Marking today as a celebration of sexual freedom as a fundamental human right.
by Denise Ngo
Lest you thought it was an ordinary daythink twice! Today, Thursday,
September 23, has been declared Sexual Freedom Day. The Woodhull
Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C
, is a leader in the push for sexual freedom as a fundamental human right.
A day-long event sponsored by the foundation will release its first
annual State of Sexual Freedom in the U.S. report, which discusses
steps the country can take to establish sexual rights for all
citizens, regardless of gender or orientation. The report also
explores the relationship between goverment policies and reproductive
rights, sexual expression, child rearing, and marriage, among other things.
Those of us living outside of D.C. have decided to celebrate the day
by commemorating the foundation's namesake, Victoria Claflin
Woodhull, an American suffragist who fought for women's rights in the
mid-1800s while working as one of the first female Wall Street brokers.
While dealing with men who deemed her an immoral, "un-chaperoned
woman," Woodhull was instrumental in the rise of many sexual freedoms
the people living today can enjoy. In 1870, she and her sister,
Tennessee, founded Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly, which gave them a
platform for communicating their "scandalous" ideas. These include:
Free love: You heard us correctly. A hundred years before hippies got
it on at Woodstock, Woodhull announced that women had the right to
reject marriage, and that both women and men have the right to sexual
pleasure. "When woman rises... into the ownership and control of her
sexual organs," Woodhull said, "And man is obliged to respect this
freedom, then will this instinct become pure and holy."
The right of women to divorce: After realizing she was stuck in an
emotionally abusive relationship with an alcoholic, Woodhull wanted
out. Feeling frustrated by the difficulty of getting a divorce,
Woodhull entered an extramarital affair that lasted for three years.
While we wouldn't recommend cheating, we thank our lucky stars for
the relative ease of ending marriages, and being happy, without
turning to infidelity.
Banishing the double standard: Woodhull's husband was a notorious
womanizer. Why, she wondered, did people shrug off his affairs while
When not publishing widely-lambasted articles advocating short
skirts, sex education, vegetarianism and licensed prostitution,
Woodhull was working on her campaign for President of the United
States. We can only imagine the type of policies she would have
implemented had the people in power allowed her to run!