March 1, 2007

Retro sexuality.

With "Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both," Laura Sessions Stepp steps over the line and irks some critics who don't want to hear that casual sex may hurt a young woman's heart.

108 comments:

Kirby Olson said...

A Japanese student told me that a friend of hers from Japan had dated an American briefly during her high school year abroad. Right now that student friend of hers is dead from AIDS.

When you're not sure of the people you're sleeping with, it seems to leave a lot of room for death.

Whatever, as they say.

Jeff said...

But, but.... I thought gender differences were a construct of the patriarchy!

CB said...

She irks some other people with her dreadful writing:

Your body is your property. No one has a right to enter unless you welcome them in. Think about the first home you hope to own. You wouldn't want someone to throw a rock through the front window, would you? Is your body worth less than a house?

Think of it this way: Your body is not an introductory offer. It's a return receipt. Your partner gives you love or at least respect and affection, and in return you give him part of you — and you decide which part.

B said...

Everytime someone mentions that "it's best to be abstinent till, say marriage or committed monogamous relationship - the recommendation of collected wisdom over the millenia of human experience - the counterpoint will always be that the "pro-abstinence, avoid casual sex camp" simply wants to control the sex lives of others.

Why is that?

Meade said...

Good article.

This is a great line: "...in the quest to get ahead, women have put their hearts on hold."

AA: "Laura Sessions Stepp [...]irks some critics who don't want to hear that casual sex may hurt a young woman's heart."

Men's hearts too.

cb: Did you read the entire post you linked to?

George said...

Similar new book on same topic by campus doc that comes to darker conclusions....

Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student (Hardcover)

...selling almost as well on Amazon as the Stepp book...and with lots less publicity.

Katie said...

I have not read the book, but one part of the article stood out to me:

But, according to her research, most young women do not happily untangle themselves from the sheets and hightail it to class, she said. Instead they obsessively check their cellphones to see if Mr. One Night Only called. They feel bad about themselves and lose the opportunity to learn how to build a relationship. That they are high achieving is not the point, she said.

I completely agree with this. Regardless of how breezy (or, on the flip side but with a similar result, jaded) one acts about her casual encounters, there is so very often a lingering self-doubt or minor obsession about what went on.

If alcohol is involved in the first occasion, it's likely that next time it enters the picture it will result in a drunk dial or aggressive flirtation that either ends in another hookup (thus continuing the cycle and getting someone more entangled in confused emotions) or in hurt feelings.

Even if a girl "doesn't care", the feeling of seeing someone leave the bar with another girl is still hurtful and leads to that "what does she have that I don't?" feeling.

None of this happens every time, and there is certainly a place for fooling around. But I really think that things don't end when you go to class in the morning.

kettle said...

Somewhat interesting I suppose. But what research did she actually do? She asked her son and his friends about their sex lives? It sounds pretty off the cuff, and somewhat contradicts actual, recent, related research:

http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/chains.htm

nicky said...

George, and others interested,

Miriam Grossman, the author of Unprotected recently did an interview with Milt Rosenberg (1/22). Click here for Milt's archive page. You'll need RealPlayer. For those unaware of Milt's nightly program on WGN (Chicago), I highly recommend combing through his archives. A better interviewer, I submit, there is not.

Freder Frederson said...

But what research did she actually do? She asked her son and his friends about their sex lives? It sounds pretty off the cuff, and somewhat contradicts actual, recent, related research

According to the article, she interviewed nine women. Sounds like pretty thin "research".

Joan said...

I realized quite a while ago that the so-called sexual revolution gave men everything they've always wanted -- easy access to free and abundant sex, with no strings attached -- while women supposedly gained some vague notion of "sexual fulfillment."

Well, sex is fun and all, but if you're seeking fulfillment through sex, good luck with that. I suppose it works for some people, but I agree with Sessions Stepp that a lot, probably the majority, of girls ultimately do not find sex-only relationships satisfying.

There used to be after school specials and teen books with the plotline of the girl who sleeps with the guy she's crushing on to get him to like her, and she always ended up with a broken heart. They were supposed to be cautionary tales and no one mocked them, then -- everyone could see the elements of truth they contained. Pitching a story like that now wouldn't get you far with producers or publishers, because it's a story, like Unhooked, that they don't want to hear.

But people don't change. Men want sex, and women who want more than sex will be disadvantaged in relationships if they agree to no-strings-attached sex. Women assume much greater risks in these casual hook-ups than do men -- and not just pregnancy. The male-to-female transmission rate of STDs is much higher than the female-to-male transmission rate. I've yet to hear a person defending the hook-up culture speak of this imbalance between risks both physical and emotional (mostly borne by the woman) and rewards.

At best, both partners have a mutually pleasurable sexual encounter -- but what are the realistic chances in a random hook-up that the guy is going to be as satisfying to the woman as the woman is to the man? I do not think I'm unique in my experience that first-time sexual encounters, even with partners I was deeply emotionally involved with, always involved some awkwardness and improved with experience.

Sex has strangely become both all-important and devalued. It's so important that even bad sex, going-nowhere-hook-up sex, is not just acceptable but expected. But quality should be a lot more important than quantity or frequency, if sex is really that important.

It's nice to see books like Sessions Stepp hitting the mainstream, even if they're being blasted. There is evidence of the cultural divide between the radical feminists who've been insisting all these years that men and women are the same, just with different plumbing, and the rest of us in the Real World who realize how ridiculous that idea is. We've got a 70% illegitimacy rate in some cultures in this country, and yet the radical feminists will still insist that casual sex is as a great thing for women as it is for men. So far they've been impervious to the unintended consequences of the sexual revolution, and they will probably remain so -- but in the end it won't matter because society will have realized their irrelevancy. Someday these ideas will be wholly discredited and grad students will be studying this era as an example of social policy gone seriously wrong.

Alan said...

Slate magazine said it is alarmist and 'makes sex into a bigger, scarier and more dangerous thing than it already is.'"

Huh?

Zach said...

One observation from personal experience: the barriers to entry into a romantic relationship are quite high right now. Continuing relationships become exclusive really quickly and continue that way for years, and hookups are somewhat more difficult to arrange than handshakes, popular culture notwithstanding.

It's actually very tricky to meet girls who you don't already know but might be interested in, since a first date now involves an ambiguous possibility of sex.

Honestly, the best opportunity for *meeting* girls that I had in college was when I got roped into old-fashioned, may-I-have-this-dance, nobody's-getting-any ballroom dances.

If you're happy with the sexual possibilities among your friend group, maybe a hookup culture is optimal. If you want a larger potential dating pool, lowering the barriers to dating might be a better idea.

vegetius said...

Joan:

Your 9:46 post above is one of the best written commets I've ever read.

CB said...

Meade,

Yes, I read it. I know EV defended her a bit, but I agree with most of the commenters there that this is very bad writing. Argument by metaphor is bad enough, but argument by ill-conceived, poorly-executed, mixed metaphor is unacceptable, whatever the merits of her position (which BTW I more or less agree with)

Tim said...

Honest guys will tell you there is a huge, unbridgeable difference, in their eyes, between the girls they hook up with and the girls about which they are serious.

Smart girls know this, and act accordingly.

If the "pro-sex" feminists want to ensure a steady supply of ready and willing sex partners to guys, who am I to complain? All I ask is that treatment for STDs or abortions don't come at taxpayer expense. F*ck around on your own dime.

And, in the meantime, I know how to raise my daughters.

Wade_Garrett said...

There will always be a market for books like this, even though they don't say anything new and attempt to bring back old-fashioned stereotypes. Why should anybody read it?

PatCA said...

No studies have found a connection between casual sex and depression in women?

Here's one: http://media.www.diamondbackonline.com/media/storage/paper873/news/2006/11/20/News/Casual.Sex.More.Depressing.For.Women-2469644.shtml

Guess the NYT and Salon did not look very hard. And we should trust these people to debunk bloggers?!

Richard Fagin said...

A lot of the criticism of Ms. Sessions Stepp's book shows once again our cultural divide. There are quite a few among us who believe that limits on behavior, particularly self-imposed ones, take all the fun out of life. Even admitting that there are many on the other side of the divide who really do want to control what others do (particularly with their sex lives), there are many more who believe the accumulated wisdom of the ages and recommend, sometimes strongly, that such wisdom is ignored at considerable risk. It's not a matter of wanting to control others' conduct as much as having a deep sense of concern that the conduct more often than not is self-destructive. That's empathy, not prudishness or moral zealotry.

On the other hand, since the controversy is about sex, it's worth digging up an early 1990s Peggy Noonan article from the Wall St. Journal, in which she quotes a Clinton administration policymaker holding forth on the administrations approach to reproductive health policy, "You don't understand, f***ing is an entitlement." I suspect a number of the book's critics adhere to that philosophy.

Dewave said...

The casual hook up culture is absolutely wonderful for young men eager to go out and score with as many girls as possible. The 'feminist' revolution is the best thing that ever happened to young guys eager for pleasure without any responsiblity or relationships.

For other groups of society...not so much.

Wade_Garrett said...

Dewave,

What the hell are you talking about, exactly? Its easy to sound morally superior when you generalize so broadly.

Dewave said...

To be more specific, people like Wade_Garrett should not dismiss out of hand efforts by feminists to point out the ill effects this culture can have on large segments of the population.

She is absolutely right, and people who complain that she is just trying to move us back into Victorian England are absolutely wrong.

Doug said...

This is anecdotal, but it seems to fit the pattern of the book. I know this girl in her early thirties, who had a long time boyfriend that didn't work. She ended up seeing a few guys that she would sleep with(not at the same time), all with the understanding that if something better came along, either one of them could bolt.

