Jonathan Neil Delavan finds himself wrestling with a source of feminine sexuality that speaks to him.
Being in touch with a feminine perspective on sexuality can be challenging for a man. It often demands that he come out from his preconceived notions of himself or his nature and to consider things differently.
Such a challenge can shut a man down defensively or cause him to lash out in hostile misogyny. Or it can shake a man out of his placid complacency, striking a neglected part of himself now being roused from its slumber, and embolden him to become ever more rooted in his authentic masculinity. It is easy for any man to react with anger or blame, but few men dare to take the latter, more frightening path to self-growth and deeper maturity in relation to himself and others.
Hence, a woman and the femininity she brings with her can become the spark that compels a man to develop his authentic self in a way he would have most likely been blinded to before. Katy Perry and her music is a modern example and source of this inter-gender paradigm on sexuality and self.
Continuing where I left off in my previous article, I can think of no better example than Katy’s “Peacock”. (By the way, have you heard “Peacock”? If you haven’t, go ahead and follow the link to get some context if you’d like.)
When I first heard the song, I nearly jumped out of my seat at the first line—no joke! Honestly, the song made me feel defensive and fearful, so I shied away from that album for a while. However, over the past several months, I eventually heeded the subtle inner-awakening that song had stirred within me and mustered the courage to revisit it.
On the surface, “Peacock” seems to be a tongue-in-check jab at conceited, cocky men (no pun intended), daring him to present his manhood for the singer’s and her “girls’” amusement. I get that this is controversial and could be perceived as disrespectful towards men, but there is so much more to this song if you’re willing to dig beneath the surface!
Taking a closer look, the song’s lyrics seem to be contradictory. The singer at first insults the man [“Don’t be a chicken boy, stop acting like a bee-otch. I’ma peace out if you don’t give me the payoff…”], but then spends the next line giving him a kind of gentle encouragement [“Whatcha waiting for, it’s time for you to show it off. Don’t be a shy kind of guy, I bet it’s beautiful…”]. Those lines made me struggle. It was difficult for me to wrap my head around those two lines, let alone my fears as well. Then when I included the final verse, I was left wondering what is she really saying/thinking/feeling about finally “seeing his pea-cock”.
First, there is the literal to consider. Let’s not kid ourselves here; the singer makes blatant and frequent innuendoes to a man’s penis throughout the song. Rather bold of Katy to be so upfront with masculine sexual imagery in this piece—even in our post-modern times. I have come to see her boldness as an honest expression of a women’s heterosexual desire—without trying to label it as “good” or “bad” but just “what is” in a playful, devilish-curiosity expression.
Katy’s passion around this can be empowering for women. On the other hand, it’s implications for a man can be uncomfortable for him to sit with. I myself couldn’t make heads or tails of how I felt about this sexual boldness towards men, towards me in a way, from the female singer. Taking a step back from my initial reactions, I began to realize this could be a positive message for men as well.
Fellas, try this mental exercise for a minute: Imagine a woman you are attracted to describing your masculine-member as “jaw-dropping, eye-popping, head-turning, body-shocking, heart throbbing, ground shaking, show stopping, amazing!” Or that your girlfriend/wife, upon seeing you in your birthday suit, exclaimed something similar to “Oh my god no exaggeration, boy all this time was worth the waiting. I just shed a tear, I am so unprepared. You’ve got the finest architecture, end of the rainbow looking treasure. Such a sight to see, and it’s all for me!”
How would you feel? For me, just picturing that in my head gives me electrifying goosebumps! Makes me feel seen and accepted and desired as a man!
But let’s not ignore the flagrant jabs found throughout “Peacock” either. They are just as real and as important as the uplifting messages of sexuality within the song. At first, I wasn’t sure if there could be room for both. Is it possible to be encouraging and offending at the same time? Interestingly enough, I have found a likely answer from a bit of Tibetan mythology. According to John Welwood,
In the Tibetan tradition a dakini is a playful/wrathful sky goddess, who embodies a wild, provocative energy that enter people’s lives and shakes them loose from complacency and superficiality. The dakini’s nature is to rouse, inspire, and challenge people to go deeper—to face their fears and take a leap, to give up false beliefs about themselves and discover their true nature.
Returning to Katy’s “Peacock”, the singer is clearly evoking a dakini’s energy by not shying away from using jabs and slights against the targeted man in an effort to get him to act—to finally show up for her in a way only he can. In other words, I’m moving towards what the literal in this picture represents: the deeper levels of masculine sexuality.
Sexuality is comprised of more than one’s genitals, or even sex for that matter. It encompasses a person’s presence, their distinct personality, how a person interacts with people and their environment verbally, cognitively, emotionally, and physically. A more down to earth description of one’s holistic sexuality is that of one’s vibe.
Sarah Jones from Introverted Alpha simply defines a person’s “vibe” as “how you feel to yourself and to others.” Her work on helping men to find their unique vibe has been useful for me to better understand masculine sexuality beyond sex itself. In terms of Katy’s “Peacock”, it helps me visualize what she wants to see in him yet is hidden from her.
I have learned that honest women don’t want to deal with some macho-façade or to be treated with superficial bravado by men. They would much rather experience a man who forgoes the man-box mask and shows up with his unique, authentic vibe—a vibe that comes off as authentic, manly, and even sexy simply because it is from his true self and not a projection of what he thinks other people expect of him as a man.
Perhaps that is what the woman in “Peacock” eagerly wants to see in the unnamed man. Perhaps that is what women in general keenly wish to see in the men around them: authentic manly vibes, authentic masculine sexuality, and authentic masculinity.
This article follows up on a piece I wrote about Katy Perry being a sexual role model for both men and women through her music. The acceptance, self-respect, and celebration of sexuality that shines through much of her music have been, and continue to be, a source of encouragement and healing for people today—including myself.
These are my own experiences wrestling with a source of feminine sexuality that speaks to me. It has been a long, confusing, and emotional journey for me, but the personal growth and awareness I have gained from this strange journey are well worth the endured private hardships.
Perhaps you have identified with my struggle, or perhaps my struggle has inspired you to seek out your own feminine source to wrestle with. Regardless, I hope my words here can be an encouragement for you to take a different, more authentic path in your own life.
Photo by Neil Rickards