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January 28, 2006 3:46 PM   Subscribe

Naomi Wolf has amused us before with her antics, now it looks like she's found Jesus. Is this a bid for attention in the face of drooping book sales, or is this an earnest extension of a pattern of harebrained logic? [mi] [via]
posted by mowglisambo (69 comments total)

 
I don't doubt that the woman is in pain, and perhaps in search of answers, but she seems to continually lash out at the wrong sources, in the wrong ways, in a way that makes her motives suspect. Germaine Greer rips her a new one in a recent radio debate [real video link!], but this gave me only limited satisfaction as I disgree with the philosophies put forth by both women.
posted by mowglisambo at 3:47 PM on January 28, 2006


Wolf announced that she had been struggling with a midlife crisis a few years ago when she went into "a light meditative state." That's when it happened: "I was completely dumbfounded but I actually had this vision of Jesus."

Funny, I thought it was just the wine and Xanax talking...
posted by frogan at 3:58 PM on January 28, 2006


Didn't Anne Rice just pull exactly the same thing?
posted by Ryvar at 4:00 PM on January 28, 2006


I admit, my initial reaction while reading the links was "so what? Why should spiritual awakening and conversion to Christianity be considered antithetical to feminism, etc?"

But then I read on. My goodness. I've certainly not had an "experience" like hers. I suppose she's the only one who can really judge the significance of it. But my goodness.
posted by JekPorkins at 4:01 PM on January 28, 2006


That's the thing. If you dont spend your teens and twenties doing a few drugs, getting fucked up, and dabbling in the occult then the first weird thing that happens to you must be the local popular diety's working. Blah, amateur.
posted by skallas at 4:03 PM on January 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Ha! I read this and dyslexically put "Klein" in place of "Wolf"
and I despaired, until, reading the 'found jesus' link I realized my mistake.

so does this mean I shouldn't read the copy of Promiscuities that's on my "to be read" shelf? It's now only 1-2 in from the top.
posted by Busithoth at 4:04 PM on January 28, 2006


Didn't Anne Rice just pull exactly the same thing?

Well, in her case it was absinthe and Xanax, but still...
posted by frogan at 4:04 PM on January 28, 2006


If you dont spend your teens and twenties doing a few drugs, getting fucked up, and dabbling in the occult then the first weird thing that happens to you must be the local popular diety's working. Blah, amateur.

Well played, amigo. Well played.
posted by frogan at 4:05 PM on January 28, 2006


This just in: boomers facing mortality and the end of their fifteen minutes of fame clutch Jeeebus to their ageing bosoms.
posted by orthogonality at 4:06 PM on January 28, 2006


Nah, Anne Rice just woke up one day and realized that a filthy rich person like her should be living in La Jolla, not stinky old New Orleans. The "spiritual awakening" thing was just a pretext so that people wouldn't know she was really just trying to get out of the humidity.

Or maybe she had a premonition about future events in N.O. . . .
posted by JekPorkins at 4:07 PM on January 28, 2006


No, Jek. She's just a bitch.

/experience
posted by brundlefly at 4:09 PM on January 28, 2006


Apart from Namoi Wolf, the collection of links is a nice example of how the mainstream media is full of itself, and full of shit, and focused on all the wrong things, not to mention chronically unable to get the facts right.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:23 PM on January 28, 2006


Her take on porn is helarious. The reason men arn't intrested in her couldn't be that she's 40, it's all the porno out there!

Although the idea of a particular 'look' being 'fasionable' while naked does make sense, with more porn comes higher standards of 'naked' beauty, and it's a lot harder to look good naked then it is to look good with clothes on if you have an OK body.
posted by delmoi at 4:54 PM on January 28, 2006


Interesting article. Thanks for posting.

Spirituality is a strange and unpredictable thing in people's lives.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 5:25 PM on January 28, 2006


Hoo boy.