Like Joan mentioned in her wonderful post, the guys have the advantages in the relationship, since this girl said the sex was very unfulfilling for her. She is getting into her thirties and wants to have a family, yet hooking up with this season's deadbeat keeps her from exploring men who might be able to provide a healthy relationship with long term happiness.

JohnAnnArbor said...

From the article: "It has led many women to be wary of any suggestion of limits on their lifestyle choices, she said."

Suggestions that one course of action might be better than another are just that, suggestions based on what has happened in the past. They are only self-imposed limits, if any. The fact that people get tooth-spittingly angry over the concept of any limits on sex is interesting, in my opinion. It suggests they are really threatened by the concept that maybe, just maybe, another way would work better in the end.

There is a whole college subculture that doesn't act like that at all, too. Not every kid is out there partying and messing around every night.

Simon said...

Dewave said...
"The casual hook up culture is absolutely wonderful for young men eager to go out and score with as many girls as possible. The 'feminist' revolution is the best thing that ever happened to young guys eager for pleasure without any responsiblity or relationships."

See http://bloggingheads.tv/video.php?id=186&cid=915&in=54:18

Joe Baby said...

Casual sex isn't beneficial for men, despite what we may want now, later, or at 3am.

And as noted, women pay a higher price.

But if casual sex was so great and amazing, why would it require regular doses of booze, drugs, and Viagra?

And Charlie Rice has it correct -- most people aren't having sex. They're engaging in mutual masturbation.

Funny how the folks who are into the modern mysticism of mind + body + psyche turn a blind eye when it comes to sex as a base need, thus ensuring that women will act like the male stereotype previously condemned.

Something about a hierarchy of values.

Robert said...

"It's not a matter of wanting to control others' conduct as much as having a deep sense of concern that the conduct more often than not is self-destructive. That's empathy, not prudishness or moral zealotry."

Part of the problem is that traditional notions of female sexuality are often bundled up with a rigid honor culture that prized female chastity above all else and certain patriarchal notions of male dominance and control. See Leon Kass' series of articles, "The End of Courtship" for an unabashed call for a return to Victorian morality, and James Bowman's writings on honor for a more realistic and qualified promotion of traditional sexual norms.

johnstodder said...

This line in the Times article (actually quoting the Post) blew me away: A review in The Washington Post by Kathy Dobie, the author of “The Only Girl in the Car,” said that Ms. Sessions Stepp “resurrects the ugly, old notion of sex as something a female gives in return for a male’s good behavior.”

"Ugly?" Old-fashioned, sure. Quaint even. But "ugly?" What kind of weird stuff goes through Ms. Dobie's mind to find that kind of thing ugly? What's the alternative that would be not-ugly? Did her editor think to ask her?

My son's 16. I deeply hope that the first girl he sleeps with does so in return for his "good behavior," as opposed to "bad behavior" or not even knowing or caring what a great guy he is. I see nothing wrong with the idea of sex with desireable women as an incentive to keep men on their toes. I have a feeling it is one of the secret ingredients for having a just, peaceful and prosperous civilization.

I could definitely someone wanting to argue with me on that point. But to refer to this notion as "ugly" -- I can't get past that. Can someone explain?

Kirby Olson said...

It's amazing that the book that George cites by the Campus Psychiatrist is written by an anonymous MD at a campus health clinic. She or he has to write anonymously for fear of losing his/her job. Shouldn't that be an embarrassment in a country that prides itself on free speech and especially in a "liberal" environment where people are supposed to be able to discuss the issues of the day freely?

The communists think that they are liberals, but they are actually communists.

Marx called for a destruction of the family through "holding women in common" -- this is right there in the communist manifesto. This notion of turning the campuses into a campus orgy -- like most communist ideas -- just gets everybody depressed if not killed.

Going to college these days is deadly.

I'm so glad that some books like this one and some others are getting through to students so that they have some hope of surviving college. Somehow some people at least are finding these books, and passing on the knowledge to others in the underground. It gives me hope.

Beth said...

Joan, I don't disagree with all of your comment, but you have your feminist identity wrong: radical feminists don't argue that there are no essential gender differences, nor are radical feminists what we might call "pro sex." Radical feminists probably have more in common with religious fundamentalists in that area; the two groups aligned in the anti-porn legislation movement of the 80s. I think you're referring to liberal feminists, and maybe third-wave feminists.

Anecdotally, I share concerns about young people moving from one shallow hookup to another. I'm not sure it's any better for young men than for young women, except for the biological facts that women are at greater physical risk for STD transmission and pregnancy. But I don't see how encouraging young men to see their female peers as nothing more than opportunities for sex is a good thing, either.

I teach a lot of freshman and sophomores, and I notice that the young women in my classes and who work in my office who identify as feminist generally are in more control of their sexuality than the young women who don't. They're in relationships, and/or they're careful about having protected sex, and they're knowledgeable about their sexual health. Also, I notice that many young women in the Greek organizations also show a lot of self-awareness and maturity, and sponsor activities dealing with women's health issues. There are always several Greeks enrolled when I teach intro to women's studies. Maybe, for the feminists and Greeks alike, there's something positive about having some group identity, being part of a support system. I just don't see feminism encouraging young women to see themselves as players; instead, it's the young women lacking in a sense of identity and self-worth who keep trying to find it with sex.

These are just observations, and not enough on which to advance a theory. The two most recent sexual assaults I know of happened at off-campus frat parties, so I don't want to overgeneralize. But it's worth nothing that in response, our student gov't and campus police started up rape defense training, and the sorority girls are signing up for it.

When I teach intro to Women's Studies, I invite the director of Student Health Services to do a presentation for one class period. That class is always one of the best of the semester. It's amazing what adult, or young adult women, don't know about their bodies, sexuality, birth control, STDs and so forth. The first time I scheduled this, the director had a 15-minute spiel planned, but ended up fielding questions for the full 75-minute class.

Wade_Garrett said...

What bothers me is that these books treat young women as if they are unable to come to intelligent decisions on their own. In my experience, my feminist friends have ownership of their sexuality, instead of adhereing to some vague notion of 'wisdom passed down from the elders,' many of whom are unhappy, divorced, repressed, brain-washed by religion, etc. Let people make their own choices!

"Misogynist: a man who treats women like women treat each other." -- H.L. Mencken.

In my experience, the women who get depressed about their sexual experiences are those who have been harshly judged by other women. Not by men.

milwaukee39 said...

Several posters comment that hookup culture benefits men (In the last line of the article, Sessions Stepp herself is quoted as saying "hookup culture is gravy for guys", implying that feminists should question the culture simply because it purportedly benefits men--you know, the old feminist adage: if it makes men happy, it must be bad.) However, it may hurt men too, especially in the long run. Womens' possible inability to bond resulting from the hook-up culture may make them less desirable to men, perhaps contributing to the large number of women in their 30s and even 40s who, despite looking, can't find a mate, even though such women usually try to put the reason for their inability to find a husband squarely in the lap of men.

Revenant said...

A Japanese student told me that a friend of hers from Japan had dated an American briefly during her high school year abroad. Right now that student friend of hers is dead from AIDS.

Not to diminish the threat posed by STDs, but that story probably isn't true.

Japan, due to a variety of factors and in spite of high rates of promiscuity, has one of the lowest rates of HIV infection in the world. At the same time, many Japanese have the impression that AIDS is common outside of Japan. This has led to a common belief that sex with foreigners is extremely dangerous. There are all kinds of urban legends in Japan about how some girl had sex with a foreigner and died. The longstanding stigma attached to Japanese women sleeping with foreigners feeds into that.

It takes a LONG time to develop AIDS and die from it, even moreso in a first-world nation. The odds that a Japanese student really knows one of the few Japanese people to die from AIDS is incredibly remote. It is much more likely that she just heard the urban legend and believed it.

George said...

Kirby--

Since publication, the author has come forward. She is Miriam Grossman, M.D., psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for more than ten years. She is "a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the New York University School of Medicine. She did her psychology residency at Cornell University. Dr. Grossman is board certified in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry. Her special interests are in the treatment of OCD and adult ADHA, as well as the interface of religion and mental health." (sorry, don't have link to her bio)

She points out that campus clinics busy themselves telling kids to eat right, get enough sleep, wear suntan lotion, but when it comes to sex...yo! anything goes, dude!

JohnAnnArbor said...

What bothers me is that these books treat young women as if they are unable to come to intelligent decisions on their own.

Erma Bombeck once noted that every generation thinks they invented sex. The point being that their elders JUST MIGHT have a clue or two that the young'uns could use.

Wade_Garrett said...

That's true, they just might. As as soon as this author has something to say that hasn't been said 1,000,000 times already, I might even consider reading her book.

nicky said...

George and Kirby,

At the risk of repeating myself, here is a recommended interview of Dr. Miriam Grossman by Milt Rosenberg. Scroll down to January 22nd: Link.

Wade_Garrett said...

Also, for the record, the highest rates of STD transmission right now are among the elderly. Why? Because they never bothered to learn anything about them. Transmission among students is ENORMOUSLY down. I don't have a link to the study right now, but one was done by the Cleveland Clinic.

Seven Machos said...

I don't see a problem with hooking up. That's not a popular opinion here, I guess.

The taboos against hooking up went out the window when effective birth control came along.

Most importantly, try to remember this: it takes two people who want to hook up to hook up. This male/femal blame game -- played out above -- leads nowhere.

Dewave said...

As as soon as this author has something to say that hasn't been said 1,000,000 times already, I might even consider reading her book

I'm completely open to the possibility this is not the best written or most original book on the subject, so I'm curious to know, which book about the dangers and pitfalls of the casual hookup culture would you recommend instead?

