activists were invited to speak about what or why their vagina resists as a part of the performance. I was honored to be invited to participate, as the Vagina Monologues has been an important part of my personal grief process, liberation and celebration of my vagina and my feminine power.

The Vagina Monologues gave rise to the V-Day movement, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls (cisgender, transgender and gender non-conforming). The Vagina Monologues performances raise money for this organization, and V-Day activists work around the world to end harassment, rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sex slavery.

I very quickly knew the topic for what my vagina resisted, as I have often been perplexed by the way many of us passionately fight for women’s rights, and yet perpetuate violence on ourselves everyday with our thoughts about our bodies.

The theme of self-objectification, along with my fierce love for Wonder Woman, inspired the following thoughts. I look forward to hearing your reflections. And please share with your friends, colleagues, clients, and all the women and girls in your life who you long to be free.

From the radiance of my heart to the radiance of yours,

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Wonder Woman, the most popular superhero of all-time, was created as a symbol for the struggle for women’s rights throughout the 20th century. Her only weakness was that she would lose her strength if a man bound her in chains. As a guide for reclaiming beauty and power, I have observed a pattern in which we as women bind ourselves in chains. And this pattern, this self-objectification, my vagina resists.

Objectification comes in many forms and leaves a deep pain and consequence. We are treated as objects and so we learn to treat ourselves as objects. We become hypervigilant of our bodies, paralyzed by distorted thoughts rather than flowing with the embodied experience of being. We learned that in this object body we had power. Yet this power was confusing. Shame and flesh became intertwined.

If seeing a person as an object is the first step in justifying violence towards that person, then seeing ourselves as an object is the first step in justifying violence towards ourselves.

My vagina resists self-objectification, because I betray myself when I spend my precious time violently judging and breaking my body into parts – belly, thighs, butt, breasts. The violence of my thoughts, and sometimes even my actions, perpetuates the violation, and I am again in chains, but this time, from my own mind. Lost in criticism and shame, I forget the truth of who I am is my soul beauty. My power lies not in my physical body, but in the radiance of my heart when I show up in this world with kindness and love as my offering.   

My vagina resists self-objectification, and so I challenge this culture’s toxic message of valuing thinness and youth as chains that continue to bind me. I resist the oppression of weightism and sizeism and bring awareness to thin privilege. I am free from these chains with my lasso of truth – a practice of radical acceptance and self-compassion, embracing all parts of me.

My vagina resists self-objectification, because through this process, I have seen myself in competition with my sisters. I have judged their bodies to measure my own worth and value. I resist objectifying my sisters and choose to connect Soul to Soul.

My vagina resists self-objectification, because in defense, I also objectify you, and as a consequence am unable to see your beauty and the gifts our connection offers one another.

My vagina resists self-objectification.  And so I take the first step in healing….

To my sisters who I have judged, to my lovers who I have also objectified, to my body who bears the sorrow of this self-cruelty, to my Soul that longs to be free… I say to all of you, please forgive me.

I release these self-imposed chains, reclaiming my power, free to share with you the beauty and wonder of this woman.

Heidi AndersenComment