I read The Beauty Myth when it first came out, and haven't revisited it since, but it struck me at the time as, despite all its ramshackle argumentation, as at least the opening of a door to a subject that needed then-- and still needs today, discussing-- and at length.

delmoi, your comment: The reason men arn't intrested in her couldn't be that she's 40, it's all the porno out there!is wrong in all kinds of ways-- I wouldn't even know how to start, actually-- but kinda brings up at least a few of the issues. How getting older puts a cage around women, the judgement meted out based on looks rather than merit, the standards for female appearance in the public realm, the whole nasty tangle of power and what men will pay for prettiness and what women will pay to get it.
posted by jokeefe at 5:26 PM on January 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Well, there's a fair chunk of porn that creates a cartoonish parody of beauty (obvious fake boobs, collagened lips, acrylic nails, bleached hair, etc.) that moves beyond what I think most people would consider the height of beauty. There's natural beauty (for the miniscule percentage of humanity that can meet those standards), there's a reasonable simulation acquired through some combination of surgery and cosmetology, and then there's the OTT porn star look that seems to be all about exaggerated physical elements that don't look plausibly natural or even harmonious any more.

Fashionable nudity: I always thought Anne Hollander's Seeing Through Clothes did a much better job on that topic than anythign Wolf has written.
posted by maudlin at 5:29 PM on January 28, 2006


Ugh. Wish I could edit that for punctuation and stuff. Oh well.

I wish the criticisms against Wolf could at least be focused on her writing, rather than her looks, her private life, her privileged upbringing, her divorce, etc. Not that she hasn't used some of that for her raw material, but her work hasn't been autobiography, it's been scholarship, albeit flawed. I'd be interested to hear the Germaine Greer interview... I think I'll listen to it right now, actually. Thanks for the link, mowglisambo.
posted by jokeefe at 5:30 PM on January 28, 2006


Germaine Greer rips her a new one in a recent radio debate

That's so odd. I just listened to it. No, she doesn't. She doesn't at all. It was a fascinating exchange, but never less than respectful.
posted by jokeefe at 5:45 PM on January 28, 2006


I don't mean this in I'd "I'd hit that" way, but I find her very attractive.
posted by callmejay at 5:54 PM on January 28, 2006


(Not to say I wouldn't. Just trying not to be fark.)
posted by callmejay at 5:54 PM on January 28, 2006


(Glad I cleared that up.)

*exits metafilter for the evening*
posted by callmejay at 5:55 PM on January 28, 2006


delmoi, your comment: The reason men arn't intrested in her couldn't be that she's 40, it's all the porno out there!is wrong in all kinds of ways-- I wouldn't even know how to start, actually-- but kinda brings up at least a few of the issues. How getting older puts a cage around women, the judgement meted out based on looks rather than merit, the standards for female appearance in the public realm, the whole nasty tangle of power and what men will pay for prettiness and what women will pay to get it.

Wrong in all kinds of ways except for in fact.

Besides, there's all kinds of MILF porn out there.
posted by delmoi at 6:10 PM on January 28, 2006


Jokeefe, it's true it was a respectful exchange. But I think Greer's words were nonetheless harsh-- accusing Wolf of defecting from the pack using all this Freudian mumbo jumbo. That's gotta be rough coming from your "heroine" (Wolf's term), and you believe in Freudian mumbo jumbo. :)

Callmejay, indeed, Wolf's undeniable attractiveness could be considered one of the great ironies of her career. She builds a name for herself denouncing how "beauty" is invented by male hegemony to keep women down, yet she appears on her bookcover* as a ravishing young lady-- the cover practically an indictment of her own thesis. (I realize this doesn't have to be irony, because it does not address the matter of where our reaction to her beauty comes from. Science, however, does not bear Ms. Wolf's theory out, at least not in its strongest form.)

*The original bookcover had a full-body shot of the svelte, 20-something author in a black leotard, as I recall.
posted by mowglisambo at 6:11 PM on January 28, 2006


Thanks, Callmejay. Because I had been wondering if you would hit it.