Pogo said...

How about I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe?

"The control cats had been able to watch the amygdalectomized cats from their cages. Over a period of weeks they had become so thoroughly steeped in an environment of hypermanic sexual obsession that behavior induced surgically in the amygdalectomized cats had been induced in the controls without any intervention whatsoever. Starling had discovered that a strong social, or 'cultural' atmosphere, even as abnormal as this one, could in time overwhelm the genetically determined responses of perfectly, normal healthy animals."

Rousseau appears to have won, and we now have a 'Sex in the City' chimp colony culture where males copulate with as many females as possible, and women are encouraged to comply. Those who describe the negative effects of this devolution are derided as mere reactionaries.

Not to worry. Everything's fine. Don't mind the cracks in the ceiling. Play on.

JohnAnnArbor said...

As as soon as this author has something to say that hasn't been said 1,000,000 times already, I might even consider reading her book.

Yeah, because nothing good can come from reconsidering your biases, right?

PatCA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moira Breen said...

Wade_Garrett, you're hilarious.

What bothers me is that these books treat young women as if they are unable to come to intelligent decisions on their own. In my experience, my feminist friends have ownership of their sexuality, instead of adhering to some vague notion of 'wisdom passed down from the elders,' many of whom are unhappy, divorced, repressed, brain-washed by religion, etc. Let people make their own choices!

Groovy, man. Because god knows the last thing a young woman starting out in life has any use for is "vague" advice about the nature of sex from older, experienced persons. I myself would never dream of imparting to my daughter any sexual advice beyond technical information about STIs or contraception. What, do I look like some kind of religious freak?! (That "brain-washed by religion" stuff is kinda cute and nostalgic, though. Are guys still using that on girls who're not into, er, "owning their sexuality"? Wonder if it ever worked/works?)

Speaking of "owning their sexuality" - I bet they're proactive, empowered, and demonstrate core competency in their sexuality, too. Please stop talking like that, Wade. It will make you impotent.

In my experience, the women who get depressed about their sexual experiences are those who have been harshly judged by other women. Not by men.

I bow to your vast experience. History and observation attest that it is vanishingly rare for men to "harshly judge" the sexual behavior of women.

As as soon as this author has something to say that hasn't been said 1,000,000 times already, I might even consider reading her book.

Well, considering that you've heard it 1,000,000 times already and the point's still flying right over your head...yeah, you're right. You'd be wasting your time.

Peter Palladas said...

...casual sex may hurt a young woman's heart

Ah those glory days when all a fellow had to do was to sit in his room waiting for some keen young gal come kick his door down demanding "Well, are you going to f*ck me or what?!"

(Happened just the once. Took ages afterwards to get the hinges to hang properly. Put me right off.)

Joan said...

...it's the young women lacking in a sense of identity and self-worth who keep trying to find it with sex.

Funny, that's not how it looks on "Sex in the City", or countless other media portrayals of young professional women cycling through the pool of available sex partners. These women aren't portrayed as negative role models; they're hailed as heroes.

And those role models may have something to do with these unaware young women seeking to "find themselves" through sexual encounters. They clearly have cause and effect confused, and believe if they have a lot sex, then they can be happy and successful. Obviously they don't have the sense to realize that sex, even casual sex, can be great but only if you're already happy with yourself and not looking for it to fix whatever's wrong with you.

For healthy, well-adjusted people, hook-ups aren't going to be traumatic, although they are likely to be more worrisome for women than men. For anyone who is not well-adjusted, male or female, hook-ups are likely to cause more problems than they solve.

Last: why is the idea of a woman being proprietary over her own body linked to the idea of patriarchal and/or religious control? I'm talking about self-determination here! It seems that just because religions and traditionalists espouse the same views many are rejecting them out of hand without considering the merits.

(Yeah, I know, Pogo just mentioned "Sex in the City" as well, but I wanted to rebut that particular line.)

PatCA said...

No Stepp-ford girls here at Harvard!
Harvard dean offers freshmen guidance

Revenant said...

Funny, that's not how it looks on "Sex in the City", or countless other media portrayals of young professional women cycling through the pool of available sex partners. These women aren't portrayed as negative role models; they're hailed as heroes.

You must not have watched very much of "Sex and the City". Only one of the characters is a fan of relationship-free casual sex, and she's played for comic value.

I don't watch that much TV, but I can't think of any shows at all where sleeping around and just looking for sex instead of love is portrayed as heroic. Could you cite some examples?

Kellen said...

milwaukee39 said "[...] the large number of women in their 30s and even 40s who, despite looking, can't find a mate, even though such women usually try to put the reason for their inability to find a husband squarely in the lap of men."

Pun intended?

Beth said...

Joan, much as it pains me to write "Revenant is right" he is about the basic setup of Sex in the City. Not that I've ever seen that show held up, unironically, as a feminist role model. But I absolutely agree with you here:

"For healthy, well-adjusted people, hook-ups aren't going to be traumatic, although they are likely to be more worrisome for women than men. For anyone who is not well-adjusted, male or female, hook-ups are likely to cause more problems than they solve.
"

The issue, then, is what makes a healthy, well-adjusted person? Is that what we're talking about, in the end?

dth said...

Kirby Olson: You quoted Marx as advocating "holding women in common" in the Communist Manifesto; I doubt it, at least with the meaning you give it.

Show us where in the Communist Manifesto (actually, Manifesto of the Communist Party)he wrote that.

Simon said...

DTH, Kirby: I think what it actually says is this:

"[N]othing is more ridiculous than the virtuous indignation of our bourgeois at the community of women which, they pretend, is to be openly and officially established by the Communists. The Communists have no need to introduce free love[] [because] it has existed almost from time immemorial.

Our bourgeois, not content with having wives and daughters of their proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of common prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing each other's wives ... [Thus,] [b]ourgeois marriage is, in reality, a system of wives in common and thus, at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalized system of free love. For the rest, it is self-evident that the abolition of the present system of production must bring with it the abolition of free love springing from that system, i.e., of prostitution both public and private
."

Construe that as you will.

Pogo said...

Revenant, I'll haveto disagree with you about "Sex and the City". I have seen enough of the show to recognize the schtick, where the characters seem to long for relationships, but behave instead in the manner of those who are fans of casual sex.

Not only is there no social opprobrium to promiscuity, the only downside appears to be that you can't find the right apple until you have tasted quite a few.

Blue Moon said...

Regarding the Sex in the City comments, I think I may disagree about what constitutes "casual sex." If you are getting it on with 3 or more people in a calendar year, methinks you are engaging in casual sex -- and I think 3 is a pretty generous number. I'm sure some SitC trivia buff knows how many each character has slept with, but lets just say I will not be showing my daughter the reruns as an example of how to behave.

Fitz said...

It is an axiom of mine to say.

Multiple partners over multiple years, jades one to the possibility of long term commitment and preps one for easy divorce.

I have seen this axiom in operation with both my male & female friends.

I have also heard it mentioned that our modern hook-up culture is “not so much a search for Mr., or Mrs. “Right” but rather a training ground for divorce.”

This is not difficult to discern in the sense that large numbers of youth learn to experience highly intimate relationships for several years and then also learn how to survive the break-up of those relationships - only to be followed by yet another. (All before the “right time” for marriage is effectively considered)

Also – This type of hook-up culture can be aptly described as going straight to the honeymoon period. Analogous to eating one’s desert before a meal.

Melinda said...

I had a sense of deja vu reading this post and remembered a discussion on this blog regarding a couple of books that made a similar point, i.e. returning to old-fashioned values vs libertinism.

You may be saying, "My God, woman, what a memory you have! Are you competing with Ruth Anne for the title of Althouse Blog Historian?"

Nah. I remember because I blogged about the discussion.

George said...

Revenant above asks for examples of TV shows "where sleeping around and just looking for sex instead of love is portrayed as heroic."

Here are examples from four of last year's biggest movies:

Superman Returns (#6 at the box office) Lois has Superman's son out-of-wedlock, shacks up with a new guy, then drops him (I think?) when Superman returns. Lois also smokes cigarettes.

The Devil Wears Prada (#17) Nitwit heroine shacks up with a pretty-boy writer even though she still has a boyfriend whom she later drops for dazzling career at some crumb-bum publication.

X-Men: Last Stand (#4) Cosmically-empowered Jean Grey sucks the soul of of her mutant hunk boyfriend Cyclops and kills him or something.

Charlotte's Web (#26) Heroine hangs out in with a fat pig and has one-night stand. Her lover (never seen) mysteriously disappears probably because she kills him during way, way kinky sex act. She becomes positive role model.

TMink said...

Chastity belt = control.

Words about possible negative consequences of sex outside of marriage = advice.

Trey

Fitz said...

Regarding Sex & the City

I remember reading a New republic Article (no-less) by a female author who stated (as fact) that a number of the writers of Sex & the City were gay men.

Her complaint was that they had (inadvertently?) foisted upon the women char haters of show a male/gay male mindset about sex and relationships.

She opined that real women (even in NYC) rarely talked about- obsessed about sex in the manner those characters do, and that it misrepresented the true nature of female conversation and lifestyles. Portraying them as unrealistically unconcerned about break-ups, heart break, the possibility of new love, and their fortunes as to long term monogamy.

Kirby Olson said...

Simon put in part of the commie manifesto bit: here's a little more, scrolling up:

"But you Communists would introduce community of women, screams the bourgeoisie in chorus.

The bourgeois sees his wife as a mere instrument of production. He hears that the instruments of production are to be exploited in common, and, naturally, can come to no other conclusion than that the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the women.

