Afew days ago, I took a workout class called ‘BANG.’ No, really. It’s a new hip-hop and Zumba class by my favorite instructor. We use wrist weights and get our badass on.
Two songs in, trying to get every move 100% perfect, it is a sad and amusing effort to witness. Let’s just say I have other gifts. Suddenly it occurs to me: Fuck it! I don’t have to do it right at all! No one’s here to see me. They’re just doing their own thing. I can interpret the dances however I want. I can be silly! Or frou-frou! I can do a little kick at the end!
And I did. It was orgasmically freeing—I guess that’s why they call it ‘BANG’? As I danced, I noticed the woman next to me, her movements rigid and reserved. I had been wild dancing for about two minutes. Obviously, I pitied her.
Ladies all across the world
Listen up, we’re looking for recruits
If you’re with me, let me see your hands
Stand up and salute
Get your killer heels, sneakers, pumps
Or lace up your boots
Representing all the women
“I am free,” I thought to myself. “I am hawt. Look at me go! I am amazing. This is—oh, shit!—I think I have to pee. Oh, God. I think I just did a little bit.”
Resignedly, I shrank back. But I kept dancing. And as I wiggled my hips and shook my ass and laughed at myself, I realized why so many of us work so hard to be sexy. It’s our power. For some of us—especially women in extreme patriarchal societies—it’s the only power we have.
This may be the real dig of modesty culture. It’s a power play, designed to absolve men of guilt, and condemn women. When we refuse to surrender our power, frustrated males feel justified in forcefully taking it.
But women are coming together. To dance wildly, or rigidly. To step out and do brave, stupid things like walk to our cars at night, or start a company, or become scientists, or help under-served youths get an education. To stand up against anyone who would try to take our power or anyone else’s.
And if you’re a part of this movement, I salute you.