Janelle Monáe Thinks We Should Go On a Sex Strike. You In?

via Marie Claire

via Marie Claire

Marie Claire’s most recent cover story features five empowered young women making big moves in their respective industries: Emily Ratajkowski, Aja Naomi King, Zoey Deutch, Janelle Monáe and Alexandra Daddario appear as their fresh-faced selves, saying all sorts of smart and inspirational stuff. But the multi-talented Monáe had a stand out moment as far as memorable quotes go: She’s calling for a sex strike in the name of gender equality. To wit:

"People have to start respecting the vagina. Until every man is fighting for our rights, we should consider stopping having sex. I love men. But evil men? I will not tolerate that. You don't deserve to be in my presence. If you're going to own this world and this is how you're going to rule this world, I am not going to contribute anymore until you change it.”

Known for her acclaimed career as a musician and more recently, as an actress in prominent films like Moonlight and Hidden Figures, Monáe has been an outspoken advocate for women’s issues and particularly as a champion of black women’s achievements. But as tempting as it is to play up the potentially boundless power of women, a proposition like that comes with some head scratchers. Perhaps most prominently, it plays into that tale-as-old-as-time notion of women being inherently more virtuous beings, tasked with “teaching” men how to behave, which implicitly gives men permission to misbehave so long as there’s a women around to straighten them out eventually. It likewise positions women’s bodies as a reward for good behavior.

Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely support the call to action insofar as every man should very much be making an effort to understand the causes of gender inequity and what he can do to be a better ally to women. But why should women have to abstain for something enjoyable just because dudes can’t get their shit together? Seems like we’d be getting the short end of the stick (or rather, no stick at all) on this one. Catch the rest interview here.

-Deena Drewis

Deena DrewisComment