This is one of those reviews that you won’t find on my Goodreads. Why? I am famously vocal about my feminist views in my private life but on the internet I tend to keep them to myself. I’m always a little worried that I am “doing it wrong” and that I’ll spark some argument that I don’t want to have online because I am rally bad at debating things online. I end up looking like an idiot. I wanted to review this book because I thought that it had some valid points and I wanted to talk about the things that it made me think about, the fires it sparked. Goodreads doesn’t seem like the place to do that. This will most likely get personal.
I have been blessed to be raised by a mother who was always very open with me about sex and I think that is part of the reason that I feel like a healthy sexual adult now. The reason I bring this up is because one of the things that I found most shocking was the discussion of teenage girls and sexuality. Many of the girls said that they thought of sexuality as a way to compete. They wanted to look the skankiest and have the most encounters but they didn’t actually expect any pleasure out of these encounters. This was a big record scratching moment for me. What? A large part of my mother’s generation didn’t know that women were supposed to have orgasms and now girls are just shrugging that off??
A lot of the book felt like a big mind bender to me. The discussions on how to define female sexuality made me think that there is no way that we can do so without using male sexuality as a stepping off point. Then the discussion about gender being fluid and the movement from womyn to bois made me question even more about gender identities. It was thought provoking. I would read a page and then stop and think about it and think about what it meant in my life and in my world.
It seems that Levy’s actual argument is that we should be individuals, defining ourselves as ourselves, not by the culture norms.
Also, when I realized that this was published a decade ago, I took a second to look around. I feel like things are better now, like there is a lot less raunch. In fact, I maybe even feel like we’re in the midst of a very conservative swing. Maybe that’s how it goes? Maybe we swing from one extreme to the other. I like that there had been a push back lately about body image and being your own person and doing your own thing. On the other hand, it could feel this way to me because I am just over 30 and just out of that age of competition and party culture.