He has not even a suspicion that the real point aimed at is to do away with the status of women as mere instruments of production.

For the rest, nothing is more ridiculous than the virtuous indignation of our bourgeois at the community of women which, they pretend, is to be openly and officially established by the Communists. The Communists have no need to introduce free love; it has existed almost from time immemorial."

It's a tricky passage having to do with the morals laws of the time that they wished to avoid. But they are basically saying that they will do their best to get rid of marriage since it seemed to treat women as tools of production rather than as an end in themselves. Marxists and Marxist feminists see women today as the producer of the orgasm and since they are the producer they have the right to be paid for its production. Of course children are often a byproduct of this bargain but in Sex and the City and in shows like Friends there are no children from most of these liaisons, and also no diseases which are also produced by prostitution and open liaisons.

1 million have AIDS in America, and of those 70 percent are men.

Since most relationships are closed if you are goofing around you have a pretty high chance of coming into contact with a player. Here's how the Japanese student came down with AIDS:

The Japanese student didn't die (I rechecked the final paper which I just read this afternoon). She lost her hair, and she has an actual name, and is in a hospital in an actual small city. I'm not going to give more details than that as it's unauthorized. But there are 17,000 AIDS cases in Japan just now and she's one of them.

80,000 Japanese students come to America every year on scholarships. Most of them are happy here. My student closes her essay, "I'm glad that I came to the United States to study even if my friend was murdered by her American boyfriend."

Marx and communists tried to destroy the "patriarchal family" and new Marxists such as Andre Gorz argue that prostitution should be legal so that women can have the wealth associated with the factory production of orgasms.

If you ask me that's a bullet train to the cemetery that I for one wouldn't want to be on. But I suppose freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose, if I recall correctly.

At any rate, the Japanese student got to know a boy who was charming and cheated on his two girlfriends. The Japanese girl was lonely, and he expressed an interest in her, and they "dated" for six months. When she left, he handed her a note that she was supposed to open on the plane. When she did, it said that the boy (he has a full name and a town he lives in at least in this paper) had AIDS. She checked herself in when she got home. Since then my student has largely lost track of her.

Thanks for the tips on Miriam Grossman and other stuff, Nicky, George, Simon, and others. Sorry to be so long with this. People seemed to want details.

Revenant said...

I have seen enough of the show to recognize the schtick, where the characters seem to long for relationships, but behave instead in the manner of those who are fans of casual sex.

That's exactly backwards. The main characters talk the casual-sex talk, but *act* like people interested in monogamy (with the exception, noted above, of Kim Catrall's character). One-night stands are typically one-night stands because there's something comically wrong with the guy in question -- not because the character was only interested in casual sex.

Pogo said...

We clearly have different definitions of "casual" sex and monogamy. I think mine has the longer pedigree.

Simon said...

Melinda said...
"I had a sense of deja vu reading this post and remembered a discussion on this blog regarding a couple of books that made a similar point, i.e. returning to old-fashioned values vs libertinism."

Or libido-ism, perhaps. ;)

Revenant said...

Kirby,

Thanks for the additional details, but I'm afraid they make it clear that you've been suckered by one of the oldest urban legends about AIDS (scroll down to "AIDS Harry"). The sealed note telling her he was HIV+ is the clincher.

In addition, virtually all of the 70,000 Japanese AIDS cases are homosexual men, intravenous drug users, or sex industry workers. The odds of your student truly knowing a girl who is dying of romantically-contracted HIV infection would be remote enough even if it wasn't for the additionally outrageous details of contracting it from a cheating American boyfriend. Indeed it isn't even clear why the "cheating" matters -- if it is meant to imply that the guy contracted HIV through heterosexual sex then that makes the story that much harder to believe.

Revenant said...

We clearly have different definitions of "casual" sex and monogamy. I think mine has the longer pedigree.

And when pedigree starts mattering to definitions, that'll probably be very important, but what actually matters now is how the terms are defined for purposes of this discussion. The "casual sex" that Stepp is bemoaning is the act of having sex just for sex, rather than because you expect love. That's the "hookup culture" people are talking about.

The characters on "Sex and the City", with the exception of Catrall's, aren't "pursuing sex and delaying love". They're pursuing love and having sex in the process.

Fitz said...

While there are no Asians involved (at least immediately) I am sure the word hate will come up.

I also remember coming across a comment about Sex & the City – to the effect of..

“One positive it has produced....Was it help in de-stigmatizing the idea of being 35 and single/childless”

As if that is.
#1. Some great blight
#2. Women are happy/”choosing” to be getting older without husbands or children.
#3. Not contributing to overall lack of human fulfillment by creating a self perpetuating cycle were young people feel free not to take marriage and commitment seriously.

Harkonnendog said...

It is hard to really get to know someone if you start having sex right away, especially if you're in your twenties. That becomes the focus of the relationship, to the detriment of other areas.

Also, a lot of these "hookups" aren't so much about the pleasure of sex, as they are about relieving horniness, or rewarding behavior, or creating obligation.

And all that sucks.

Fitz said...

Please disregard the (above)

"While there are no Asians involved (at least immediately) I am sure the word hate will come up."

Sorry

Harkonnendog said...

It is hard to really get to know someone if you start having sex right away, especially if you're in your twenties. That becomes the focus of the relationship, to the detriment of other areas.

Also, a lot of these "hookups" aren't so much about the pleasure of sex, as they are about relieving horniness, or rewarding behavior, or creating obligation.

And all that sucks.

Bruce Hayden said...

My impression of Sex in the City is that the main characters do sleep around a lot, but esp. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Samantha (Kim Cattrall). It seemed like Carrie had a new bedpartner in every episode, and inevitably would be disappointed by the end. Looking at the Wikipedia article on the series, it does appear that there was a bit more depth and plot to it than just the sexual exploits of the characters.

And mostly, they all got what they wanted in the end. But not after a lot more heart break than I would expect if they hadn't been sleeping around at that level.

Of course, I don't know many 30 somethings with top careers and educations living in Manhatten, and that may be the trouble. Or, their lives just may have been a lot more complex because it is TV.

Pogo said...

Re: "They're pursuing love and having sex in the process."

Funny how that ends up looking no different than simply pursuing sex. By this method, love is never found, of course, because there is always something better just around the corner. That's what "casual" means.

I dunno, but if I ever met a man or woman who had had that many lovers in a season, I'd say it was even more than "casual" sex, it was an outright sport, and they had a good chance at the pennant this year. But if you're convinced Sex In The City is not about casual sex, I know I won't be able to dissuade you.

Fitz said...

Revenant

"but what actually matters now is how the terms are defined for purposes of this discussion. The "casual sex" that Stepp is bemoaning is the act of having sex just for sex, rather than because you expect love. That's the "hookup culture" people are talking about.

The characters on "Sex and the City", with the exception of Catrall's, aren't "pursuing sex and delaying love". They're pursuing love and having sex in the process.


I would disagree (to a degree)
I think the "hook-up" culture's problem is that neither sex Nor love are treated as important or serious.

That the hook-up culture fails to give them context, purpose, direction or meaning.

People (& the shows characters) may want both, one, or neither. Regardless they lack any greater purpose.

Fitz said...

POGO

I agree - It’s not like the characters are so deeply drawn that the viewer is given the deeper complexities of modern mating.

Rather they are a series of Arch-types (the slut, the career girl, every-girl & the princess)
Whose casual sexual escapades attracted an audience? It is about casual sex inasmuch as the deeper nature and consequences of human sexuality (and its modern context) are never given any authentic moral weight or artistic drama.

Revenant said...

I think the "hook-up" culture's problem is that neither sex Nor love are treated as important or serious.

I agree, which is why "Sex and the City" isn't an example of that culture -- love WAS taken seriously, even if sex wasn't.

Also (I'd meant to mention this earlier), none of the characters are "heroes". They all routinely make bad decisions that mess up their lives, and fans of the show know that.

It is about casual sex inasmuch as the deeper nature and consequences of human sexuality (and its modern context) are never given any authentic moral weight or artistic drama.

I would suggest that anyone who goes looking for moral weight and artistic drama in a half-hour comedy is an idiot. But deeper sexual issues, such as pregnancy, marriage, the pain of infidelity, STDs, et al, all got their due during the show's run.

Kirby Olson said...

Revenant, you may be right about the case in question. The only difference is that this girl claims that the person infected was her actual friend and gave her an actual name, and claimed to have visited her in the hospital, and named the hospital, and the cherry trees in blossom about the hospital, etc. So this could be a very nice case of a trumped-up urban legend turned into a fairly compelling real life story. She also quotes at length from an email the supposed victim wrote to her. It goes on for half a page.

I had asked the students to write about a tragedy that had happened either to them or to someone they knew, and then to explain their understanding of the tragedy, and why it had happened, and whether or not it could have been avoided.

Oh, yes, now on to the Marx matter that you didn't believe. I also remember that there is a late text by Engels that talks much more explicitly of the putting in common of women. I can't remember the name of the text. I'll let Simon provide it!

But basically I think that the idea that women MIGHT suffer and not be able to have a long-term stable relationship after going for it on campus is still exactly what's prescribed by communism, and by the communist feminists who run the women's studies programs around the country.

Women shouldn't depend on a single owner is the main thrust of the argument. They should play the field, and if possible, become lesbians. Then there will be no more exploiter and exploited. Men are in the position of the bourgeoisie.

To be eliminated, just as were the factory owners.

There are probably women fighting against this in women's studies programs but that's the main thrust that I was able to gather.

