9 Ways to Reclaim Your Female Body From Religion

Apr 27, 2022

If you’re female and grew up in organized religion, you are all too familiar with the rules governing your body. Let’s start the list, in case anyone here isn’t familiar. In most organized religions, especially cults like the LDS church, women:

  1. Aren’t permitted to show certain parts of their body (or much skin in general)
  2. Aren’t permitted to have sexual relations before (or outside of) marriage
  3. Must submit to their husbands or male religious leaders
  4. Aren’t permitted (usually) to have abortions, or, in some cases, use contraception
  5. Are expected to bear children (ideally, more than one)
  6. Aren’t permitted to consume certain foods/beverages/plants

I could go on, but this should cover the restrictions in broad terms. Basically, religion tells women their body is not theirs to control. And somehow, we bought into this. Worse, some of us are still buying into this.

No more.

Ladies, you know what’s best for your body. And ONLY you know what’s best. To believe that women ought to follow these asinine rules simply because their church said so, is to believe that women are incapable of doing what’s best for themselves. This is simply not the case, and merely a wretched hangover from religions of the past, that no matter how many cups of coffee or tabs of Advil we take, we can’t seem to shake. Old books written by long dead men in an effort to control women till the end of time have no place anymore (not that they ever did).

And girl, you’re the biggest player in making sure these books lose their places on the shelves. But it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to require radically changing how you view yourself and your sisters. It’s going to require doubting your religion’s assessments of your mental capabilities. It’s going to demand that you see yourself as an equal to men, if only when considering your body.

Sounds easy; we know otherwise.

The key is remembering that showing your body affects nobody but you. You having sexual relations is your business. Your birth control determines if you get pregnant. If you consume something, it’s your body that’s affected. All of these choices may seem scary, but they are freedom. And I believe you are intelligent enough to make these choices for yourself.

In an effort to reclaim your body, I’ve made a little list of things I’ve tried. They may not all be perfect for you, but some may work. The important thing to remember is that taking control of your body, loving your body, even acknowledging your body as yours, takes time. When you’ve looked at yourself your whole life through the eyes of religion, it’s hard to take those judgmental glasses off.

I recommend taking it slow, permitting more and more control, as you get comfortable.

1. Show Some Skin

It doesn’t have to be a lot. Depending on how much your religion has covered you, it could be your face, your shoulder, your clavicle, your knees. Whatever perfectly normal body part that men are freely able to display, it’s your turn. Brandish those unsexy knees and shoulders, and see just how ridiculous this level of control is. Your body is not shameful. By uncovering it, you’re telling yourself this. And who knows, you may love how you feel in your skin and discover that you love showing it. All the better!

2. Eat Something Forbidden

Many forbidden foods are unhealthy- this is perfectly fine. I won’t tell you to slam a beer, unless you really want to. This desire is crucial. Is there something you’ve wanted to eat, but didn’t because of your old religion’s rules? Have you always wanted to try wine? Are you curious about the healing power of psychedelics? Then try them! If you don’t like something, you simply don’t have it again. But then you’ll know for certain that if you don’t partake in something, it will be because you didn’t want to, not because someone told you that you couldn’t. Big difference.

3. Get Sexual (With Yourself)

If you’re in a relationship, the suggestion remains. If you’re single, you may even consider getting sexual with someone else (in addition to yourself). The purpose of getting sexual with yourself is so you can learn what it is you like in bed. If you don’t know, how will your future/current partner(s) know? And honey – sex is about giving AND receiving. Only you know how you want to receive. By exploring yourself first, you will become more comfortable with your body, your sexual desires, your sexuality (gasp!), and the physical acts themselves. If you’re really feeling wild, try watching a sexy movie or purchasing a toy or lingerie. Get wild!

4. Buy Birth Control

This is a huge step in taking control of your destiny. Whether it’s buying condoms or the pill or going even further with an IUD or other semi-permanent form, it’s all good. This may be the most important number on this list. The word “control” is even in the name. Nothing is more empowering than deciding when (and if) you get pregnant. We know this because there is nothing worse than a woman being forced to endure a pregnancy she doesn’t want. I can’t think of a more imprisoned woman.

