No, Janelle Monáe Doesn’t Think All Women Should Go on a Sex Strike, But Here’s What She Wants

No, Janelle Monáe Doesn’t Think All Women Should Go on a Sex Strike, But Here’s What She Wants

"I do get frustrated when women's rights are trampled on and disregarded. And we must demand our agency."

by Britni Danielle, April 11, 2017

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No, Janelle Monáe Doesn’t Think All Women Should Go on a Sex Strike, But Here’s What She Wants

Janelle Monae attends the 2017 AAFCA Awards on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Singer and actress Janelle Monáe covers Marie Clare’s latest “Fresh Faces” issue, but it’s her comments about respecting and protecting women that really got people talking. While the Hidden Figures star looked absolutely stunning in the glossy, her suggestion that perhaps women should stop having sex until men get their ish together and start fighting for women’s right went viral and immediately caused a stir.

A post shared by Janelle Monáe (@janellemonae) on

Here’s what Monáe told Marie Clare:

“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 carefree Black girl.”

The empowering quote was immediately picked up by several publications and many–mistakenly–assumed Monáe was calling for all women to go on a sex strike. After Blavity tweeted a link to an article about “why Janelle Monáe thinks all women should stop having sex,” the Wondaland boss set the record straight on Twitter.

The idea of a sex strike isn’t new; it was the backdrop to Spike Lee’s film Chiraq, which was based on the ancient Greek play Lysistrata. In the play, women withheld sex from men to end the Peloponnesian War; in Chiraq, women banded together to end gang violence. Sex strikes have also been used in modern times. In 2003, women in Liberia called for a strike to end the civil war, and in 2012, women in Togo threatened a sex strike with the hopes to oust the country’s president. In Spain high-end sex workers went on strike to force bankers to loosen the credit markets and get the country’s stagnant economy moving again.

While focusing on Monáe’s suggestion that women should stop having sex until men respect them certainly makes for sensation headlines, it misses her point that women are still fighting for equality. And as the recent and tragic slaying of Karen Smith at the hands of her husband reminded us, despite all of the progress we’ve made, women need protecting too.

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