Actress and sci-fi pop goddess Janelle Monáe has a suggestion for achieving women’s equality: stop having sex with men.
In an interview for Marie Claire’s May 2017 issue, Monáe said:
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.
Her plan is not perfect. It forgets trans women and gay men. But the underlying principle — don’t tolerate evil men — is extremely sound. It’s pretty similar to Dan Savage’s DTMFA adage: “Dump the motherfucker already.”
Monáe is not the first person to talk about a women’s sex strike. Back in 411 B.C., Athenian playwright Aristophanes wrote a famous comedy, Lysistrata, in which the women of Greece banded together to withhold sex from the men in order to bring the Peloponnesian War to a peaceful end. (Though part of the comedy relied upon the idea that women were capable of self-control — a laughable idea to an ancient Athenian.)
In Pereira, Columbia in 2006, the girlfriends of gang members held a “strike of crossed legs” to convince their men to give up violence. A few years later, the Guardian reports, murder rates in the city declined by 26.5%.
Women have also gone on more generalized “women’s work” strikes, refusing to perform any of the unpaid, unappreciated tasks they traditionally do for others. On October 24, 1975, the women of Iceland struck a blow for equality by going on a nationwide strike, refusing to go to work, cook, clean or take care of the children.
At any rate, Millennials are having less sex than previous generations did, so the strike might be well underway already.
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