There have been some interesting opinion pieces and blog posts out on the interwebs the last couple of days, most of which relate to how certain groups of people pass judgment on other groups of people. For not having sex! For not wanting sex! For being “bad” parents! For enjoying porn! For being female! Since I don’t have time, energy (or coherent thoughts) to generate free-standing posts about all this stuff right now, I figured I’d share the links with y’all and let you generate conversation as you will.
Let’s start off with a couple of posts in response to Erica Jong, who thinks women of my generation (20s and 30s) aren’t having enjoy of the kind of sex she thinks we ought to be having:
Arwyn @ Raising My Boychick | Dear Erica Jong.
I don’t know what issues you have with your daughter, or why you think extrapolating from (your understanding of) her to every other woman in her generation is such a brilliant idea, but when you say things like:
Better to give up men and sleep with one’s children. Better to wear one’s baby in a man-distancing sling and breast-feed at all hours so your mate knows your breasts don’t belong to him. Our current orgy of multiple maternity does indeed leave little room for sexuality. With children in your bed, is there any space for sexual passion?
I truly wonder what universe you’re living in, or why you think you understand my life and my motivations so well, when you are so very wrong.
Courtney @ Feministing | Erica Jong Thinks Your Not Having Enough Sex.
For starters, let’s talk about myopia. It’s not okay to make vast generalizations about entire generations based on your own daughter and four of your literary friends. Ever. Jong writes, “Everywhere there are signs that sex has lost its frisson of freedom.” If that were the case, why didn’t she use a few of these abundant examples to make her case?
By my estimation, there are actually counter-examples here, there, and everywhere–young women taking up space, advocating for a full spectrum of sexual desires and experiences, asking tough questions about monogamy, essentially taking the “free love” movement that Jong seems so nostalgic for and analyzing it with a truly 21st century lens. Contrary to being a clinical rejection of passion, the internet is often a wild west of sexual exploration and expression, and young feminists are very often at the helm. Our own Professor Foxy’s much-missed sex column was a prime example, as is Jaclyn Friedman’s work, like she and Jessica’s co-edited anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, which has influenced many, many young people across the country. Hell, Samhita’s got a book coming out on this very topic.
Naomi Wolf, meanwhile, is fearful (once again) that pornography is causing us to want too much of the wrong kinds of sex. Or rather, fearful that porn is making men was too much of the wrong kinds of sex. Noah Brand weighs in:
Noah Brand @ No Seriously, What About Teh Menz? | Oh, Naomi Wolf.
Ms. Wolf, do you know what a kinkmeme is? Do you know how strap-ons are selling these days? Do you know what M/M romance novels even are, much less who writes them? Have you read Katharine Gates? Or even Susie Bright? Or fucking Fandom!Secrets? What dusty antiquarian archive are you excavating your assumptions from, that you can sit there with what I presume to be an absolutely straight face and ask “Is pornography driving men crazy?” Every word in that question is based on a wrong assumption except for “is”. You don’t know what pornography is, who’s consuming it, how it’s affecting them, or what crazy is.
Awesome new blog, by the way … if you’re not already following it I highly recommend that you do so!
Elsewhere in the world, folks are wondering whether children’s weight directly correlates with their parents’ ability to be “good” parents … and whether children classified as obese should be removed from their homes:
Associated Press @ NPR | Should Parents Lose Custody of Super Obese Kids?
Should parents of extremely obese children lose custody for not controlling their kids’ weight? A provocative commentary in one of the nation’s most distinguished medical journals argues yes, and its authors are joining a quiet chorus of advocates who say the government should be allowed to intervene in extreme cases.
It has happened a few times in the U.S., and the opinion piece in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association says putting children temporarily in foster care is in some cases more ethical than obesity surgery.
If I had more of a brain right now, I’d try to write a post about my deep, deep reservations concerning this. The short version is that it implies that parents of children with weight-related health problems are BAD parents. This makes sense in a society that sees weight as a moral as well as a medical issue … adults who are viewed as overweight are “bad” people; by analogy, young children who are overweight are being parented by “bad” parents. I’m also concerned that the journal article apparently sets up a false dichotomy between foster care and obesity surgery. Say what?
I haven’t seen any fat activist blogs pick this story up yet, but will add links as I do. If anyone reading this post has any good ones, throw them in comments please!
My friend Minerva has authored a two-part post her experience as an asexual within Christian Catholicism.
Minerva @ Hypomnemata | The Back Pew: Asexuality and Christianity Part One and Part Two.
I’m going to state up front that in my experience of Christianity, there is in fact little encouragement or acceptance of asexuality. Celibacy, yes. Asexuality, no. Given what is generally known about some of Christianity’s prohibitive notions about sexuality, it is hard at first glance to see how this would be the case. First off, an important point to make is that asexuality doesn’t necessarily mean chaste, so the argument about encouragement because of assumed sexual purity doesn’t hold water. I think there are two additional arguments beyond this to make about sexual attraction/desire which do address asexuality directly: that Christianity normalizes the existence of sexual attraction/desire, even while policing the expression of that desire, and that it establishes a hierarchy of spiritual attainment based on negation and dichotomy which is seen to unravel in the absence of sexual attraction/desire.
And finally, for those of you who haven’t been following the Richard-Dawkins-Behaves-Like-An-Asshole-Towards-Female-Atheist-Being-Female (or have, but want more!), here is a great synopsis/round-up of the whole kerfluffle in a single post:
Mary @ Geek Feminism Blog | Sexual harassment discussion in the skeptical and atheist communities.
That’s my bolt for mid-week reading, folks. What’s been keeping all of you busy between the business of life off the internets?