EmpowerHer speaker Feminista Jones pushes the button on purpose, celebrating your body and sexual freedom
May 06, 2016 at 4:30 am
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By now, you’ve probably read about and/or heard about the phenomenon that is Feminista Jones. A sex positive feminist, Feminista Jones dishes up her daily dose of truth via Twitter and her website. She also teaches us how to love our bodies and enjoy sexual freedom in her spicy novel Push The Button. When she agreed to speak at our EmpowerHer conference, we knew she would bring that raw, gut-wrenching truth with a side of sexual revelation that we are all in need of. I had the pleasure of chatting with her about finding your truth, being “dickmatized,” why hoes don’t exist and loving your body. Here’s what she had to say:
On accepting and living in your truth
FJ: “You have to stop caring what other people say. It’s not that you don’t value the positive contributions or the positive opinions or that you shouldn’t be open to constructive criticism. Those things are a part of life and you should embrace those things. But most of us allow commentary from people who really don’t matter or affect any significant part of our life, and it affects us to the point of self-doubt. If it’s coming from family or friends, I recommend therapy (if you can afford it), counseling or spiritual guidance.
I have the benefit of knowing what it was like to form bonds before we had social media and when we did not have phones in our hands all the time. So now I’m looking at all of the absorption of this stuff all of the time. I’m clearly seeing it affecting people. It even affects me, and that’s why I have to take breaks, because I just can’t exist in a space where there are thousands of people saying things to you and coming at you and asking you questions. So my advice is that you really think about how much of yourself you put out there. And when you do it, be free and open and understand that you will get push-back, but you have to assess whether you’re willing to deal with what comes with living within your truth.”
On finding your purpose
“You can live in your own self and you can be honest and open about how much you can handle. And walking away is really important, especially if you have things going on in your life that you are trying to navigate. Walking away from all of that [social media] is entirely essential so that you don’t forget who you are and that you don’t lose sight of who you are. You have to remember that it’s ok to be you when these wild strangers think that they have a claim on you. Look at yourself and see what your passion is, what issues matter most to you, what impact you want to have on the world and what you’re passionate about. People my age knew what we wanted to be when we grew up. I know a lot of young women who don’t know the answer to that question. You have to have purpose. You can have multiple purposes. But you have to have a reason to get up in the morning. If you don’t, eventually you’re not gonna want to get up, and it’s going to become very difficult for you to actually step outside and live and be who you are. Pay more attention to finding your purpose and discovering your passion and less time seeking approval and trying to be liked or fitting into relationships.”
On being ‘dickmatized’
“Women are taught to default to the standard expectation that in relationships they are expected to carry the emotional burden and be the emotionally responsible one. They are expected to forgive him and give him another chance. They are basically taught that men are going to be crap and that they just have to learn how to adjust to that. They start to blame themselves for being in these toxic relationships because society blames them. If a man cheats, it’s the woman’s fault that he cheated. Why couldn’t she keep her man? Women look for other reasons because they kind of start to blame themselves for staying. So they blame dick. You can’t blame your choices or the way that you’re feeling or your natural responses or maybe your confusion on something so patriarchal. What’s your worth when you’re saying your entire way of thinking and every action and every decision that you made in this time is because of a dick. You have to believe that you are worth more than that. At the very least, if you’re holding up a dick and holding up you, you have to believe that you are more valuable than that.”
Why ‘hoes’ don’t exist
“We have been taught that the dick is one of the most powerful things in the world. The same way we have been taught that hoes exist. Hoes do not exist. You don’t want to lose the right to call someone a hoe as a way of comparing her to somebody else. So that’s why you say this bullsh*t, because you don’t want to think about the fact that they don’t exist and it’s a creation that came about to shame women. People don’t want to hear these things because they want to be able to stick to ways in which they can marginalize others. What do hoes do? How are their lives different from ours? This hoe title only applies to women. We need to demonize women who live on their own terms and have sex on their own terms.”
In Push The Button, the main character owns her sexual freedom and is not afraid to please herself or her partner.
Feminista tells us how to celebrate our bodies and embrace sexual freedom:
“We have whole lives to live, so why live in these constricted ways? Why not enjoy everything that the world has to offer us? Why exist in these boxes? Why let people label us? Why keep running up against these walls and deciding ‘well, ok, I guess I can’t go any further?’ No! Break the walls down and see what’s on the other side of the wall — or jump over the wall. Do whatever it takes. Become comfortable in being uncomfortable. Learn to love your body. After losing a substantial amount of weight, I would look in the mirror and for every critique I had about my body, I identified something beautiful, I identified something positive. This is the only body you will have. As black women, we are told from birth that we are ugly and we are the least desired women and nobody wants to see us, so we need to hide and be quiet. You have to counter that narrative and love your body and please yourself. Take care of yourself. Love every part of it. You have to wipe, shower and have contact with your yourself, so there should be no fear in touching yourself.”
After schooling me on my own body, relationships and making me drop ‘dickmatized’ from my vocabulary, she left me with these three jewels to share with fellow black girl magic sisters:
- No one is going to live your life but you. Don’t choose the path of unhappiness.
- It’s ok to explore your body sexually and go beyond traditional narratives.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help and cultivate a circle of women who will be there for you.
If you enjoyed this as much as I did, make sure you register for EmpowerHer and get more jewels from the Push the Button woman herself, Feminista Jones.
For those of us desperately waiting for another book in the ‘Push the Button’ series, she’s working on it and hopefully it will be out by the end of the summer. Whoop, whoop!