It has been many a year since I read The Beauty Myth. I remember finding it provacative yet poorly reasoned--but maybe that was me. In the years since then, my impression is that Wolf has become more and more eager for publicity even as her scholarship has grown weaker. Call it the Camille Paglia syndrome. I hope to God her conversion experience was fueled by faith, rather than the need to get back in the limelight. May it bring her peace.
posted by LarryC at 6:12 PM on January 28, 2006


Wrong in all kinds of ways except for in fact.

heh. It's interesting you make that point, delmoi, because I think much of Wolf's theories comes from moral indignation at unchangeable facts. But it poses as cool-headed analysis, by mischaracterizing the origins of harsh realities. (e.g. "older women are actually sexy and we need to appreciate them" vs. "there are some tastes which are pretty universal and we all get old eventually and life isn't fair")
posted by mowglisambo at 6:21 PM on January 28, 2006


Although the idea of a particular 'look' being 'fasionable' while naked does make sense, with more porn comes higher standards of 'naked' beauty,

The idea of having a prepared 'look' when naked defeats the purpose of being naked in the first place.

The reason men arn't intrested in her couldn't be that she's 40

That dosen't seem to dealbreaker to most men I know, of any age. Misperceptions abound, especially in this arena.
posted by jonmc at 6:58 PM on January 28, 2006


I heard that radio debate - Wolfe sounded like a lightweight (dreamy, not very insightful, and thus right at home on Radio 4), but Greer was an idiot. The woman thinks that listening to the wisdom of your father (and Wolfe's father sounds like a very kind and wise man) is giving into patriarchy, just because he is male.

Then Greer went on to say that women don't have close relationships with other women in patriarchal societies. The woman has a PhD (on Shakespeare, I believe), but has she never even read about very patriarchal and sexist societies? The more patriarchal usually means the more gender-divided, and in very gender divided societies, women do just about nothing BUT socialise with other women.

I have read undergraduate papers which show a more intelligent analysis of patriarchal societies (including the Tudor society that Shakespeare lived in) than Greer showed in that interview.

Oh, why can't we have some intelligent public discussion on gender relations?! Why do the most famous people seem to turn out to have such crazy ideas, unfounded in history or social science?
posted by jb at 7:24 PM on January 28, 2006


Why do the most famous people seem to turn out to have such crazy ideas, unfounded in history or social science?

Because the crazy ideas contribute towards the fame. The most famous people are the ones who know how to get eveyrone's attention.
posted by orange swan at 7:55 PM on January 28, 2006


Oh, why can't we have some intelligent public discussion on gender relations?!

Because it's an incredibly emotional issue with a whole minefield of hot buttons.
posted by jonmc at 8:03 PM on January 28, 2006


Oh, why can't we have some intelligent public discussion on gender relations?!

Because... sometimes we do, but it's so controversial that few people agree at what constitutes "intelligent public discussion." But ya, discourse on the topic is generally lacking.
posted by mowglisambo at 8:49 PM on January 28, 2006


American Kryptonite :

incredibly emotional issue(s) with a whole minefield of hot buttons.
posted by pwedza at 8:59 PM on January 28, 2006


Besides, there's all kinds of MILF porn out there.

This kind of reply to statements about pornography's shallowness always confused me. MILF or Barely Legal, they're still both about fetishizing a particular external quality rather than the person herself. One can argue that it's perfectly natural, and that there's nothing wrong with it, but it's still a bit like a 'leg man' explaining how he's better than a 'breast man.'
posted by verb at 9:09 PM on January 28, 2006


" ... yet she appears on her bookcover as a ravishing young lady-- the cover practically an indictment of her own thesis ... "

I had a professor who never took anything Naomi Wolf said or wrote seriously again after they went to a converence together and my prof watched the author of "The Beauty Myth" spend a full forty-five minutes adjusting her makeup in the bathroom.

Others have since argued, hearing that, that it makes sense that the author of "The Beauty Myth" understood the problem from the inside. I reserve judgement. Interesting anecdote, anyway.
posted by kyrademon at 10:04 PM on January 28, 2006


This kind of reply to statements about pornography's shallowness always confused me

Um, to state the incredibly obvious, pornography is about fantasy not reality, shallowness versus depth dosen't even enter into it. It's sexual fantasy not relationship fantasy, there's a big difference.
posted by jonmc at 10:32 PM on January 28, 2006


In 1993, I was madly in love with a cousin of Naomi's. I drove up from the Bay Area (California) to the San Juan Islands to attend Naomi's wedding. I met Susan Faludi. I slept on a beach in Oregon one night, enjoying the bioluminescence.

