The bottom line: it is my bottom that has the honey pot!
—Jadah Vaughn, “The Bottom Line”
Throughout most of the recorded history of the Western world, there’s been an implicit assumption that men owned women and that men especially owned a woman’s sexuality.
In the beginning, fathers owned daughters; later in life, husbands owned wives who had been given away by their fathers. The wife was a chattel. It would be an overstatement to say she was a slave, but she was a possession. In effect, she sold her sexual services at the time of marriage for the rest of her life. If a husband was made a cuckold by some other man, he had a right to be aggrieved and sometimes even a right to sue for damages. The law gave him not only a right to his wife’s body at all times, and under all circumstances, but an exclusive right to it. The wife had control of the husband’s honor. If she was wayward, she brought disgrace to him as much as a wayward daughter would bring disgrace to her father. In some cultures today, “honor killings” are based on that assumption.
Even at the beginning of the twenty-first century, there remains a truism which still needs to be endlessly proclaimed. A woman owns her own body. She may decide to share it with a man, or she may not. She may promise to be sexually monogamous, or she may not. She may conceive a child if she wants, or she may not. Having conceived, she may carry that child to term, or she may not. A woman owns her own body.
If you own your own body, then the decisions about what to do with it are in fact up to you. You may give your body to someone in an act of love, but you do not deed it to him for time and eternity.
Self-ownership involves two related principles. The first is that you don’t have to give your body to anyone if you don’t want to; it’s a form of rape, even if the man is your husband, if you are taken against your will. The second principle is that you have the right to give your body to whomever you want.
The bottom line: it’s your bottom that has the honeypot.
- “Honor killings” – The murder of women for perceived violations of sexual or behavioural norms imposed by tradition. (eagleman6788.wordpress.com)
- Our bodies, our selves (thehindu.com)
- Do men own our sexuality? (alexkellyoc.wordpress.com)
- Rape in Marriage (toomuchtosayformyself.com)
- Why do rape laws still protect spouses? (salon.com)
- The Title Deeds of Marriage: the woman’s body as property (echoedhere.wordpress.com)