First of let me apologize for the lack of posts lately–BTW has been absent due to my mental depression combined with e-slice who has been preoccupied due to the visiting of family. These things happen, but the blog shall continue. So!
If you’re a fan of the website Jezebel, you’ll know that they do ‘Pot Psychology’ on Fridays, where they smoke weed and answer reader’s questions while high. Well, I’ve decided to do a different take on that. I’ve decided to drink a bottle (or two) of wine while reading (for the first time) and responding to Jane Sexes It Up (by Merri Lisa Johnson) and see what drunken blogging mind-vomit comes of it. Knowing me it will be either completely crappy blather or completely un-noticeably drunk…it’s experimental, peeps. So run with it.
Jane Sexes It Up is a third-wave reader that takes on the sex-positive feminist realm—the “new” ideas that to be feminist you can still be pro-sex and pro-sexuality; that to describe feminism as anti-sex (as many third-wave feminist claim second-wave feminists did) is not only blatantly incorrect but marginalizes many heterosexual feminist women and women who enjoy sex. And so now we shall begin the reading of the book.
“The longing for a man to make each of us feel necessary surrounds young women, is sedimented stubbornly in our most fundamental emotional fibers […] The contradictions of romance and feminism form the very curl and thread of our cultural DNA.”
Sixteen pages in and already I am feelin’ this book. I’ve battled the seeming contradictions of feminist and romance for quite a while now—perhaps you could say it has become my handicap in life.
In college I lived in a house with nine heterosexual smart assertive feministingly-inclined women, and subsequently was privy to all of their (and obviously my) trials and tribulations of the college dating world—the ones who had long-term boyfriends, the ones who had one-night flings, the ones who held their hearts out, the ones who refused advances, the ones who hesitatingly took that first step, the ones that flirted only while drunk, the ones who sobbed at heartbreak. We were all trying to figure out how to give ourselves up to another (male) while still retaining ourselves to ourselves (female). We were never your “Girls Gone Wild” college girls who believed power was retained through multiple flashings of boobs or drunken hookups (although those things happened once in a blue moon as these things may happen). We were strong women trying to figure out how to remain strong sex-positive feminists in an American society that held either Abstinence or Playboy as our only two options. We weren’t having either of those polarizing standards, and so we had to figure out how and where we stood as strong-yet-letting-guys-in women.
For me (an admitted bitterly-wronged woman due to past horrific boyfriends kind of gal) it became difficult to discuss relationships because there became a wall—to admit romantic inclination seemed as if I was giving up the rational mind for the relationship mind, denying my academic feminist roots for what (gasp of horror) those other (“unenlightened”) girls did—grasp for a man who would “complete” them. In my determination to make sure the MRS wasn’t my collegiate goal, that my life wasn’t defined by relationships, I became the girl who refused to be in relationships period, as if to do so may taint my individuality. I found reasons to leave, reasons to not begin, reasons to stay masochistic in my relationships rather than fall for happy relationships, which I saw as contradictory to my beliefs. I denied so many guys whom I should have given a chance, yet didn’t. Hindsight tells me how wrong I was, but at the time I couldn’t figure it out.
“The college-educated class may be hip to the exploitation of women’s bodies—as sex objects, cheap labor, incubators—and most of us girls know something about becoming the man we want to marry, how women can and should complete ourselves. Yet somewhere between knowing and living, the ground gapes open and we fall down.“
During my third year of college I came home after a glowingly fantastic date with a great guy. My housemates were sitting watching TV as I slung myself onto the couch and started sobbing hysterically. Later they told me their thoughts ran wild—thinking that he had hit me, had hurt me—when in fact he had been perfect. But I didn’t know what to do with that. The contradictions of feminism and romance had got to me. I knew he wasn’t supposed to complete me, that that was up to me to complete me, and yet something inside of me wanted him to complete me. If I let him in, if I let this good guy in, if I truly opened up, what would that mean? I still don’t know the answer to that, because I never let it happen–I literally left the country, and when I came back I made sure to not have room for him.
To this day I still don’t let it happen, and I’m only now willing to admit that that in itself is a fault.
I constantly grapple with sex-positive feminism because I simply don’t know how to be sex-positive without giving part of myself away. I don’t want the sexual horizon to be our fight– as was discussed earlier on this blog, Carrie Bradshaw may fight that sexual glass ceiling, yet does that represent our culture today? A woman who will break the sex class ceiling yet won’t break the political glass ceiling –really a question of which is more important?
I don’t know about you, but I always fight a battle between my rhetoric feminist self and who I emotionally really am. (Example: The side of me that knows eating disorders are wrong and the side of me that admits that I deal with that daily.) This is why I embrace third-wave feminism–because, as discussed in Not My Mother’s Sister, it’s a feminism that will “fuck with the grays,” that will deal with the contradictions between the ideology that is feminism and the reality that is me. This is the book, the feminism, that admits that this contradiction is an issue, that this is a fight, that feminism can’t be black and white. I’m drunk and one chapter into Jane Sexes It Up and already I appreciate it.
So! Drunk me wants to know–you females in relationships or not, you males in relationships or not, how do you deal with these supposed evil twins, with the “feminist” you and the “wanting relationship” you? Is there such a divide? How do you deal with sex-positive (married-positive, romantic-positive) you and feminist-positive you? (Or am I just drunk?)