That is all.
posted by tritisan at 11:00 PM on January 28, 2006


yes. tristan. feminist chicks dig you. I understand. they dig me, too.
posted by jonmc at 11:02 PM on January 28, 2006


^== Can't help digging jonmc
posted by rosemere at 11:18 PM on January 28, 2006


Um, to state the incredibly obvious, pornography is about fantasy not reality, shallowness versus depth dosen't even enter into it. It's sexual fantasy not relationship fantasy, there's a big difference.

Yes, that IS the blindingly, incredibly obvious. My point -- perhaps not clearly conveyed -- was that I see lots of people pointing at diversity in porn in response to complaints about objectification and hypersexualization. Saying, 'There's MILF porn' reminds me of a friend of mine in high school. He was chatting with a girl who was annoyed that guys were obsessed with her chest. He replied, gallantly, 'Oh, I'm totally turned on by a girl's hands.' Score one for missing the point.

Meh. Sorry for the derail, I suppose it's a side-issue unrelated to the original post.
posted by verb at 12:10 AM on January 29, 2006


verb,

See also
posted by Deathalicious at 4:52 AM on January 29, 2006


How many college guys....and, really people, actually at some point have said to a woman offering a "fun" night to them....."I'm sorry, but I'll have to refuse. Due to pornography, I only accept sexual experiences with women who look like porn stars. The porn star looking women on this prestigous college campus are actually really plentiful. You really need to get on their program. You're pretty and all, but, I mean, only a C-cup? Come on!"

She's crazy.
posted by narebuc at 8:38 AM on January 29, 2006


who never took anything Naomi Wolf said or wrote seriously again after they went to a converence together and my prof watched the author of "The Beauty Myth" spend a full forty-five minutes adjusting her makeup in the bathroom.


Sorry, I think that's just crap. Writing about unrealistic and damaging beauty standards doesn't automatically free you from them. Not that makeup is really a big deal compared to things like elective cosmetic surgery and eating disorders. Making one's eyelashes darker does not threaten one's life. There are psychological implications to makeup, sure (red lips indicate sexual excitement, big eyes make women look like babies and everyone wants to take care of babies, etc.) but I also think that sometimes a cigar is a cigar. People, men AND women, want to look attractive and interesting to other people for both sexual and non-sexual reasons. I know men (straight and gay) who would happily wear concealer and lip gloss if they thought they could get away with it.

45 minutes is a long time, but if she was speaking in front of a crowd at the conference, or even just talking about her book to people she met at the conference, she might have been really nervous. Staring in a mirror, thinking about what's coming up, and fiddling with makeup can be a calming way to prepare for something like that, or to take a break from it. I know it is for me. And it seems less crazy than, say, pacing and talking aloud to yourself.

So, basically, take the woman seriously or dismiss her on the basis of her work, not her makeup application habits.
posted by cilantro at 8:50 AM on January 29, 2006


And here I go again...

Narebuc, the problem isn't that women with natural, realistic bodies can't get laid. Wolf never said that, at least that I can remember. Anyone who says that is an idiot. What she has said, and it's been a while since I read the book so anyone can feel free to correct me, is that women are suffering from mental and emotional disorders and getting surgery and sometimes dying because they want to look like other, more famous women who are suffering from mental and emotional disorders and getting surgery and sometimes dying to have the extremely unnatural and nearly impossible to achieve stick-thin -but-with-pneumatic-boobs -and-ass body that permeates every magazine, movie, television show, music video, etc.
The prevailing beauty standard is dangerous because in order to achiece it, or even just to attempt to achieve it, one must sacrifice both physical and mental health. There's nothing crazy about pointing that out.
posted by cilantro at 9:04 AM on January 29, 2006


I know men (straight and gay) who would happily wear concealer and lip gloss if they thought they could get away with it.

