Reclaim the Sacred Feminine Via Venus

venus-on-half-shellBy Yo Mama

For too long feminine energy has been ignored, sidelined, or maligned: we have forgotten that this energy, like male energy, is sacred. It is not to be bought or sold, disrespected, abused, or tied up with a pretty bow and left on a shelf to slowly dissolve, like cotton candy or false dreams. It is not to be dressed up or dressed down for the purpose of enhancing male power. It is time for us—men as well as women—to reconnect to this energy, and heal.

While there are many manifestations of the sacred feminine, the one we need so that women may fully own their sexual power is Venus. That’s right, the goddess of beauty and love. 

Some may say we already own Venus—women are clearly the “summit of beauty and love,” as the song “Venus” declares. While I love the song, there are some lines in it that encapsulate the problem: “I’m your Venus/I’m your fire/At your desire.”

Your Venus; your fire; at your desire. Last time I checked, Mars’ sexuality and fertility didn’t belong to anyone else.

Venus co-opted.

Now it is sometimes impossible to distinguish the line between true female sexual power and its shadow, which relies on the male gaze to believe in itself. The sacred feminine needs the sacred masculine; it does not need to chew itself up and spit itself out while chasing the masculine gaze.

This shadow-self is always in the sacred feminine—all sacred power has a flip side, an ability to feed on others rather than draw from itself. In the original mythology surrounding Venus, she could be a jealous goddess who didn’t trust in her own beauty and maligned or harmed other women to maintain her power.

We’ve seen this version of Venus—she’s so famous she’s got her own reality TV show, an album on the pop charts, a movie deal and her pick of a thousand gods, including Adonis. If she’s too young to play with fire, she’s a Disneyfied princess surrounded in pink confection, awaiting her big break.

No, this is not the Venus we are missing: we are missing the Venus within. All we need to do is close our eyes and remember.

Remember the way your body felt when you were first becoming a woman. Remember the pain of menstruation—the cramps and the nausea and the shockwaves that extend into your thighs.

Remember the first time you had sex; remember the best sexual experience of your life.

If you are a victim of rape or sexual assault, remember that pain and release it—it does not belong to you, it belongs to abuse. The sacred part of you will not allow this abuse to define you.

Remember falling in love. Remember the first time you realized an attraction was mutual.

If you are a woman who loves other women, don’t let anyone tell you that Venus only loves Mars and Adonis. Tell them that Venus owns her sexuality, not the other way around.

If you are a mother, remember giving birth—remember the blood, flowing like a river for weeks. Remember holding your child and knowing you birthed more than you bargained for. Remember the way the milk feels when it comes in, the tight tingling sensation.

If you have chosen not to be a mother, don’t let anyone tell you (not even silently) that Venus has to be one. Tell them that Venus owns her fertility, not the other way around.

If you were pregnant but didn’t give birth, remember the children you didn’t have—either because your body said it wasn’t time or your mind said it wasn’t time, and you or creation made a decision. Honor that decision.

Now claim it.

All of it—every second of your female experience. If there is pain in this experience, release what does not belong to you; do not hold onto the bruises left by another person’s shadow.

This post is excerpted, edited for length and reposted by permission. Go to Yo Mama to read the entire post.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on December 20, 2013, in feminism, objectification, psychology, relationships, sex, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. “I’m your Venus/I’m your fire/At your desire”

    These lines make me think of some of the ways people try and get men to see women as people. Just yesterday, I read about a man who promoted the idea by saying “they’re all someone’s daughter.” It’s fine that he wants women to be respected and I understand where he’s coming from. However, that phrase implies a man should be kind toward women out of respect for those women’s fathers.

    In the same way, female sexuality should be embraced as something belonging to a woman. It deserves respect even when it’s not being used for the benefit of a man.

  2. Excellent post – nice reminder that feminism doesn’t mean relinquishing femininity (our innate differences from men) and that femininity doesn’t equal “weakness”!

  3. In my country there is this saying “fire, woman and sea” as the “elements” of nature than can not be tamed and can not be overpowered.

  4. You said true female sexual power and not it’s shadow which relies on the male gaze. But women do have this sexual power and I don’t know how it has to rely on the male gaze, because it seems like the male gaze is automatic. I can’t imagine men not being so strongly persuaded by women’s looks and bodies, other than if they live in places where women are routinely naked all the time and or women approaching guys like guys approach women.

