June 22, 2009

"With its emphasis on equitable marriage, 'choice feminism' has endorsed a tyrannical habit of trying to subordinate passion to reason."

"... And along the way it has demonized obsession. What, [Cristina] Nehring asks, is so wrong with being crazy in love? At the core of this polemic lurks the age-old dilemma of how we resolve our desire for security with our need for passion. Nehring's answer is simply: Let go of security and embrace the radical alertness that comes with the fullness of feeling."

Are you alert? Radically alert? Don't get too comfortable!

13 comments:

MadisonMan said...

I would read this book, but some years ago Ms. Nehring wrote an article for the NYT titled Books make you a boring person and I don't want to be boring.

John said...

That is funny Madison Man. Certainly reading Megan O'Rourke will make you a boring person. After suffering through her rather pointless review, I am left wondering is there any act no matter how self centered that some woman can't turn into a book deal justifying? If women want to screw up their lives by marying exciting but unstable and manipulative men, good for them. They just need to shut up about how hard it is. Instead, they marry self destructive and abusive men by choice. And then they tell the world what victims they are. Sorry honey, when you know what you are getting into and chose it anyway, you are not a victim or in any way sypathetic.

Ann Althouse said...

"Sorry honey, when you know what you are getting into and chose it anyway, you are not a victim or in any way sypathetic."

Is there a claim of victimhood? I thought it was a way to *own* all the suffering and passion of crazy love — to say I *mean* to do this — and I look down on the comfy, cozy, passionless marriages you other people have.

John said...

"Is there a claim of victimhood? I thought it was a way to *own* all the suffering and passion of crazy love — to say I *mean* to do this — and I look down on the comfy, cozy, passionless marriages you other people have."


True enough Ann. It still strikes me as being on the level of a 17 year old girl telling her parents they just don't understand after being told she can't date the local deliquent. There is something really bizzare about the whole thing. It is like people who defend Bob Knight by saying "but his kids all get an education". Yeah, that is true but why does he have to choke and abuse them to make sure they get an education.

Yeah, a woman may be "in love" with some abusive or unstable man. But is it really that hard to fall in love with someone who is stable? And doesn't the fact that this woman can't seem to do so, say more about her and her self abusive neurosis than it does about her crazy husband?

Everyone has had situations where you loved the person but realized that it couldn't work for whatever reason. And so you walk away, feel bad for a while and find someone new it can work with. It is called being an adult. That seems to be something no one wants to be anymore.

Quayle said...

The debate between passion and reason is the biggest book seller in feminism.

We're at the point now that we're seeing a split in the ranks, where some writers are passionate about the debate over passion and reason, and other writers are attempting a more reasoned approach.

Meanwhile, therapy is a must, in order to get in touch with one’s feelings, and to have them at hand in case one needs to follow them, if and when the above debate is resolved in favor of passion.

Beth said...

First-wave feminists were all about subordinating passion to reason. And it's still a good way to make decisions. It doesn't mean you can't be swoony and in love, it just means you aren't led about by any little force that moves you.

Meade said...

Beth: I like it. Could even be called post post-feminist.

A 21st century Abigail Adams might say, "Respect us as equals. We're not giving back any hard-won rights. But love us as women."

traditionalguy said...

The confused feminists actually believe that the are rational and that they are chosing perfect relationships that they imagine exist. Sorry ladies, but girls are wounded at early ages in a family of origin, and their later choices are usually seeking to re-enact that family drama and fix it. Only a healing journey assisted by safe counselors will ever lead to the end of this forced journey. In the meantime, the passionate man they are running after is a mirage craftily played upon them by a deciever.And these self-help books are only written to make money giving names to a problem that they never fix.

bagoh20 said...

When women say they want it all, they mean it.

I could do this all day.

former law student said...

I got a more coherent sense of this book from Katie Roiphe's NYT review yesterday. Nehring -- age unknown -- seems to me to be a sort of bourgeois revolutionary. Only someone who never missed a meal would be fascinated with going hungry. Only a woman who had never been beaten by her slacker layabout boyfriend would disparage partnership, stability, and comfort.

Her romanticism seems to be pure idealism and idiocy.

John said...

Former Law Student once again you are spot on. That is exactly right. This woman should spend a few days at a women's shelter and talk to those women about the joys of sacrificing for love.

bagoh20 said...

If you enjoy your passion, then it is entirely reasonable to pursue it with abandon for maximum enjoyment.
-
What is well-reasoned about denying yourself a major component of life. To succeed at this would be simulated corpsehood. There is plenty of time later for that.

Night2night said...

I think it's more complicated than portrayed by my fellow commenters. I've known people who've pursued dating as if it's some pattern matching process (I remember geographically undersirable tags friends would give to certain dates) with the highest match yielding the best result. Yet to be in love almost seems to mandate the abandonment of certain logical constraints (although not necessarily all). "Eros" is not purely a rational process. I think we miss something if we insist passion can be well directed and managed. There is some irony that we seem to be susceptible to the highest degree of happiness and joy when we are most vulnerable.