My Morning Google Reader time is very, very precious to me. For the past few days I have been keeping track of various threads following the article published in the September Issue of Cosmo which talks about “Gray Rape”. I don’t read Cosmo, and I won’t waste your time chronicling the debate back and forth about it, my honest two cents on the subject is that there is nothing “gray” about rape. I mean seriously, in the name of all things equal, why would it be in anyone’s best interest to create a term that deliberately obscures something that women have been fighting since the dawn of creation to define as something that is only black and white?? And SWEET JESUS!! It’s a term coined by a woman….
In all of my thread following I came across an article published in the Washington Post last year by Laura Sessions Stepp. She’s the author of the book Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both. Yikes….. Limiting much? I particularly enjoy the definition of hooking up (and ps I think the fact that she needs to define it sort of hints at who her demographic is….) in which she speaks of hooking up to include a variety of activities from kissing to intercourse, but that using that particular label is to “conceal what you’ve done, and you can talk yourself into thinking that it doesn’t really matter.” She also argues that women don’t really like going to bars, they just think they do….. God, nothing drives me crazier than a woman telling other women what they THINK. Her solution to this barhopping madness is to get to the kitchen! (Barefoot, I assume?) And create baked goods!…. Because no man can resist baked goods!
I wish I were kidding.
Stepp, in a somewhat cheap attempt to frighten young women into a chaste lifestyle argues that women’s bodies, unlike when men climax, produce oxytocin, a warm and fuzzy hormone that screams MATE FOR LIFE!!! And that the supply of oxytocin a woman has is NOT limitless, and unless she is careful and somewhat monogamous her body will stop producing oxytocin! Yes ladies, you can use all of your orgasms up…. One day they’ll just STOP! And then you’ll go blind and hair will grow on your palms.
But my favorite reading material of Stepp’s thus far (and she’s about to become a blogging regular as I have just added her to my Google Reader) is the aforementioned Post piece from last year in which she makes the horribly intentional and ignorant mistake of blaming the next generation of sexually independent young women for the increase in erectile dysfunction in college aged men. Yes, college aged men going soft… urban myth? Sadly no, one university professor reported that 30% of his patients complaining of erectile dysfunction were under the age of 30.
With what do we pin the blame on the donkey, so to speak?? Diet, exercise, use of anti-depressants, alcohol, smoking, drugs, lack of sleep and anxiety…. Stepp leaves a laundry list of excuses which takes up about an inch of space in her three page column. The rest is interview after interview of college male who just can’t get it up for assertive girls.
It seems that the one thing sure to take the wind out of the sails of one confident college senior is an aggressive woman. He whines that with increased sexual awareness and knowledge comes intense pressure for young guys. I guess things were easier when women didn’t know what there clitorises were? “For a sizeable number of men, the fact that they can get sex whenever they want may have created a situation where, in fact, they’re unable to have sex. According to surveys, young women are now as likely as young men to have sex and by countless reports also as likely to initiate sex, taking away from males the age-old erotic power of the chase.” Note incredibly scientific data present – sizeable numbers of men and countless reports of women- totally quantifiable.
Now that younger women are more aware of their bodies and what it takes to satisfy their sexual needs, they’re being just plain old demanding! And this demand of consistent sexual satisfaction is what Dr. Sawyer, who teaches a course on Human Sexuality at the University of Maryland, says is the key contributing factor to the low self-esteem in the bedroom department in younger males. Sawyer, who is the father of three girls says, “a young woman speaking her mind is a good thing, but it comes at a price. It’s turned into ED in men you normally wouldn’t think would have ED”
And just so you’re down with the lingo, ED is erectile dysfunction, and it is the politically correct label for impotence. Stepp educates her readers by reminding us that impotence is not an appropriate word to use because of its literal meaning –lack of power. We can’t use that word, (especially in front of the penis!) or we might accidentally clue men into the very real possibility that the sexual playfield might actually be leveling, that power, authority and dominance aren’t necessarily attributes that can only be associated with the male.
And it’s not just the sexual awareness and increased libido in women that bothers Stepp, it’s that these women seem on the whole to be more involved in their studies and careers than building lasting emotional relationships while in college, or intellect and drive is a boner-crusher. Huh? I’m sorry, do women go to college to learn, or get married? I’m confused here. Women should stop being concerned with being the smart cookie, and learn how to make the cookie instead? In order to maintain the structure of confidence and domination that she’s used to, she’s urging young women to return to modesty, and naiveté.
I think my main beef with this article and most other things I’ve read from Stepp are that she’s vehemently opposed to a level sexual playing field. She’s too quick to blame the entire feminist movement before considering for one second that perhaps increased sexual awareness has led young men to want to have sexual relationships with women they care about and find attractive. Would that be so bad? To erase stereotypes of men sleeping with anything in a skirt? To banish all notions of women as conquest? The concept of sex and love as separate entities are confusing enough without implying that the two must coincide for the real sparks to fly. In a way, isn’t it a sign of true liberation for any person, male or female, to understand their body and crave somewhat temporary state of intimacy in order to satisfy their sexual needs? That’s a level of self actualization that most women don’t reach until way after college. It may not be the way that you or I might go about it, but it’s better than looking for validation in the backseat of a Taurus or searching for emotional completeness in someone else, right?
A true feminist argues for equality in the workplace, in the bedroom, and on the home front. Third-wave feminism isn’t about equality for women; it’s about equality between the sexes. It’s about recognizing limitations placed on gender in an effort to strive for equality in the socio-sexual dynamic. I’ll sidestep the limitations placed on my fellow sisters, but speaking on the behalf of my younger male colleagues, I’m sorry that this woman has limited you as being unable to desire emotional and sexual compatibility at the cost of your manhood….