Today men and women can only live thanks to their bodies. In fact most of the time we forget our bodies. To live in a social situation, we try to understand our feelings and develop our minds but we tend to overlook our bodies. If we ignore our bodies, its impossible for us to exist either within the natural world or as part of society. We can be part of such worlds but we cant fully exist within it. The difference between being part of such worlds and existing is defined by the kind of relationships we build. Being a part of something is a passive condition while existing within it is an active condition. To exist it is necessary to accept our bodies. For this reason, we have research methods by which we can come to terms with our bodies and put them into practice.
Why are we such strangers to our bodies? Why when we think we own our bodies dont we appreciate our bodies or allow others to appreciate them. Over the thousands of years that weve evolved, although our minds have developed and our physical capabilities have grown, why is it that we still cant fully appreciate our bodies? What is it that prevents us from fully perceiving our bodies and instead of living with them only use them.
Throughout evolution, to survive people have always tried to rule nature. To feed themselves they had to develop techniques and learn how to hunt. The invention of fire enabled them to cook the animals they hunted, protect themselves from the cold and ward off wild animals. Later they developed more techniques to dress and house themselves, ensure water supplies and work the land.
At one point, in order to live, mankind learnt to govern and be governed. As a result they invented a system of power; not just to rule over nature but to rule over society. To work the land and eventually create communities, at first there was a dependence on blood ties and families but this developed into the concept of tribes and tribal affiliations to govern the communities.
At the same time, from the birth of history, due to the limited capacity of the human brain, to explain the mysteries of nature, the concept of religion was developed. To retain and exercise power, apart from the use of force a religion based on fear was developed. The first religions were based on pagan beliefs, shamanism and nature. Gods of skies, the land and the earth were created. These Gods, during periods of uncertainty, were appealed to for help and were a source of fear. As humans began to take control over nature and its enormous power became more evident, as a result of the growth of human thought, idols began to be worshipped. Some societies worshipped nature, other worshipped idols and some worshipped both of them. Then as human thinking progressed further, the ludicrousness of idols became evident and they returned to the worship of nature and the heavens. Finally they began to worship an entity that governed the skies, the worlds surface and seven layers below the surface.
The intention is not to delve into the history of religion but to explore another issue. As humans exercised power, ruled nature and explained the unknown as they developed religions, they also used the religions theyd created to rule others and then to destroy nature. How paradoxical?
Throughout this time, the fear inspired by nature, the fear generated by the exercise of power and the fear of the unknown increased to the point that fear become the fundamental tool to rule people. Within this book, the growth of these fears plus the fears inspired by the growth of social groups are charted. It tells of how these fears affected the bodies of men and women and the consequences of this we are still experiencing. At one point in this history, humans became to be ruled by women. Still in Anatolia, traces of this era can be found. Most Anatolian civilizations were based on Goddesses such as the Goddess of Fertility and Goddess of Love and the principles they represented. Men rebelled against these matriarchal societies and overthrew them to establish patriarchal societies. These continuing societies grew to include male behaving women as leaders. These male dominated societies were ruled by fear and for this reason new fears were created to ensure the continuation of these societies. The only common feature of these societies was rule by fear. These cultures didnt just suppress women; using race and religion as excuses, men were also suppressed. This form of divisive discrimination was seen as proof of the richness of the societies but also it fostered hatred. This hatred for otherness was mostly based on religious beliefs. For this reason, if male dominated societies are to be overthrown, organizations based on race and religion must be proscribed.
To maintain the power of male dominated societies, men and women using different techniques need to be always shown direction. Women came to be categorized as mother types, marriageable types, entertaining types, working types, free types, moral types and housewives. Unfortunately most women both accept such categorization and use them to attack other women. Thus discrimination is born. The desires of both men and women came to be defined by the social system they lived in with most women accepting male dominance by adapting to the system rather than opposing it. At the same time, this conditioning upholds the capitalist system by encouraging consumption.
As long as we are unable to accept our bodies, we choose to ignore this fact. As part of life, we are expected to accept our place in society rather than to come to terms with our existence. The distancing of both men and women from their bodies has led to the compartmentalization of male and female characteristics. As a result of this, the idea of coming to terms with our identities remains just words and our weaknesses become to be regarded as positive virtues. Thus instead of reality, empty and false meanings remain so women incapable of being women and men incapable of being men create societies dominated by force, power and hatred.
Its easy to direct the consumption habits of men and women distanced from their bodies. A model is created for how women should dress, live and appear, what their likes and what their dislikes should be; this in turn is used to direct the consumption habits of men. Thus , unnatural, unfamiliar consumption habits are encouraged so men and women tend to be unhappy and try to escape by creating fantasy worlds.
The aim is to prevent women from freely expressing their sexuality because if women should question their sexuality, men would question theirs. Such questioning represents a threat because it would undermine the expectations of society. Who would want such a situation?
Condom producers have conducted questionnaires and the results have been presented as scientific fact. This research has been directed not at the quality of sexual encounters but at the frequency. No information has been imparted as to the reality of sexuality either by contraceptive producers or the media. Issues such as incest, rape and child abuse are kept secret. Particularly within Turkey, the roots of violence within the family are ignored and attributed to traditions. The hope is that these issues can be solved via reform of the legal and educational systems. Having been involved in such as issues for years, I am acutely aware of this situation and that some of the perpetrators are well educated. If one looks at the current state of the world, this dilemma is easy to recognize.
The roots of violence stem from suppressed sexuality and misinformation concerning sexual matters. This is not a problem that derives from education but a state of mind.
Why are subjects such as the prevention of women from living out their sexuality, the distorted perspective of male sexuality and the suppressed and perverted sexual perceptions not discussed? Boys, as well as girls, are exposed to sexual violence. Why does no one to discuss the situation where to avoid punishment, crimes are often attributed to young boys? Why do we insist upon secrecy under the pretext of the sanctity of the family? Why is the body, especially the body of women, regarded as dirty and sinful? While gene maps and codes are publicized, sexual information is kept from the public. Although much sexual research is featured by the media, questions relating to the sexual identity of men and women and scientific facts, because of male dominated societies and religious pressure, are ignored.
In answer to the question, Do you know your body?, its not surprising that some women quote figures relating to their proportions. Why does no one discuss the fact that both men and women, to appear beautiful and sexy, run to plastic surgeons? In order to look sexy, why do we only consider outside appearances? Without the sensitivity of the body, how can one be sexy? Why does no one ask such questions, or, if they do, no one listens?
As men and women dont know their bodies, they try to use them to have sex under false conditions. This can lead to tragic conclusions. To understand ones body requires examination and research. But even if scientific research is avoided or the conclusions of the research carried out are kept from the public, our knowledge of sexuality is incomplete and stuck between the information gleaned from pornography and religious teaching.
The book The Body Knows was written to oppose this situation. I think that being imprisoned within the framework of science, prevents development of both society and the relationship between men and women. When scientific information is not presented in an understandable manner to the public, science may progress but the public will remain ignorant. As a result, the public remains imprisoned by religious beliefs, ethnic values and abstract ideologies.
In different parts of the world, information and scientific facts collected are unquestionably important but equally important is the dissemination of such information. By using this book, those in the know gain a new perspective and their views may alter.
I wrote this book because I refuse to accept a world that has been ruled for thousands of years by men and has been turned into a living hell. As a woman, instead of the heaven I was promised, I want the heaven I was born in, raised in and promised by my body. And I know the only way to change the world is for women to change. Because without women there can be no men.