Oh dear. Civilization has finally crumbled hasn't it? I'm hiding out in my bar equipped cabin in Montana with a shotgun, for the duration.
posted by jonmc at 9:07 AM on January 29, 2006


And now, having read the New York Metro article (I thought narebuc was talking about The Beauty Myth), I feel somewhat foolish.
D'oh.
But the article doesn't seem crazy at all. I don't agree with every word of it, but it's well-thought-out and there are parts of it that are right on.
posted by cilantro at 9:28 AM on January 29, 2006


Sorry, I think that's just crap. Writing about unrealistic and damaging beauty standards doesn't automatically free you from them.

well, but come on... if you wrote an entire treatise on the topic, presumably it's something you can make some level of commitment to... I mean, I have not really worked out my theory on aesthetics and especially the role of women to be beautiful, or to be objects of desire rather than the subjects of desire, as often seems to be expected. I think the beauty of women is a widely agreed upon phenonemon (that it is largely the opinion of "society" that women are more aesthetically pleasing, even to the point that many straight women will agree to this statement) and it can't help but have an impact on the role of women - if one of our primary strengths is being an object, we are not expected to develop as actors, as movers & shakers, as true subjects, to the same extent that men are. Anyway - all of this is to say, I haven't written a book about this and I do not have a major thesis that explains it all, but even so, I rarely wear make-up, and certainly wouldn't spend 45 minutes prepping for an academic speech, just due to the questions that endorsing or exploiting one's own 'aesthetic object' status raise. So for a major feminist author to miss the irony inherent in her behavior does seem to indicate that perhaps she isn't all that deep a thinker.

I am probably biased from having just listened to her speak on that BBC link. Man, she sounds like an idiot. Boring self-helpy california my-dad's-so-cool...
posted by mdn at 9:35 AM on January 29, 2006


actually, cilantro, what intrigues me even more is that beyond the specifics of aesthetic fetishization (pneumatic boobs, stick-thin, whatever) there is the broader context of treating every woman as an aesthetic sexual product. Sure, everyone is a sexual being. But the degree to which women are treated as Hot Sluts Or Cold Bitches in our culture is still pretty depressing.

That, I believe, was what Wolfe was getting at in The Beauty Myth (at least, the coherent parts of it). Not that 'thin == bad' but rather 'the fluctuating and often unrealistic beauty standards cultures (and subcultures) hold up as ideal for women are damaging.' 'Braely Legal' vs 'MILF,' 'Supermodel' vs 'BBW', are just different sides of the same coin in that regard.

Men get it to some extent (nobody wants to be the skinny-ass geek in gym class) but not to the same degree.
posted by verb at 9:38 AM on January 29, 2006


well, but come on... if you wrote an entire treatise on the topic, presumably it's something you can make some level of commitment to...

Yeah, it worked for Andrea Dworkin, right? People listened to what she said and considered her views, rather than making nasty cracks about how she couldn't get any men.

There's some irony in Wolfe's makeup-prep, sure. Compare that, though, to someone like Coulter, who pulls out the knives and deliberately uses those aesthetic norms as a weapon against women who get too uppity.
posted by verb at 9:42 AM on January 29, 2006


Boring self-helpy california

right on sister! let's invade California! Bus schedule permitting, of course.

verb, people talk a tougher game on beauty standards than they actually walk, trust me.
posted by jonmc at 9:44 AM on January 29, 2006


Cilantro -- point well taken and the issue of the beauty industry and what it does to young women is important -- rates of anorexia are simply skyrocketing....but I think the porn industry is just not the culprit (for exactly many of the reasons maudlin points out)....it's more the seventeen/Ms/girl mags that will never put a normal shaped body on the cover and that ilk.