  5. It makes sense when you say that she’s talking about it from a female perspective. And I don’t think it’s good to be simply sexual. I was just saying, from my male perspective that women or many women do have a sexual power over guys in the sense of the affect a woman’s body and beauty can have on a man. I mean wars have started and kings dethroned from influence of a beautiful woman. I hate to say this and I know it’s not really a mystery, but guy’s can do stupid things and sometimes not even think straight from the presence of a pretty, woman scantily clad woman and how easily it can be for such women to manipulate and use this to trick a guy into doing something foolish or help her wants. I’m not saying women do this, but some have and many can. I mean I know how mesmerized guys can be by a beautiful woman doing a strip tease. That isn’t the case for men trying to seduce women. You can commonly hear of men thinking with their “little head”, wherease, not so much of women thinking with their vaginas. Sure plenty of girls and women I know can get like nervous or butterflies, or blushy in the presence of a “hot guy” or seeing a hot guy shirtless, etc, but most aren’t dumbfounded or how guys are influenced by a beautiful woman.

    • Some women hurt men. And some men hurt women. And the extent to which women hurt men as you describe it here actually arises because of patriarchy objectifying women. Which then also harms women. So really it goes back and forth. This piece is one attempt to stop that cycle.

  6. I love this-re-reversing the reversal that has happened w/ Venus as object rather than source from within. Truly powerful- it’s not about getting rid of Venus- beauty, etc- it’s about reorienting how we relate to her–reintegrating this particular Goddess back in rather than having her be the “Venus” used to objectify and self-objectify women and sell products.

    Thanks for introducing me to Liz’s blog. I just subscribed.

  7. Yeah and I forgot to write, but the point was not just what women have, but in the same sense as explained. Men don’t have sexual power, as I explained. I’d say the power to get women all flocking to a particular guy is usually a man of power or high status. Good looking guys get noticed of course, but many times it’s usually power that makes a man really stick out to a woman or a combination of the two. Basically if the guys is a “somebody” or as Ron Burgundy would say, if the guy is” kind of a big deal around here”. A good looking guy that’s a “nobody” doesn’t cause women to usually get stupid or be dumbstrick, whereas a girl or woman even if the’s a “nobody” but hot, she usually can have men wrapped around her finger easily or many guys. So what women need more balance and sexualy power within like you explained, men don’t really have any as far as physically speaking goes.

    • You could be right. I’ll have to think about this more.

      But I will also say that an awful lot of women — likely most — don’t feel like they have this sort of power and all.

  8. I think a lot do, but it’s a power many don’t care for or not a big deal to them,as the power they want is within like the author wrote about. But in the same sense, a lot of guys would just like sexual power instead of no sexual power, even if it’s based upon other women and not from within.

  9. Look at this. I know it’s not something new, but talking about women and sex and how women are adverstised. I understand advertising for certain ads, because sex sells or women in some ads makes sense or for a purpose. But it’s kind of amusing gratuitous stuff is women or how women are basically used in like any ad, like accessories or to add power to the man or make him look good, etc. Look at this simple burger ad with Terrel Owens recently shown. It’s funny how an ad about a burger and him liking it, they just figure “hey let’s just add pretty chicks to spice this up” ha. It’s just bikinis but it’s still amusing thinking of it. here’s the clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWNdmY4_Bq4

  10. and look how the blonde in that video is posing and moving her body seductively towards Terrel Owens and looks like she wiped his face for him right at the end. But to be fair, while men aren’t portrayed like women in ads. So while Terrel Owens was in the ad to promote the burger, there was something there for female fans. As a straight guy, I don’t see dudes as sexy but I can tell when a guy has a good physique, and I have to give props to Owens as he is ripped and in great shape. He was shirtless and in great physical shape still even years after retiring in football, so I’m sure some women saw him shirtless there was nice eye candy too though, even if he wasn’t there to be sexy like the women there, but just the fact of his ripped physique show in it.

  11. I mean they did pick a guy like terrell Owens in the ad, whereas, they could have had another male celebrity who is chubby or doesn’t have that good of a physique or average and he’s either clothed or is shirtless but doesn’t have much of a body to show off. So in that sense they picked a guy with a body when they could’ve had a known male actor or athlete with such a well built physique, so in that sense, it wasn’t like an ad like gq where a man is in a suit and has women in bikinis around him.

    • That’s true.

      Part of the perception is based on the history of thinking of women as the sexy ones. And because he is famous he is seen as more than just a sexy body.

      And part is how the women are serving him. Like they are these sexy things that are just there to serve him.

      So imagine Jennifer Aniston being served by a couple of sexy guys who were there just to be sexy and serve her.

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