I’m here to tell you…this was one fascinating book. If anyone would have told me that I’d be mesmerized by not one…but SEVERAL chapters devoted entirely to the hymen, I’d have laughed out loud.
I think this should be essential reading for everyone.
I had no idea that virginity had such an interesting history. Twisted, horrifying, and sad…but fascinating, nonetheless. I find myself more and more interested in history…and in particular, the history of sex intrigues me.
Of course, the history of sex is steeped in some of the worst kinds of misogyny. Some of this shit is downright grisly. But, it’s as I tell my students: History is, by definition, out of our time. And, to be frank…the themes of human history, up until very recent times, are deeply misogynistic. Recently, only slightly less so, IMO.
But especially in terms of sex….I mean wow. Even my deep appreciation for the importance of context in history is strained by some of this bullshit.
The things that some of these men came up with to, first, test a woman for “purity,” and then torture her if she failed were far beyond horrific.
The way women were/are property.
The way that women who pursued (and pursue) sex for the raw pleasure of sex were/are perceived and judged.
The way entire families were/are disgraced by there merest suggestion that a woman was/is “impure.”
Truly — I get upset a lot. Like…a lot. There are certain things that really rile me up….and there are other things that just…don’t.
Usually, for example, misogyny doesn’t rile me up because…well – I live in one of the Woman Hating Capitals of the Free World, I am raising two women here, and my hands are too full with the latter to fight the Dragons of the former. I just can’t allow myself to get heated up over shit that is so immense that it will swallow me whole. I realize it’s here, I deal with it the best I can…but I’d more easily part the oceans than improve the situation for women in this God-forsaken area of the country.
I suppose that the short explanation is that I choose my battles. Or, rather (and more accurately) I choose how to fight those battles in ways that I actually have an impact (i.e., in the classroom). I teach a sexuality class, I’m raising strong women, — I fight the Dragons.
But not constantly.
It’s too much, and the Dragons are too many.
All of that said…this book made me want to lay waste to the whole goddamn planet.
Frankly, I’m amazed we have survived as a species, given the fact that men, as a group, acted as complete fucking morons for the majority of our history. I say this as a 100% lover of men…truly. I don’t hate men.
But I don’t suffer fools well…and history is fucking overflowing with foolish fucking men that made women everywhere goddamned miserable for millennia.
I remain silent, almost always, about the MeToo movement. I remain silent, almost always, about all movements. I care about a lot of things…but I am not a movement kind of girl, and I never ever will be.
But here…in my secret corner of the Cyber Oblivion, I will say something. Ok…some things.
There can be no “justice” for the atrocities that people have faced at the hands of idiots in our history.
There’s no way to atone for crimes the likes of which are described in the pages of this book, and in others like it.
I will say here that the MeToo movement isn’t about justice. It’s not about what is fair. There is no such thing as Justice against the backdrop of this history.
For millennia, women have been subject to the sexual domination of men.
For millennia, the lives of women have been utterly destroyed by men.
And for millennia, there have been very few ways for a women to protect themselves or to be defended by any sort of authority.
Today, however, any woman anywhere can accuse any man anywhere of sexual misconduct, without proof, and ruin his life.
I learned in my dissertation research that one way to conceive of justice is for the burdens of any society to be evenly distributed across human groups. Since perfect equity is impossible, it is a logical necessity that the benefits and burdens will be distributed unequally. As I see it, therefore, such benefits and burdens need to be shared. Those With need to take a turn Without. Those Without need a turn With.
In this light, a man’s life ruined by a woman’s (perhaps) false testimony against him is the very definition of justice.
Let men take a turn bearing the burden of sexual discrimination. Let it ruin their lives, too.
After all, women have survived this treatment for millennia. Yeah?
Two wrongs don’t make a right – this is true. But one group holding all of the burdens isn’t right either. It’s not about “two wrongs” it’s about the same wrong, shared, between the sexes.
There IS NO fucking “right.”
Anyway, Readers. I’ll close this by again stating how much I love men, as a group. After reading over the post, I’m almost afraid to publish it. But the blog has an identity – I read difficult shit and I have difficult thoughts because of it.
I wish the world were different.