Friday, June 8, 2007

Feminisaurus Sex - The most evident and lasting effect of feminism on young women has been to make the stereotypically boorish behavior of young males paradigmatic for young females. As much has been said repeatedly elsewhere, and as of late has been documented in two new books that examine the sex lives of college students by way of vignettes. Unprotected comes to us by way of an "anonymous" UCLA psychiatrist (the physician formerly known as Miriam Grossman, M.D.). Unhooked is a recent entry by Washington Post writer Laura Sessions Stepp. Where Unhooked details how college-age women use sex as a way to gain male attention, prestige within their peer group, and the all-important sense of being "in control" of situations around them, Unprotected reveals how themes of political correctness prevent colleges from providing a safe haven for the most vulnerable of students.

To be sure, colleges no longer see their role as acting in loco parentis. But the modern day campus is part primordial sexual swamp and part hospital ward for those who have been wounded in latter-day wars of the sexes (which in most cases take place on battlefields more noteworthy for their appearance of conjugacy than bellicosity.) In Unprotected, Ms. Grossman elaborates on the shifting attitudes that hinder her and other student counselors from having meaningful dialog with co-eds.

Radical politics pervades my profession, and common sense has vanished. Not long ago, a psychiatrist might call casual sexual activity "mindless" and "empty." Before political correctness muzzled our nation in the nineties, a campus physician might advise a student that it is love and lifelong fidelity that bring joy and liberated sensuality...We understood then that men and women are profoundly different, and weren't afraid to say so. It was clear that liaisons outside a committed relationship could be hazardous, and a young woman would be wise to wait until someone serious came along...Self restraint built character, and character was something to strive for.

Things have changed. Now young people are advised to use latex, and have a limited number of partners (as opposed to unlimited?). There is tacit approval of promiscuity and experimentation...Infection with one of the sexually transmitted viruses is a rite of passage; it comes with the territory. Abortion is the removal of unwanted tissue, sort of like a tonsillectomy.
Throughout her book, Dr. Grossman describes patients who come to her in their hours of darkness and depression, whether it involves a breakup of a relationship, an unexpected pregnancy or an sexually transmitted disease. Because of the pervasive liberal ethic on college campuses presently, Grossman finds herself hindered in giving students meaningful advice. And so it goes that liberalism's underlying narrative is unspooled; its ideals - however untested or impractical - must trump an individual's personal safety, their values and ideals, even their life. As much has been demonstrated vis-a-vis the Left's attitudes on matters of race, education and national security.

For her part,
Stepp allows her readers to get to know several young women over a period of months. She also gives her charges leave to express themselves in their own words, while reserving the right to elaborate on the situations experienced by the women in question, as she does for a female college student pseudonymously named "Shaida."
One thing [Shaida] learned - and it was significant - was that in crafting her own sexual persona, she did not want to adopt a male model of hit-and-run. When sex is only about one person's enjoyment or need for power, someone almost always gets hurt. And that someone is frequently a woman who ends up blaming herself, particularly if she initiated the action. The personal is not just political. It's also personal, sometimes too much so. As some older feminists could have told her, sexual experimentation can be both fun and confidence-boosting, but only if the partners respect and trust each other and themselves.
Stepp's commentary is noteworthy for being rich with bitter irony, in that "some older feminists" would have been the first to encourage Shaida to "adopt a male model" of sexuality. In Stepp's account, Shaida shares her experience of so-called "grey rape," (where a woman is too inebriated or otherwise not in a position to grant or deny consent for sex.) In their efforts to assume a casual attitude towards sex itself, many of today's young women have given their male counterparts license to treat them as disposable - both sexually and otherwise.

To be sure, feminism did not encourage femininity in any respect; in the main, feminism posited that stereotypically feminine traits were less than desirable and that women should focus on being assertive in both the professional and personal realms. Having only been successful in stripping young women of their essential female identity, feminism has created its own sexual Frankenstein, a carnal monster - or more precisely, a sexual zombie, as women seem to need to disassociate their emotional selves from their physical behavior.

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