I think we have all pretty well hashed out that she's a poor thinker who gotten as far as she has precisely because of her looks and media savy (sp?) so it's just hard to take lots of even the good she has to state too seriously.
posted by narebuc at 10:50 AM on January 29, 2006


I heard that radio debate -- Wolf sounded like a lightweight, but Greer was an idiot

I agree with you about Wolf, but I thought Greer made some interesting points. As I understood it, Wolf was presenting a very benign picture of the father/daughter relationship -- in which the father teaches his daughter to embrace feminist principles, nurtures her creative potential, etc etc -- and Greer was suggesting that this might actually be a more subtle form of patriarchal control which makes it more difficult for the daughter (Wolf) to free herself from the father's influence. The argument you attribute to her, that 'women don't have close relationships with other women in patriarchal societies', makes more sense if you apply it specifically to modern Western society (post-Kant, post-Freud, whatever) and argue that the pervasive sexualization of relationships makes it more difficult to establish intimate non-sexual friendships. I suspect that may have been the point that Greer was trying to make. If so, I think it's a good one.

Incidentally, jb, I think you misunderstand Greer if you regard her as an old-school feminist obsessed with patriarchy. She is famous for preferring the company of men to that of other women -- classic queen-bee syndrome, but not at all your stereotypical man-hating feminist.
posted by verstegan at 11:02 AM on January 29, 2006


kyrademon, anyway, what I want to know is, what was your professor doing in the ladies' room for 45 minutes?
posted by gene_machine at 11:30 AM on January 29, 2006


Hey narebuc -- cough cough (NSFW). I ain't sayin' it's widespread, but it does exist, apparently.
posted by booksandlibretti at 11:40 AM on January 29, 2006


gene_machine: Professors can be chicks, too. Some of them even become chicks during their tenure. There are many colours to Satan's rainbow, or something.
posted by Sparx at 1:14 PM on January 29, 2006


Sparx, I think gene_machine was referring to the 45 minutes thing... not gender.
posted by brundlefly at 1:19 PM on January 29, 2006


That said, I like your imagery.
posted by brundlefly at 1:21 PM on January 29, 2006


Oh, right. The prof was probably just checking out Naomi Wolf, then. Apparently she's teh hawt. And thanks, I gave my imagery a good spit and polish this morning as it was looking a little crappy.
posted by Sparx at 1:36 PM on January 29, 2006


re:
I know a lot of men, college age, that pass up women that aren't up to their percieved snuff and who are essentially celibate because of that, and I wouldn't hesitate to hold pornography responsible at least to some extent. Think about how many lonely nerds there are that wouldn't condescend to date a woman who's not 5'11 with a d cup, and then complain that women only like assholes when they get shot down by women out of their league.
posted by klangklangston at 1:36 PM on January 29, 2006


klangklang, mind you, they probably wouldn't describe their choices in the way that narebuc did. They'd just say that, y'know, they've got standards. Or that [insert average girl] just doesn't "do it for them." I know a guy like this -- he's about to hit thirty and he's still hanging around with nineteen year indie girls because they're "what he likes."
posted by verb at 3:11 PM on January 29, 2006


This morning's Guardian had a digested read of Wolf's latest book concerning the wisdom of her father. Best he's done for a while.
posted by biffa at 3:28 AM on January 30, 2006


thanks biffa, that was awesome. /unabashed love for digested reads
posted by mowglisambo at 6:39 AM on January 30, 2006


klangklangston, so is that how we phrase "All men are pigs" in the 21st century? This is the same argument when it comes to censoring books, movies, and games. According to you people can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

My understanding is that nerds aren't lonely because they're waiting for a porn star to enter their lives its because they lack the proper social skills to deal with -any- types of women. Now they're villified because of some ham-fisted porn "argument?" Gee, that's good.

As far as your example which proves your thesis, yes, there are weird people out there, but that guy is a exception not the rule.
posted by skallas at 9:33 AM on January 30, 2006


What the hell are you on about, Skallas? The same argument for censoring books? Wow, that's a leap from "Hey, some things in excess are unhealthy" to "No more Naked Lunch!"

The thesis goes as such: An exposure to mediated entertainment does influence normative framing. The normative framing of pornography is attractive, available women who want to have sex with any man, especially the viewer, are out there, and an excessive reliance on that normative framing will make it seem like there are many more of them out there than there are.