The female writers who think that inability to form a deep relationship is an unfortunate byproduct of promiscuity have it backwards: the intention is to destroy the family. that's always been the intention since the family holds out against the all-pervasive power of the state.

Children will also be held in common.

Beth said...

and by the communist feminists who run the women's studies programs around the country

Kirby, you've lost your slender grip on reality. I don't have a reference to prove it, so I'll let Simon do that work for me. Even funnier is your belief that Marxists want women to become lesbians. How is it then that every single Marxist government ever to operate on the face of this planet has punished homosexuality and lesbianism as bourgeouis excess?

Beth said...

The only difference is that this girl claims that the person infected was her actual friend and gave her an actual name, and claimed to have visited her in the hospital, and named the hospital, and the cherry trees in blossom about the hospital, etc.

The library is full of novels full of people with names, and hospitals with names, and rows of cherry trees in bloom. If all it takes to make you believe something is to fill in some details, well, that explains a lot.

Joan said...

Revenant: Not to beat this horse any deader, but I've seen every episode of "Sex in the City", several times. It's clearly a fantasy world, but the women in it can be said to be nothing less than promiscuous, with the possible exception of Charlotte.

It's true that they were all (with the exception of Samantha) looking for love, but what they were finding was sex... ultimately they did all find monogamous love, even Sam, pretty much in spite of herself.

Sure, the characters aren't heroes, but they give young women something to aspire towards. They all live in NYC, they have great jobs and beautiful apartments and wear fantastic (sometimes fantastically ugly, but still fantastic) designer clothes, and they have all sorts of glamorous adventures. And they all have sex with guys on the first date, or expect to have sex with the guy on the first date and only call it off if things go really badly.

If you don't want to define the sex itself as casual, you can't deny that their attitudes about sex are casual...again with the sometimes exception of Charlotte.

I wonder how much, if any, of the difference in our perceptions of these characters is attributable to the fact that I'm a woman and you're a man.


As to other shows where non-progressing sexual relationships are portrayed as desirable for single women, let's turn that around: are there any shows featuring eligible single women in which they are not involved in one sexual relationship after another? Of the dramatic shows I watch -- House, 24, Friday Night Lights, Battlestar Galactica -- that last two have unmarried female characters that have a lot of sex, and the first is in the midst of a plotline about two of House's ducklings hooking up, and 24 doesn't have time for sex (usually, we'll just pretend that the First Lady seducing Pres. Logan last season didn't happen.) What's refreshing about Friday Night Lights is the fact that extra-marital sex has consequences.

The idea that unmarried women can -- should -- have sex with every man they date is pervasive in our entertainment. The fact that there may be unanticipated negative consequences that come along with that behavior may be mentioned from time to time, but not nearly often enough to rebut the idea that it's healthy, normal, and good to sleep with one guy after another after another.

Revenant said...

this girl claims that the person infected was her actual friend and gave her an actual name, and claimed to have visited her in the hospital, and named the hospital, and the cherry trees in blossom about the hospital, etc. So this could be a very nice case of a trumped-up urban legend turned into a fairly compelling real life story. She also quotes at length from an email the supposed victim wrote to her. It goes on for half a page.

She sounds like a talented liar who knows the person reading her paper isn't a fan of Google. She and Stephen Glass would make a hell of a couple.

According to the Japanese health services, around 1800 Japanese women are HIV+ and 500 of those have AIDS. The notion that one of those 500 was deliberately infected by an American (ten or twenty years ago, presumably, given the onset time of AIDS), who then told her he did it, in a manner which exactly duplicates a decades-old urban legend, is clearly ridiculous.

Oh, yes, now on to the Marx matter that you didn't believe.

Other people, not me, were the ones questioning your understanding of Marx. Although certainly the notion that people need German philosophers to tell them that sex is fun is extremely silly.

Wade_Garrett said...

Its not that pervasive. Its just not. Its pervasiveness is exaggerated by people who enjoy hearing themselves moralize.

Revenant said...

If you don't want to define the sex itself as casual, you can't deny that their attitudes about sex are casual...again with the sometimes exception of Charlotte.

I noted, above, that the characters treated love seriously and sex unseriously. But the sex was (with the usual Samantha caveat) involved in the pursuit of love, rather than being an end in itself as it is in "hookup" culture.

I wonder how much, if any, of the difference in our perceptions of these characters is attributable to the fact that I'm a woman and you're a man.

Maybe. Casual sex, to this man anyway, is sex for its own sake, not sex in the service of some epic Quest for Miss/Mister Right. To give a related example -- if, like Carrie, you have sex with someone and then spend a day or two writing an article attempting to analyze what the sex really *meant*, you are not having casual sex. That's only casual sex if you grade girls on a curve.

Personally, I think the lesson to be learned from the fact that women who have casual sex get hurt isn't "casual sex is bad", but "women are bad at casual sex". :)

Joan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joan said...

the lesson to be learned from the fact that women who have casual sex get hurt isn't "casual sex is bad", but "women are bad at casual sex".

I agree! (With the usual caveats -- some women are just fine with casual sex, after all.)

But now what does that say about all the men who engage in casual sex with the women who aren't good at it?

George said...

"if, like Carrie, you have sex with someone and then spend a day or two writing an article attempting to analyze what the sex really *meant*, you are not having casual sex."

Casual or not, if you obsessively write about your sex life and publish the resulting ticky-tacky essays for the world to read, I'd say that's a sign of a troubled mind.

Carrie Bradshaw ain't no Anais Nin.

Johnny Nucleo said...

A message to all the college kids out there:

Hey dudes!

Hook-ups mean precisely this: One partner thinks the other is good enough to fuck, but nothing more.

You hook-up with some chick but you don't want anything more? It's because she's a fat skank and you were totally shit-faced! But what about hot chicks you manage to bag, they but don't call you back? It's because you are a loser and she was totally shit-faced! You think a loser like you could get a chick like that if she was sober? Loser!

But what about hot chicks who hook-up with cool dudes who are not losers, and those cool dudes don't call the hot chicks back? To the cool dude, you are a skank, hot chick, because his girlfriend is even hotter than you!

What about two equally hot people who hook-up and don't want anything more? They are called movie stars.

Revenant said...

But now what does that say about all the men who engage in casual sex with the women who aren't good at it?

If I may be permitted a generalization -- it says that men are as bad at understanding women as women are at understanding men.

Sure, some men knowingly hurt women emotionally in order to get laid, just as some women try to trap men in relationships they don't want to be in. Mostly, though, it is just a matter of assuming that your partner thinks about sex the same way that you do. Most men don't see sex and relationships as inherently connected, and most women do. This is why gay men have more sexual partners than hetero men -- both people are on the same emotional wavelength.

Kirby Olson said...

Revenant you never cite sources. There are 17,000 people with AIDS in Japan, in a population of 127 million.

You are pretending Revenant that no heterosexaul can get AIDS, and now you make the claim that the American boy DELIBERATELY gave the Japanese girl AIDS. What planet are you on?

There's a 2% chance of AIDS transmission if one partner has it: that's for unprotected heterosexual intercourse. If therefore there are 50 such acts (easily done in two weeks if you are 17) so I still think it is POSSIBLE that this transmission did occur. You think that because it is possible that it didn't happen that it didn't happen. But urban legends have to be strongly based in possibility or else they can't be spread. This doesn't mean that anything that might be an urban legend is. Logic, my dear, isn't your strength.

Everyone should know the Engels text. It's quite amazing that people who purport to be leftists haven't even read the basics or understood them.

Geez.

I'll have to find the Engels text for you later today so I can quote it for you. It's quite shocking that you don't know the standard texts by heart. I will help you a little later today.

Kirby Olson said...

Oh, Revenant (which I think means daydreaming!) the idea that the Japanese are violently promiscuous (based on what again?) is almost certainly not true. Japanese Americans have a divorce rate of 2% which is the lowest of any ethnic group in America. The reason that they don't have AIDS at a very high level in their country must rather be based on closed relationship and a sense of decorum that American leftists who haven't read their Engels haven't got.

Riikka said...

The following is from Origins of the Family -- a text written by Engels based on notes by Marx and published in 1891 -- and which is the basis for the idea that the patriarchal family must be deconstructed. This is so well-known within leftist circles that I thought everyone was familiar with it. Feminists used Bachofen (who is mentioned in the text) as the basis for the idea that there was once a matriarchy that was gentle and supportive and nourishing -- something that Bachofen is at pains to deny (Bachofen was a Swiss jurist and friend of Nietzsche when the latter live din Geneva). Bachofen is himself therefore necessary to understand the whole idea of the patriarchy that feminists have unfortunately concocted out of whole cloth -- some feminists have tried to attack the term "patriarchy" which is so prevalent in kommunizt kampuz kultur, but they've been hooted at by know-nothings. I'd recommend Cynthia Eller's books. At any rate, here's part of the Marx-Engels book on the Origins of the Family. What remains at stake here is to understand that feminists use this text to strategize the total destruction of the family as "patriarchal." I wouldn't be surprised if many feminists don't know this.

Even the anti-feminists just don't seem to be able to conenct the dots. Please note that the reason that many feminists want to push female promiscuity can be found in this text. This is Engels writing from here on in, in what is probably his most insidious and widely-known text:

The history of the family dates from 1861, from the publication of Bachofen’s Mutterrecht. [Mother-right, matriarchate – Ed.] In this work the author advances the following propositions:

(1) That originally man lived in a state of sexual promiscuity, to describe which Bachofen uses the mistaken term "hetaerism";

(2) that such promiscuity excludes any certainty of paternity, and that descent could therefore be reckoned only in the female line, according to mother-right, and that this was originally the case amongst all the peoples of antiquity;

(3) that since women, as mothers, were the only parents of the younger generation that were known with certainty, they held a position of such high respect and honor that it became the foundation, in Bachofen’s conception, of a regular rule of women (gynaecocracy);

(4) that the transition to monogamy, where the woman belonged to one man exclusively, involved a violation of a primitive religious law (that is, actually a violation of the traditional right of the other men to this woman), and that in order to expiate this violation or to purchase indulgence for it the woman had to surrender herself for a limited period.

