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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Feminists to blame for one more thing

Today's advice column from Cary Tennis at Salon features a letter from a woman whose boyfriend has given up on loving, tender sex altogether in favor or role-playing games and responds to her complaints by insulting her and basically threatening to cheat on her. A sad state of affairs to be sure, but who's to blame? My initial thought would be him, for being a bully, but of course that's just the man-hating, hairy-legged feminist part of me that wants to go around blaming men when they do mean things. This woman has her shit together and knows who should be held responsible for her boyfriend's nasty behavior.

Feminists these days are claiming sex without love as a feminist act. Are there any romantics left? Is there any spiritual or emotional component to sex, or am I just missing out by thinking so?

Damn those feminists for teaching men to bully women about sex! What other devious ideas will they spread next? For all we know, feminists are plotting to get women back into the kitchen and take their birth control away from them.

Luckily, Cary is the one writer at Salon that seems to get that feminism is an intergral part of liberalism and defends it quite well, pointing out to this woman that feminism is what has made it possible for her to be able to walk out of this relationship, which is exactly what she needs to do. He's even nice about it. I would have asked her if feminists invented sex without love, then how is it that prostitution predates feminism by millenia?

Anyway, it's a surprisingly feminist-friendly day at Salon for some reason. They even have a four-page article on sappy princess movies that not only doesn't have a snotty comment about feminism spoiling women for romance but also remembers that telling a girl to go to college for her MRS degree is offensive.

And even the book reviews today that focus on books that fall into that cloying category "chick lit" are informed by a thoughtful, somewhat feminist viewpoint. You do have to dig through the "chick lit" crap to get to it, though. What particularly grates on my nerves about the recent manufacture of this term and the subsequent application of it to any fiction written by a woman is that it's become de rigeur to imply that women writing about women is a new thing, or at least something that hasn't been done for a couple hundred years. The formula for reviewing "chick lit" is to mention Jane Austen as if only now with the onslaught of "chick lit" is Austen beginning to influence fiction writing, and also to stubbornly ignore writers like Mary McCarthy and Shirley Jackson who have been filling the demand for books by female writers with female characters in that great expanse between Jane Austen and the chick lit barrage.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that feminists built time machines, went back in time, and invented loveless prostitution.

Jake.

8/12/2004

 
Blogger Diane said...

Sex without love (the natural state of things for many centuries) as a feminist act was popularized by those politically great thinkers, Carrie, Charlotte, and Samantha (I'm going to let Miranda off the hook; she actually had a brain). The fact that this is even an issue is alarming: Men have sex without love; women have sex without love. Gay, bisexual, and straight people have sex without love. It happens.

If women are having sex without love because they want to, fine. If they are doing it to prove they are "equal", I would suggest they use all that energy in another way. They could examine: their paychecks, the makeup of the United States Congress, the rape and sexual assault statistics, the way women are referred to on TV "news" channels, the boardrooms of corporations, the English language as spoken in America, the tenets of major religions, and the number of women on the 2004 presidential ticket.

They couldn't possibly have enough sex, working at it 24 hours a day, to become equal in that reality.

8/12/2004

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sex without love for equality? Everytime I've had sex without love it wasn't a political act. I needed to scratch an itch, get off, get the big O, what have you.

And I sincerely hope the Sex and the City comment was a joke. Those fictional characters don't hold the market down on shallow relationships. Real people of all stripes have a masterful way of bungling sex and relationships far more efficiently than scripted characters.

8/13/2004

 
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