Or, as Verb says, they believe their "standards" are too high without realizing what contributes to those standards to begin with.

Now, if you're done with your moronic attempt to paint me into some sort of reactionary anti-porn position you can go back to jerking off.
posted by klangklangston at 9:53 AM on January 30, 2006


>>you can go back to jerking off

I expected you to say something like that. Ah, nothing like the enlightened discourse of a cultural expert and intellectual!
posted by skallas at 10:19 AM on January 30, 2006


And that was the reply of a man without an argument.
posted by klangklangston at 10:32 AM on January 30, 2006


klangklang, the bit about standards and what contributes to them is a biggie, I think. Obviously, that's not something that is just about porn.

There's another slightly related bit about that in the advertising archive thread. Lots of painfully manipulative ads in which women are informed, in pitying knowing tones that their husbands have abandoned them and they're ostracized at parties because they haven't been douching with Lysol.

Guys, imagine living in a culture where 9 out of every 10 images ia a Charles Atlas ad or some variation on the theme. Sure, everyone knows it's selling a product. But that kind of conceptual carpet-bombing has an impact.
posted by verb at 11:46 AM on January 30, 2006


"klangklang, the bit about standards and what contributes to them is a biggie, I think. Obviously, that's not something that is just about porn. "

Well, yeah, obviously. But I'd argue that with regard to norms of sexual behavior, porn is playing a larger part now than ever before, and a lot of the messages of porn are pretty weird if you think about them.
posted by klangklangston at 12:19 PM on January 30, 2006


True, that. I just wanted to acknowledge that porn is part of culture at this point, and a lot of the messages in it that I find troubling are present in more dilluted forms in advertising, music, movies, whatever. I mean, I'm a GTA:Vice City playing movie watching guy like anyone else, but it doesn't mean we can't -- or shoudn't -- consider the stuff carefully.
posted by verb at 12:23 PM on January 30, 2006


How many college guys....and, really people, actually at some point have said to a woman offering a "fun" night to them....."I'm sorry, but I'll have to refuse. Due to pornography, I only accept sexual experiences with women who look like porn stars.

When I was a teenager, I would have fucked anything with two legs and a wet spot. Now, at middle-age, I am more discriminating. First, because I'm married, and strive for monogamy. Second, because if I'm going to practice infidelity, it isn't worth it unless she is 18 - 24 and HOT. No MILFs for me. Third, because I learned a long time ago that a mediocre lay isn't as good as a bad wank.
posted by Chasuk at 4:14 PM on January 30, 2006


verstegan - I will fully admit that I know nothing about Greer but what I heard in that interview (and you need her permission to sign her thesis out of the Cambridge Manuscripts - archives gossip), and I didn't really have any preconceptions. Old school, new school - I don't know anything about them. I'm very interested in gender research, but not in theorectical feminism, since it's not based in empirical research.

I thought she was talking about friendship between women, not women and men - it's been a while since I heard it. Actual hard-on patriarchy (like you see in pre-modern Europe, China or many places inthe contemporary Middle East and Africa) often has the feature that women have relationships primarily with other women, as mothers, sisters, friends, as opposed to men (because of the gender divide - sometimes even complete segregation). The West in the twentieth century is different, of course, but just thinking of mid-twentieth century women's culture, filled with women's institutes, beuty parlours, mother and tot events - I just keep thinking about how more conservative people in my culture have far more single-sex friendships than I do. So it didn't make any sense for her to say that patriarchy interfeers with relationships between women. Unless I heard it all wrong - maybe that was it.

But as for her opinion on Wolf and her father, I still think she was being paranoid and sexist. Patriachy isn't about allowing your father (personal) to influence you, it's about fathers as heads of households automatically ruling the family (and the kingdom) by virtue of their sex and position as head of household (for, of course, men were and are subordinate to other men in patriarchal societies). Wolf listened to her father because she believed he is wise and has insight. To ignore this insight because he is male would be simply sexist. I hate sexism, in all its forms.
posted by jb at 5:37 PM on January 30, 2006


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