Bachofen finds the proofs of these assertions in innumerable passages of ancient classical literature, which he collected with immense industry. According to him, the development from "hetaerism" to monogamy and from mother-right to father-right is accomplished, particularly among the Greeks, as the consequence of an advance in religious conceptions, introducing into the old hierarchy of the gods, representative of the old outlook, new divinities, representative of the new outlook, who push the former more and more into the background. Thus, according to Bachofen, it is not the development of men’s actual conditions of life, but the religious reflection of these conditions inside their heads, which has brought about the historical changes in the social position of the sexes in relation to each other.

Kirby Olson said...

The following is from Origins of the Family -- a text written by Engels based on notes by Marx and published in 1891 -- and which is the basis for the idea that the patriarchal family must be deconstructed. This is so well-known within leftist circles that I thought everyone was familiar with it. Feminists used Bachofen (who is mentioned in the text) as the basis for the idea that there was once a matriarchy that was gentle and supportive and nourishing -- something that Bachofen is at pains to deny (Bachofen was a Swiss jurist and friend of Nietzsche when the latter live din Geneva). Bachofen is himself therefore necessary to understand the whole idea of the patriarchy that feminists have unfortunately concocted out of whole cloth -- some feminists have tried to attack the term "patriarchy" which is so prevalent in kommunizt kampuz kultur, but they've been hooted at by know-nothings. I'd recommend Cynthia Eller's books. At any rate, here's part of the Marx-Engels book on the Origins of the Family. What remains at stake here is to understand that feminists use this text to strategize the total destruction of the family as "patriarchal." I wouldn't be surprised if many feminists don't know this.

Even the anti-feminists just don't seem to be able to conenct the dots. Please note that the reason that many feminists want to push female promiscuity can be found in this text. This is Engels writing from here on in, in what is probably his most insidious and widely-known text:

The history of the family dates from 1861, from the publication of Bachofen’s Mutterrecht. [Mother-right, matriarchate – Ed.] In this work the author advances the following propositions:

(1) That originally man lived in a state of sexual promiscuity, to describe which Bachofen uses the mistaken term "hetaerism";

(2) that such promiscuity excludes any certainty of paternity, and that descent could therefore be reckoned only in the female line, according to mother-right, and that this was originally the case amongst all the peoples of antiquity;

(3) that since women, as mothers, were the only parents of the younger generation that were known with certainty, they held a position of such high respect and honor that it became the foundation, in Bachofen’s conception, of a regular rule of women (gynaecocracy);

(4) that the transition to monogamy, where the woman belonged to one man exclusively, involved a violation of a primitive religious law (that is, actually a violation of the traditional right of the other men to this woman), and that in order to expiate this violation or to purchase indulgence for it the woman had to surrender herself for a limited period.

Bachofen finds the proofs of these assertions in innumerable passages of ancient classical literature, which he collected with immense industry. According to him, the development from "hetaerism" to monogamy and from mother-right to father-right is accomplished, particularly among the Greeks, as the consequence of an advance in religious conceptions, introducing into the old hierarchy of the gods, representative of the old outlook, new divinities, representative of the new outlook, who push the former more and more into the background. Thus, according to Bachofen, it is not the development of men’s actual conditions of life, but the religious reflection of these conditions inside their heads, which has brought about the historical changes in the social position of the sexes in relation to each other.

Parker Smith said...

I think the commentary validates an old Woody Allen quote:

There are two important things in life.

One of them is sex - and the other one's not that important.

Revenant said...

Revenant you never cite sources. There are 17,000 people with AIDS in Japan, in a population of 127 million.

You do see the irony of criticizing me for not citing sources when you're doing the exact same thing, right? Anyway, mine are from here.

I've seen some claims that the *estimated* number of people with HIV *or* AIDS in Japan is 17,000, but I've never seen any claim that the number of people with *AIDS* is 17,000. The number of Japanese women with full-blown AIDS is around 500, and those women are ones who got infected back in the 80s and 90s.

You do know that the two things aren't the same... right? Being HIV+ means you will eventually, many years from now, *develop* AIDS. It doesn't mean you have AIDS now.

You are pretending Revenant that no heterosexaul can get AIDS

Obviously it is possible for heterosexuals to get AIDS, it is just (a) rare and (b) very, very difficult for men, due to the mechanics of how HIV is transmitted.

and now you make the claim that the American boy DELIBERATELY gave the Japanese girl AIDS. What planet are you on?

I'm saying that your entire story is a myth, and you were gullible enough to fall for it -- and to keep falling for it even after being directed to the urban legends page about it.

There's a 2% chance of AIDS transmission if one partner has it: that's for unprotected heterosexual intercourse.

That's the chance of male-to-female transmission. The chance of the reverse is a tiny fraction of 1% -- decent statistics are hard to gather, since men who have contracted the disease through heterosexual contact are so rare. Most of the cases of transmission involve both partners having open sores or wounds of some sort.

But urban legends have to be strongly based in possibility or else they can't be spread.

Bwahahaha!

Hoo boy. What do you teach -- fingerpainting?

Fitz said...

Kirby & Rikka

(I would appreciate your thoughts)

“Even the anti-feminists just don't seem to be able to connect the dots. Please note that the reason that many feminists want to push female promiscuity can be found in this text. This is Engel’s writing from here on in, in what is probably his most insidious and widely-known text:”

I agree- Every college student should be taught classical Marxism and its historic lineage. The reason they are not taught this is because it would become its modern incarnations would recognized as all to familiar. They we are kept ignorant.
The fall of the Berlin wall and the diminishment of classic economic Marxism along with the Bolsheviks allowed the cultural Marxism of Engel’s and his feminist progeny to run unabated through the Universities and amok in our larger culture.
Capitalist WILL sell you the rope you hang them with.

Revenant said...

Oh, Revenant (which I think means daydreaming!) the idea that the Japanese are violently promiscuous (based on what again?)

I said Japan had high rates of promiscuity; only you know what "violently" is supposed to mean. Surveys consistently place Japan near the top of the list of countries when ranked by average number of sex partners.

Japanese Americans have a divorce rate of 2% which is the lowest of any ethnic group in America.

Here's a hint -- Japanese AMERICANS don't live in Japan. Furthermore, divorce rates and promiscuity rates have little to do with each other. A person who has sex with fifty people and then settles down for a monogamous 70-year marriage has still been very promiscuous.

The reason that they don't have AIDS at a very high level in their country must rather be based on closed relationship and a sense of decorum that American leftists who haven't read their Engels haven't got

That's the most idiotic thing I've ever heard.

First of all, Communism is more popular in Japan than it is here, and has been since before the Second World War. Secondly, the REAL reasons for the low rates of HIV transmission are (a) Japan has one of the highest rates of condom use in the world due to the difficulty of acquiting birth control pills and (b) the Japanese tend to be xenophobic and reluctant to have sex with foreigners anyway, which further reduces the rate at which infections enter the country. Thirdly, Japanese relationships are ANYTHING but closed -- brothels are common in Japan, and a high percentage of Japanese husbands frequent them.

Kirby Olson said...

Revenant, you don't want to believe her so you call her a liar.

Kirby Olson said...

It says in your chart that you provide that there are 10 cases of overseas transmission. I'm not talking about 11 cases. I'm just talking about one.

If the condom didn't fit, you must acquit.

Revenant said...

Revenant, you don't want to believe her so you call her a liar.

I call her a liar for the simple reason that the odds that (a) one of the few hundred Japanese women currently dying of AIDS contracted HIV in a manner which exactly duplicates an urban legend and (b) you happen to have a student who knows such a person are vastly lower than the odds that (a) a student is fudging a paper and (b) you're uninformed and unintelligent enough to fall for it. Particularly given that you've proved the "uninformed and unintelligent" bit with your posts here and your deranged conviction that Communism is the root cause of sexual promiscuity.

Here's a hint for when your students submit their next round of papers -- the one about how the students' dad helped fake the Moon Landings won't be true either. And that one about how the girl's mom died because the government used water fluoridation to poison her precious bodily fluids? That won't be true either.

Kirby Olson said...

I still don't think she's a liar. That's a fairly harsh assessment. If this is an Urban Legend (it might be) then consider the first paragraph in Wikipedia on that topic:

"An urban legend or urban myth is a kind of modern folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them."

It may be possible that she picked this up somehow and is circulating it. I think the effectiveness of great numbers of people believing in the Urban Legend is what causes it to be swallowed in the first place.

Believing in communism or socialism however when there is no probability that it will ever work (it never has and has almost always caused enormous disasters in the countries in which it has been made into law) makes me wonder what kind of person would fall for such a thing.

It's not necessarily lack of intelligence per se. Perhaps just simply a lack of observation. I don't know.

In terms of the promiscuity/feminism link it has been shown that if you want women to bond as a class against men you don't want them to be in love with men.

So top feminists such as Catherine McKinnon have actually argued that any heterosexual sex is always already...bada bing... rape.

Promiscuity is ok because it doesn't imply attachment. Attachment in a family between men and women spells disaster for Marxist feminism.

Revenant said...

I still don't think she's a liar.

That's nice.

Beth said...

It may be possible that she picked this up somehow and is circulating it.