5. No Kids (yet)? Consider Your Life Without Children

If you’re already buying birth control, (and don’t already have children), take it a step further by permitting yourself to imagine a childfree life. This is a huge leap for many women stepping out of religion, I know- I was you. But when I allowed myself to truly consider this life, this freedom, I was terrified. Not because I didn’t want it, but because I did. I was stunned to learn how much I actually didn’t want to become a mother, and recognizing this out loud, was like coming up for air. Give yourself an air bubble by at least considering this life. You may surprise yourself and actually want it. Let yourself discover what you really want.

6. Choose Your Favorites

Let’s take your wants even deeper. This may sound silly, but hear me out. As women, especially women raised in religion, we have a tendency to people-please. It’s not “our nature,” but rather, this was bred into us. Women submit, serve, accommodate, sacrifice, please, satisfy, and do all we can for others. Often, we make even the smallest choices to appease others. Try this instead: choose YOUR favorites. I’m talking about your favorite perfume and shampoo scents, hairstyles, clothing, hobbies, and even food! By asking yourself what you want, you are validating your opinion and body. Putting yourself first is hard when religion wants us to be selfless angels 24/7. We aren’t. We’re humans, just like men. Put yourself first occasionally and choose something because it’s your favorite.

7. Take a Solo Trip

It could be to the coffee shop or it could be to Rome. Either way, get out by yourself and make all the decisions about where to go. Making these decisions is just another way of building trust in yourself and valuing your preferences. If you can, I highly suggest an actual solo trip. A girls trip is good too, but solo is the real challenge. When every decision is in your hands, you’ll suddenly realize that every decision (for you) should be in your hands. It’s revolutionary.

8. Go to A Strip Club

Yes, I can hear the scoffs now. But I might ask you to recognize that knee-jerk reaction as religion. It’s not that you truly believe this random woman should be shamed for showing her body to people, but your religion has told you that her body is shameful, or her body isn’t hers to show, or some other sexist reason why she should be covered up. These are indoctrinations coming up, not true beliefs. I find it hard to believe any woman would truly believe that her body was shameful, and therefore cast shame on another woman for showing hers. Personally, when I went, I was stunned by the powerful, autonomous women who really owned their bodies. I envied their confidence, admired their physical strength, and applauded their sex appeal. They knew who they were and had no shame. These ladies were hot! And it had nothing to do with their “assets.”

9. Change Up Your Look

Saved the easiest for last! So if you’re looking for a simple place to start, this is it. A change to your look could be your haircut or it could be your physical body. Have you always wanted to have muscles? Are you wishing to drop a few pounds? Are you eyeing that pixie cut your coworker has? Do you want to wear more dresses, or maybe more hoodies? Whatever it is, taking control of your look earns massive points in the autonomy bracket. Why? Because changing your look for you means you’re recognizing your body as yours, not something to satisfy other people. Don’t lose weight or gain muscle for them, do it so you feel better in your skin or so you can use those muscles doing something you love. Don’t do it for them. Do it for you.

Reclaiming ownership of our bodies is difficult when someone else has controlled the lease for so long. You’ll have moments of doubt, when your indoctrinated beliefs come to assault you for the simplest things. That’s okay. Recognize these thoughts as old beliefs that are no longer true for you, and press on. Day after day, as you see women owning their bodies in various ways, support them. They are you, and their bodies are just as fantastic and respectable and self-controlled as yours.

If you have other ideas to share with readers, or thoughts about how you’re either struggling or succeeding with this, leave a comment! We’re in this together!

Reclaim Yourself In Circle

Stop struggling! Your Inner child is calling out for some attention. Remember what you enjoyed doing as a child, foods you loved, and places you liked. Then give yourself that enjoyment. Take it to the next level by bringing her out in circle! 

About Me

About Me

I’m Shelby! A proud Ex-Mormon, psychonaut, animal lover, chai drinker, rain dancer, and sacred space facilitator. I hope to see you at the next circle! Contact me if you’d like individual space holding – I’m here for YOU!

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