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Adebusola Abujade / Her Campus Media

Stripping Away the Stigma: Female Sexuality and Professionalism

I sat down to write an article today, thinking I would discuss my favorite cheap sex toys. After thinking about it for a minute, I decided against it. It’s one thing to talk about sexual theory, it’s another thing to talk about my personal experiences. “What if a future employer saw that?” I thought to myself. This should not be how women perceive their actions online, or offline. Whether or not I write about sex toys should have no impact on my ability to work in a professional setting. Yet, I still did not write it.

Female Sexuality in the Public Eye

Gen-Z has been told ever since we got our first smartphones to be careful with what we post—it could be seen by colleges, employers, and colleagues. This typically referred to pictures of drugs, alcohol, any sort of illegal activity. However, women face a different reality. We all received the same lecture on Internet safety, but women have an extra layer of guidelines to follow. We have to be careful about how we post our bodies, our partners, anything that hints at our sexuality. Because at some point, some day, an employer will see that one of us went to the beach when she was sixteen and wore a bikini and that will supposedly prevent her from earning that job.

This also becomes an issue when many people in our generation send nudes, or otherwise sexually suggestive photos to one another through text message, and through social media. In an episode of Euphoria, Cassie’s character is known for having a folder of nude photos and videos of herself on the Internet but rationalizes it with the idea that, “By the time she was out of college and looking for a job, 99% of the population would have leaked nudes anyway”. Yet women are still shamed out of work for having nude photos. Katie Hill was a successful, freshman Congresswoman until she was forced to resign from her seat not because of allegations of inappropriate sexual relationships, but because of threats that after releasing nude photos of her, her ex-husband had circulated a drive with over 700 more. 

Breaking the Stigma

However, some women are breaking this stigma and myth that female sexuality has no place in professionalism. Alexandra Hunt is running for Congress to represent Philadelphia’s third district. She is also a former sex worker. Hunt is one of many examples of how professionalism does not have to mean the absence of female sexuality. Throughout her primary campaign, Hunt has demonstrated that she has strong, progressive hopes for PA-03, while capitalizing on her personal experiences by selling merchandise with fun slogans like “I may have danced for money, but I’m no corporate whore” and “Elect Hoes”. 

Women need to be allowed to exist, to have fun, to have sex, to feel confident in their bodies and to have agency over how and if their bodies are depicted. Having that agency that does not make any woman unprofessional, it makes her free. All this being said, Target sells the best cheap sex toys- I highly recommend the Clio Dual Vibrating Massager.

Hannah is a senior at American University. She's studying political science with a focus on race and gender in politics. She loves writing and baking, and can typically be found with a large iced coffee and a pair of knitting needles.
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