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Friday, March 5, 2010

Caught between casual sex and domesticity, women find regrets and false promises of empowerment

I'm liking this article by Jessica Grose, The Shame Cycle: The new backlash against casual sex, for the way she succintly ties feminist history and today's climate to real women's lives.

Grose talks about about why women might regret their casual sexual encounters and instead hanker for domesticity; one idea I want to add to that pot is--what ever happened to valuing the quality of relationships?  We don't think it's liberating, empowering, or fun to have a short, meaningless friendship, so why would having a sexual fling *not* take an emotional toll?  In wanting to be tough and independent, women have no space to think they deserve a loving, committed partner--and as Grose points out, when we crave that closeness with someone, we reprimand ourselves for being a crybaby who may as well aspire to '50s housewifery.  Women try so hard to deflect the demeaning stereotype of femininity as emotional PMS-induced hysteria, that we end up isolating ourselves socially.  And what exactly is powerful about that?

American pop culture tells us that sexuality is empowering.  But, in a way, not much has changed from women's powerless historical role: for today's Kill Bill-inspired feminists, sexuality remains wrapped in the pressure to *be sexy* for someone else...and to add insult to injury, we're now expected to somehow own and enjoy that feeling.

Rachel Simmons sums it up well in her post on hook-up culture, "As authors like Ariel Levy and Jean Kilbourne and Diane Levin have shown, the sexualization of girls and young women has been repackaged as girl power. Sexual freedom was supposed to be good for women, but somewhere along the way, the right to be responsible for your own orgasm became the privilege of being responsible for someone else’s."

Update:  More on the freedoms and debate about hook-up culture by Shira Tarrant.

1 comment:

  1. I may say that this short blog about woman is really empowering enough. Just reading this makes me more aware about this matter. I guess I want to know more about having casual sex because I am just afraid to be in a situation that I don’t want to be.