One of the great prophets of our generation, Drake, has seemingly bestowed upon us fair females these words to live by. Ever the brilliant philosopher, Drake preaches (much like in the content of his music and images in his videos) placing education over sexuality and intellect over promiscuity.
He says: “Open books, not legs. Blow minds, not guys.”
And the world wept at its beauty. How clearly mistaken women have been for centuries! Pleasing their men in the bedroom when they should have spent that precious time in the library, becoming real women of respectable breeding. The marriageable types with PhDs and untainted bodies.
Because, yes, of course, a woman’s intelligence and her sexuality are mutually exclusive. Heaven forbid a woman be capable of opening books AND her legs, or blowing minds AND guys.
We’ve been perpetuating a myth that female sexuality is somehow a product of ignorance. That sexual promiscuity is somehow an indicator of lesser intelligence.
Women weren’t born with their own Bond archetype. We weren’t told we could be well-dressed bachelor(ette)s, cunning spies with a hoard of (wo)men to use and dispose of when we tired of them or they died uneventfully. We’ve never had a truly positive symbol of our sexuality. Because the Samanthas of the world are one-dimensional sex-obsessed messes. We’ve got no real progressive female icons that use sexuality proactively, that aren’t trapped by the controlling masculine definition of their own womanhood.
We’re bombarded by celebrities who project the conception of empowered female sexuality, when, in reality, they’ve opened themselves to being sexualized, not being sexual. We make role models out of domestic abuse victims who glamorize their own problems with hit singles. Modern, popularized sexuality isn’t for ourselves, it’s for others. We’ve accepted the position of an object over the position of the subject.
Men have never shaped their sexualities around women; why should we feel compelled to do so? Why should female sexuality be held to a male standard?
And I’ve heard the traditional dismissals before, the chorus of “so what?” from men who think the persistent double standard is either in place for a reason or not even there at all.
When have we told men “Use your brain, don’t get brain. Think outside of the box, don’t eat it”? When have we told men that having sex has anything to do with how smart they are or how much impact they can have on this world?
Women have long been the objects of their sexuality. Scantily-clad images to be adored or schwapped over; they’ve been the form-fitting leather images of Catwoman or the toxic, sexualized Poison Ivy. We’ve never been Batman. Women have been characterized in their sexuality: relegated to a supporting cast that has been degraded to ‘slut’ or incomplete, unfathomable configurations of male desires a la ‘manic pixie dream girls.’
What disallows me from blowing my term paper AND the next available gentleman out of the water? Why can’t I be a scientist with a sex life? Or a doctor who likes dick? A professor with a penchant for pussy?
And, of course, sexualization isn’t necessitation. A woman shouldn’t feel pressured to open her legs when she opens her books, or she shouldn’t have to feel like she has to open a book in order to open her legs.
The quote implies that a woman’s sexuality is to her detriment. That her apparent sluttiness would somehow interfere with her ability to think. That having sex is something to disapprove of, that female sexuality is something of which she should be ashamed.
The slut-shaming era is in full swing, where popular myths and tropes are continued so that women feel somehow inherently disappointed with themselves for expressing themselves sexually. The language of the act contributes to it: “losing” one’s virginity, “giving it up”; “taking it.”
And most importantly, it contributes to a culture of judgment. As if my intellect and sexuality are somehow up to the scrutiny of the male subject. That whether I choose to read or to fellate (forget both) is somehow of consequence to other people.
Women have been subjugated for long enough. In both our intellect and our sexuality, let’s empower a new breed of woman, one who is confident in her intellectual and sexual pursuits, who does things in order to please herself primarily, whether it be enriching her mind or her body. OR BOTH. Because a woman is more than the one attribute and she may use either at her own discretion.
So, no thank you, Drake, I'm not going to take your words to heart. Maybe I don't think you should be this generation's role model or go-to spokesperson on female sexuality.
Or, sorry Drake, maybe it’s just a meme on the Internet, misattributed to you. Maybe you’re not that much of a dick. But somehow the image that’s reblogged, reposted, retweeted by men and women alike with catchy opening lines, such as “Dear Whores,” savors something sour. What seems like well-intentioned advice that encourages women to achieve something beyond their sexuality is in fact just limiting them in a different way.
These thoughts aren’t helping women, they’re teaching them that they can’t be multi-faceted, that their sexuality is either a defining feature or should remain dormant. This isn’t to say that a girl should go out there and open her legs to everyone under the sun, but if she wants to, I won’t somehow confuse her sexual prerogative for her literary prowess or her ability to blow people’s minds.
Women, you’re not one-dimensional. Don’t limit yourself, you can be smart AND pretty; funny AND sexy. Your sexuality isn’t something that detracts from the other facets of your being. Be as smart and as sexual as you want to be. Be your own James Bonds, be more than a Samantha; understand that you should never be limited by your gender or an adherence to social norms that were put into place to discourage who you are and what you can and want to be.
Blow books, legs, minds and guys; spread anything you’d like (as long as it’s curable). This is your life. Live it the way you want.
¡Viva la pussy revolución!
Written by Kaitlyn Cawley