Beyoncé's recent Grammy performance has generated a lot of discussion about what's appropriate behavior for a woman, mother, and wife. Seeing Beyoncé twisting and turning, scantily clad on stage in front of millions of people, has hit a national nerve.
There was time when I would cringe at the sight of women being sensual and sexual publicly. Something in me was so deeply ashamed of sex, of female beauty and the power of feminine sensuality, that I would gasp when I saw a woman like Madonna giving up "too much" flesh or Josephine Baker flaunting an uncovered breast. But my feelings have changed, and my thinking has been renewed recently. I discovered that beneath my judgment of women who were comfortable with their sexual and sensual natures was my fear of what being sexual meant as a woman in a male patriarchal society. I condemned sexually free women because I didn't want to be seen as a slut. I realized that I was terribly of afraid of the power that comes with being sexually embodied. There is no denying that a woman who understands her sexuality is very alluring, radiant, and confident. She easily gets the attention of men and women alike because she is undeniably magnetic. Sex has great power, as it should.
In shedding my ideas about why sexually empowered women are somehow bad or dirty, I started feeling more comfortable with my own sexual nature. Not judging myself has been the first step truly appreciating and exploring female sexuality. It became easier to witness publicly sensual women, and to appreciate their beauty and unique expression.
When I first saw Beyoncé's "Drunk in Love" video, I literally invited my lover to come to the beach that evening to watch me dance around in the waves and sand. At 45 I wanted to surrender to my inner goddess, sway my hips and dance around wildly. I wanted to experience the freedom and lusciousness in my body that she expressed in the video (and again at the Grammys). I wanted to share with her the experience of having a man who supported me in being as sexually and sensual liberated as I desires. (I'm almost as impressed with Jay Z as I am with his wife!) It's so reassuring to witness a man who's willing to get out of the way, and who will allow his wife to be the woman, mother, and artist that she desires to be -- even if that means shaking her behind at millions of people so they may marvel at its perfection.
While there are voices shouting for Beyoncé to put her sensual, beautiful self away, there's also a rising choir of women who are applauding her boldness and saying "give us more," "show the way," and "we'll have some of what she's having." All over the country there are communities of women gathering to celebrate and worship the goddess within. We dance in the ocean, love our bodies, cherish our babies, nurture our sensual sexual selves and respect our men. I meet these women online and in sanctuaries dedicated to honoring and igniting feminine power, which includes a sexual woman. These women are shameless in their sexual desire. They celebrate Beyoncé, and see her not as a woman who's "fallen from grace," but as a divine inspiration.