She framed it as being about someone she knows. So she's a liar.

Beth said...

So top feminists such as Catherine McKinnon have actually argued that any heterosexual sex is always already...bada bing... rape.

No, she didn't. Do you just blabber and repeat any old thing you hear from the lunatic fringe? Check snopes.com (again!) and you'll find this one debunked, too. In fact, just do any basic google search on "mackinnon sex is rape" and you'll find it debunked.

I am once again reminded of the utter hilarity of the recent post by a commenter on this blog, arguing in complete sincerity that "liberals argue from emotion and conservatives argue from facts."

Ann Althouse said...

What MacKinnon said was that women have eroticized domination. That was a profound and deeply disturbing thing to say.

Fitz said...

“What MacKinnon said was that women have eroticized domination. That was a profound and deeply disturbing thing to say. “

I think its more proper to say that under the feminist dialectic, sex as domination is a reductionist certainty.

That is: the world view they espouse is incapable of transcending a base view of human sexuality and power.

Kirby Olson said...

The following is from an article published in the Nation which I believe is a leftist periodical, and it is written by a lady. So, I think that the usual standpoint ad hominems won't apply. I looked up the phrase "all heterosexual intercourse is rape" and there were 400 hits on Google -- many of which are McDworkin denying they said such a thing. If you read this or a hundred other articles that are in SIGNS, or other journals, or read the very big books those two have published in mainstream presses, you have to wonder why the hush-up is going on. It was s tupid thing to say, or to even suggest. The last time I looked into this was 15 years ago at least, but here is some inkling of it. There's more at McDworkin's Wikipedia page which is mostly about whether or not they ever said this phrase. Seemingly a lot of people besides myself seem to think they have said it, and some even seem to agree with it. I think it was a great thing to say!



Porn in the U.S.A., Part I
Hard Cop, Soft Cop: Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin on Pornography

By Maureen Mullarkey

INTERCOURSE. By Andrea Dworkin. Free Press. 257pp. $19.95.

FEMINISM UNMODIFIED: Discourses on Life and Law. By Catharine A. MacKinnon. Harvard University Press. 315pp. $25.

IS PORNOGRAPHY A SEX AID, like a dildo, hence undeserving of protection as speech? Is it a potent political message that should be denied protection before it leads to a Haymarket riot of rapists and pedophiles? By what criteria is an image determined "degrading"? Is the pet of the month a nastier purveyor of "bad attitudes" than Calvin Klein advertisements, rock videos. Harlequin romances or the New York Post? Is Screw an unusually dangerous product, like gunpowder, which places special liabilities on its maker? What effect will more laws have on the reasons isolated men masturbate in stalls at Mr. Peepers? Will they try it with chickens after they see Leda and the Swan? If Nazis can speak in Skokie and man-haters can speak anywhere, why can misogynists not speak in Indianapolis?

Andrea Dworkin and Catharine A. MacKinnon are not interested in clarifying issues. Co-authors of the 1984 Indianapolis civic ordinance that declared pornography a form of legally actionable sex discrimination, they prefer obfuscation and shock tactics. Intercourse and Feminism Unmodified should be read solely for clues to the crudity of the authors' assault on the First Amendment. This is lock-step, všlkisch theorizing spun from the tribal myth of male depravity. With the dictatorial arrogance of traditional censors, the High Command disdains information and truthful discussion. (At an April 4 conference at New York University, titled Sexual Liberals and the Assault on Feminism, Dworkin trashed "the free market of ideas" because it does not guarantee that "good" ideas will win.) They rely on demagogic pronouncements and sensationalism, calculated to induce reflexive responses and hysterical acquiescence. Both books are ritual performances, hokey rallying points for the real agenda: the polarization of women along lines of sexual preference. Pure feminists (lesbians and nice asexuals) on one side of the sex code, collaborators on the other. The pornography issue is a stalking horse for power-within the feminist bureaucracy and its twin in academia.

Both books travesty debate with a pornography of their own: the reduction of men to their erections and the depiction of heterosexuality as vicious and degrading. Their styles are different-Dworkin is Dzerzhinsky to MacKinnon's Lenin-but their substance is identical. Dworkin's lunatic pensŽes offer a glimpse at the hindside of Mac-Kinnon's scholarly facade. These are the minds paving the way for censorship. The two take turns playing Hitler. The new "Jewish illness'' is male sexuality. The world Jewish conspiracy is heterosexual intercourse (MacKinnon: "The institution of intercourse is a strategy for subordination"). The despised Jew-lover is any woman who prefers sex with a man. Implicit in their rhetoric is a condemnation of maleness itself, sub species aeternitatis.

Dworkin's strong-arm specialty is cunt-speak. Intercourse is a hate-mongering tantrum dolled up as a prolegomenon to the work of Tolstoy, Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin, Kobo Abe and Isaac Bashevis Singer. Nose-dive under the skunk spray, and forget the thirty-four-page bibliography. Dworkin's monomania has nothing to do with literature. Art and life are a ghastly jumble, the artist mistaken for the art and vice versa. Fantasy is equated with reality, metaphor taken for fact, in a global attempt to discredit all of Western culture as pornographic. The muddle fulfills MacKinnon's belief that "existing standards of literature, art, science and politics, examined in a feminist light, are remarkably consonant with pornography's mode, meaning and message." Tolstoy's "goose-stepping hatred of cunt" is a synecdoche for men's universal "genocidal loathing" of women. In the Dworkin-MacKinnon pornotopia, there are only the fuckers and the fuckees. The sooner the fuckers' books are burned the better. Dworkin's readings are shackled like an S/M bondage slave to a primitive abhorrence of men, so blatant and compulsive that it obviates her pretense to critical analysis:

But in the world of real life-and in the subtextual worlds of Brown [Norman 0.] and Freud and nearly everyone else-men use the penis to deliver death to women who are, literally, in their genitals, dirt to men. The women are raped as adults or as children; prostituted; fucked, then murdered; murdered, then fucked.

Beware the party hacks who chirp encomiums to her "elegant" and "lyrical" prose. Dworkin lives in "Amerika," where "violation is a synonym for intercourse," and "incestuous rape is becoming a central paradigm for intercourse in our time." Her own description of intromission is as brutal and lewd as anything on Forty-second Street:

The vagina itself is muscled and the muscles have to be pushed apart. The thrusting is persistent invasion. She is opened up, split down the center. She is occupied. . . . This hole, her hole, is synonymous with entry.

Heterosexuality is on trial in a kangaroo court, and the judge talks dirty. Sex is a "humiliation ritual," and "penetration was never meant to be kind." (MacKinnon: "There is much violence in intercourse as a usual matter.") The "norms of disparagement and cruelty that constitute fucking male-to-female" are so horrific that even Nazi death camps do not compare:

There is no analogue anywhere among subordinated groups of people to this experience of being made for intercourse; for penetration, entry, occupation. There is no analogue in occupied countries or in dominated races or in imprisoned dissidents or in colonized cultures or in the submission of children to adults or in the atrocities that have marked the twentieth century ranging from Auschwitz to the Gulag.

How did the submission of children slip in? What kind of submission? The rant is as slovenly as its innuendoes: "In the United States, incest is increasingly the sadism of choice." Dworkin suggests that incest is a male policy, not an aberrancy that occurs-initiated by both sexes against children of both sexes-in troubled emotional situations for a tangle of tragic reasons. She ignores the shared involvement, conscious or unconscious, of other family members. She does not distinguish between increased incidence of incest and increased reporting of it. (Patricia Foscato, a psychotherapist and coordinator of a sexual-abuse prevention program, testified before the Meese commission that she did not believe there was more incest now than thirty years ago, only "more exposure.")

Dworkin's regard for accuracy, like MacKinnon's, is matched only by her estimate of the reasoning abilities of her audience. Both women swing between biological determinism (the male is destined to exploit by his demonic arousal mechanism) and the wholesale denial of biology. Both grant canonical authority to the fashionable theory that gender is exclusively "a social construct," like the bourgeois-democratic state machine and credit buying. According to the new Ladies' Anthropology, sexual differences are not the sum of biologically determined morphological and physiological characteristics. "Opposites were created," says Dworkin, by such cunning conventions as "vagina-specific fucking," sodomy laws and the "martial aims of gender":

The creation of gender (so-called nature) by law was systematic, sophisticated, supremely intelligent. . . . Fuck the woman in the vagina, not in the ass, because only she can be fucked in the vagina.

MacKinnon states the insight this way:

Gender is ... a social status based on who is permitted to do what to whom. . . . gender is an ideology. . . . Gender has no basis in anything other than the social reality its hegemony constructs. Gender is what gender means.

Neither scholar is concerned with the implications of this hash of sex and sex roles. With its tacit insistence on the absolute rule of social conditioning, for instance, it provides the heterosexual majority with a new rationale for imposing the tyranny of behavior modification on the homosexual minority. If all behavior is stored in culture, including our intuitions of what it means to be human, the problem of incest, for example, can be solved merely by lifting the taboo. If everything is learned, any social system will do, because we can be trained to live in any kind of society. The word "inhuman" loses all meaning without a guide-pin to human needs by which to judge the world.

The distinctive contribution of Feminism Unmodified is its show of reasonableness. It offers itself as precise discourse advancing revolution by systematic means. In reality, it can be called rational only insofar as its staggering obtuseness is the logical consequence of certain fixed ideas. There is an apparent economy to MacKinnon's virulence. She has the intellectual's instinctive gift for using blunter minds for the less amiable aspects of persuasion. The difference is merely one of manners. Dworkin mau-maus the audience with fascist rowdyism. MacKinnon does it with analytic mumbo jumbo ("the marxism-feminism problematic") that cloaks the same dreary aversions and tactics. MacKinnon depends as much as Dworkin on slogans, false premises, half-information, sinister innuendo and ad hoc reasoning.

