Janelle Monáe wants people to “start respecting the vaginia.” And she’s offered a bold suggestion on how society can achieve that goal.
In an interview in Marie Claire’s “The Future Is Female” issue, the outspoken artist said women should consider conducting a sex strike to advance gender equality.
"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. We have to realize our power and our magic. Because I am all about black girl magic, even though I'm standing with all women. But this year? This year, I am so care free black girl.”
The concept of a sex strike, also known as Lysistratic non-action, dates all the way back to ancient Greece. Though some have attributed this form of protest to social and political change, it’s considered a fairly polarizing tactic. Some have criticized it for perpetuating stereotypes that women do not enjoy sex as much as men do. Some also believe this kind of strike enforces the idea that a woman’s body is her most effective power play.
Shortly after the article was published, Monáe cleared up her statements on Twitter, insisting she does not believe sex is a “bargaining tool.”
Monáe also addressed the importance of staying true to one’s self, even if that means defying gender stereotypes.
“It is important for women to be [in control], especially when gender norms and conformity are pushed upon us. Women automatically are told that this is how you should look. This is how you should get a man. This is how you should get a woman. You need to fit into all these boxes to be accepted. I don’t subscribe to that way of thinking. I don’t think we all have to take the same coordinates to reach the same destination. I believe in embracing what makes you unique even if it makes others uncomfortable. I have learned there is power in saying no. I have agency. I get to decide.”
You can read the full interview here.