Women and Physical Power—“The World Is Ours”

I went to a phenomenal Women and Physical Power Workshop this August, on the East Coast of the United States, led by Teresa Enrico 1 and her team. There were so many highlights, most of them related to the contradiction2 of many women getting to use their bodies in a personal and collective fight against sexism and male domination.

Roughly a third of the ninety-five women were women of color and younger women. Teresa met with us one day early, which allowed us to assume a centrality in the larger workshop and focus on ourselves as females without the distractions of racism and young and young adult oppressions.

On Saturday evening Teresa talked about sexual exploitation, laughing with us for a good ten minutes before going into details. We had spent the day playing football and basketball, doing coached wrestling and weightlifting, and having a “regular” session. All that, along with Teresa’s humor, allowed us to really be able to hear3 her talk.

She said there was a continuum of sexual exploitation, from sexual harassment to date rape to pornography, and that all of us had experienced some form of it—which could make it difficult for us to pay attention to our health and our relationships. She also said that we could not end sexism without addressing sexual exploitation and that we had to face what had happened to us as girls in order to look at how the collapsing society, via the sex industries, has made sexual exploitation pervasive. Two statements she made rang true for me: “Capitalism has advanced, but so have we,” and “The world is ours; it doesn’t belong to anyone else.”

As the workshop organizer, I asked for help from a number of women. It was a contradiction for me, a female who is Black, to get to lean on them.

Tokumbo Bodunde

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail
discussion list for leaders of women

1 Teresa Enrico is the International Liberation Reference Person for Pacific Islander and Pilipino/a-Heritage People.
2 Contradiction to distress
3 In this context, "hear" means take in, absorb.


Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00