Feminism Unmodified approaches pornography, among other issues, with a cavalier disregard for due process and a call for mob rule: "So, first feminism, then law." Feminism is defined, in a characteristic blur, as that which "stresses the indistinguishability of prostitution, marriage, and sexual harassment" The book is a dizzying blend of legal references, special pleading and mesmerizing incoherence that reads like a fun-house mirror. MacKinnon strung it together from a series of public speeches. Possibly aware that her personal charisma outweighs her credibility as a theorist, MacKinnon begins: "I want you to hear me speaking, rather than read me writing." The odor of the podium pervades her rhetoric, much of it rabble-rousing or alarmist ("Most women have died without a trace"). Simplification and confusion run riot. The very few facts that appear are so subject to distortion that they cease to inform. For MacKinnon, this is proof that "liberal feminism" has failed:

The rape rate is increasing significantly while the conviction rate for rape is not, in spite of legal changes feminists fought for and won.

What does that mean? Is rape outpacing other violent crimes, which also happen to be rising? To what extent docs the "increase" reflect greater documentation in a climate more supportive of the victim? If the percentage of convictions is stable, can we assume that the number of convictions is keeping up with the number of reported rapes? If reform (such as the "rape shield law," which precludes inquiry into a victim's sexual history except with the accused) has not altered the conviction rate, does that indicate an inadequate legal system? Or does it simply mean that the more protected status of the alleged victim does not override the rights of the defendant? "

MacKinnon's arguments sink into sweeping, indiscriminate accusations that are never substantiated. Her standards of proof tend toward anecdotal evidence and manipulative extrapolations from equivocal data. Her "evidence" is acquired through a process of selective perception that allows her to ignore or disesteem any voice that contradicts her own. Despite considerable testimony that coercion is rare, and unnecessary, in the pom industry, MacKinnon flaunts the "slave training" of Linda Marchiano (Linda Lovelace of Deep Throat) as the norm. The preferences and qualities of judgment of women who work in the pom industry are as various as the women themselves. But MacKinnon reduces all variables to force and torture. Convinced of the "commonalities between convicted rapists and other men," she indulges in statements like this:

"Specific pornography does directly cause some assaults. Some rapes are performed by men with paperback books in their pockets."

Her two footnotes here point to no supporting social science data. The first refers only to MacKinnon's ordinance, and admits that "it would be very difficult to prove 'direct cause.*" The second is a complaint that wonders "how many bodies must pile up" before correlation is equated with causation. In her impatience with court standards for "close and demonstrable cause," she bypasses the obvious. Any sociopath intent on doing sexual harm is likely to enjoy looking at sexually explicit pictures. Anything can provide stimuli for disturbed personalities. The greater the pathology, the harder it is to predict either the stimulus or its result. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or the stigmata of St. Francis might "cause" violent aggression. The 1970 Commission on Obscenity and Pornography found no significant connection between antisocial behavior and pornography. It concluded that most existing legal regulation should be terminated. MacKinnon submits no convincing new evidence- neither does the Meese commission-to change that conclusion.

MacKinnon's bluster is stunning. Faked orgasm is discussed in terms of Cartesian doubt and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Since women are presumed "force-fucked," sexuality is presented in the light of Marx's theory of work. Heterosexual desire is "parallel to value in Marxist theory" because it is not natural but rather "created by social relations." Consecutive thought buckles under all the hulking bombast. The professor's charm derives largely from her unintelligibility:

Sexual is whatever sexual means in a particular society. Sexuality is what sexuality means. This is a political hermeneutical view. Hermeneutics concerns matters of meaning.

In other words, sexuality means whatever she says it means. Language, too, means whatever she wants it to mean. The prose is perfect for terrorizing city fathers and tenure committees. It is a snake pit of hissing jargon that encircles itself and swallows its own tail:

If heterosexuality is the dominant gendered form of sexuality in a society where gender oppresses women through sex, sexuality and heterosexuality are essentially the same thing. This does not erase homosexuality, it merely means that sexuality in that form may be no less gendered. Either heterosexuality is the structure of the oppression of women or it is not.

Agree Or die. Agree or be accused of lying, of "false consciousness," "pimping," "fronting for male power" or "fronting for the ACLU as the ACLU is fronting for the pornographers." (In person, on April 4, MacKinnon scorned objections to her ordinance by the Feminist Anti-Censorship Taskforce as "an address to the penis.")

Her intimidation obscures chronic bad thinking and an inability to define pornography in a useful way. The failure stems from her mistaken assumption that "pornography" is a technical term. It is a subjective, value-laden word that can cover an almost limitless range of utterances beyond those characterized by existing obscenity laws. The dictums denoting obscenity are equally subjective, dependent on the hypothetical "average person" applying hypothetical "community standards." The point at which sexually explicit imagery sacrifices a certain tact and becomes "pornographic" or "humiliating" is determined by the tastes and values of the viewer. Porn-sniffing is a parlor game. One woman's art is another's pornography. One man's filth is another's solace. For some, the moral evaluations in the word "pornography" are better applied to gun magazines, Rambo and Charles Bronson's Death Wish movies. The promiscuous ownership of handguns is more seriously "subordinating" than split-beaver shots and skin flicks.

Bereft of legally significant criteria, MacKinnon takes the view of Justice Potter Stewart: "I know it when I see it." She sees it everywhere. Pornography is not just about sex. It "is sex" and "a form of forced sex." Art and life do not imitate each other, "they are each other." (Dworkin, at the same rally, defined pornography as "that bastard in his collective manifestation.") Small wonder the MacKinnon-Dworkin ordinance was declared unconstitutionally vague.

The Feminist Anti-Censorship Task-force called MacKinnon's ordinance "squarely within the tradition of the sexual double-standard.'' The American Civil Liberties Union amicus brief deemed it "extraordinarily ill-drafted," "fatally overbroad" (its prohibitions would include even clinical literature and illustrations in medical texts), filled with "multiple uncertainties" and "riddled with discriminatory distinctions." Ditto Feminism Unmodified.

MacKinnon's intellectual sloppiness is not surprising in view of her obsession with the supremacy of her own will. The actual empowerment of women in substantive ways is quite beside the point. The key to MacKinnon is in her rage against the Supreme Court's decision on abortion. By invoking the principle of privacy, Roe v. Wade granted women the right to choose abortion on grounds that did not require dangerous definitions of life, nonlife or, worse, life-unworthy-of-life. The humane caution of the decision is intolerable to MacKinnon:

"Why should women not make life and death decisions?" The thrill is gone if she cannot play God. The right to privacy is a mere vanity of the hated "liberal myth structure." She stamps her foot and declares that women will not be equal until the Court recognizes the right to abort as residing exclusively in the will to abort. In MacKinnon's capricious lexicon, equality is a variant of carte blanche ("unencumbered possibilities"). She musters support for her position by stating, falsely, that the privacy principle necessarily cuts women off from state funding for abortion. It does not. Her attempt to fudge the difference between two separate issues is flatly dishonest.

The eye for smut is sharper than the eye for our own subterranean biases and fears. Behind the catch phrases of the porn squad ("subordination of women," "trafficking in women's bodies") crouches the tattered old horror of masturbation. Lurking, too, is the ancient repugnance of the Better Sort for the desolate and down-and-out who inhabit porn districts. The sexuality of "that element" is a menacing nether world, condemned as obscene because it reminds us of the fragility of our well-being. Antiporn crusades are a symbolic barrier between us and them, illusory buffers against all wayward, darkling encroachments on our slender margins of safety. Such movements are cruel in that they fail to address the conditions that help create and sustain "offensive" populations of the economically or emotionally disenfranchised. They divert scarce resources from the enforcement of existing sanctions against actual harmful behavior. In addition, they contribute nothing to the material ability of women to leave abusive relationships or exploitative jobs.

MacKinnon and Dworkin are mountebanks strutting on a feminist stage. Women have much to lose by submitting to the regressive "protection" of these neobarbaric thought police and self-appointed arbiters of "correct" sexuality. Despite the reservations we might have about pornography, the only proven danger to date is the censorship mentality itself. There is no constitutional protection for women or men against uncertainty, ambivalence, dread or distaste. These are the hazards of living. By seeking legislation against speculative perils and whatever offends us, we invite suppression of any controversial speech. Such censorship is the cherished technique of every Führer who claims to know what is good for us.

Reprinted from The Nation, May 30, 1987

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Beth said...

Kirby, you could post one or two paper written by me as an undergrad criticizing Dworkin and MacKinnon; their pornography argument shaped me, in reaction, as a First Amendment feminist. It still doesn't make your spiel anymore lucid, or change the fact that you misquote and distort throughout this thread.

Kirby Olson said...

I wouldn't mind posting your undergraduate papers Beth but since you are too afraid to put your entire name down it might be difficult to find them.

But as a first amendment feminist you certainly would allow me then the right to have a little fun pushing the envelope and seeing what kinds of piranha fish live in these waters.

It's just so interesting: we have such a lovely community in which 90% of the commentators prefer to remain anonymous even when writing about a text which was originally published under the anonymous moniker. Akademia and its amazing first amendment feminists.

Let a hundred flowers bloom, Beth.

Beth said...

"allow me then the right to have a little fun pushing the envelope and seeing what kinds of piranha fish live in these waters"

I have no clue what you mean, Kirby. But I'm glad you're having fun.

Kirby Olson said...

I'm glad you're glad.