Thursday, December 20, 2007

I Am Prude (and So Can You!)

Just when you were craving another book that pits "bad girls" (ie, feminists, and those who have nonmonogamous sex) against "good girls" (the ones who don't) comes Carol Platt Liebau's Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!). While I'm guessing the parens and exclamation point are for earnest emphasis, I can't help but think of Steven Colbert's recent title, I Am America (and So Can You!) whenever I see this now. And so, I confess to taking the tone of it all a little tongue-in-cheek. That is not, however, the author's intention.

The prolific and ever-savvy sex writer Rachel Kramer Bussel has written about the book over at AlterNet. Charges Rachel,

Liebau is not simply bemoaning the fact that it's easier, and more socially acceptable, for young girls to be sexually active, but also that adult women dare to act this way as well.

...She makes the same tired mistake that so many do, assuming that "sexual freedom" means living in a world where sex doesn't matter, to anyone. Whether we call that "do-me" or "wham, bam, thank you, ma'am," there is so much more to true sexual freedom. But in her world, you're either in a committed, monogamous relationship, or out there screwing anything that moves.


While I'm not all that interested in reading this book (and am grateful to Rachel for doing so for me), I am interested in the chapter titled "Do-Me Feminists and Doom-Me Feminism," if only for the sake of seeing how recent feminist history, once again, gets played.

For more on this exciting trend, of course, see Wendy Shalit's Girls Gone Mild.

1 comment:

Professor Zero said...

My question is always, is our culture really sex obsessed? Yes, everybody wants to get laid, but so does my cat ... and yes, sex is used to sell things, but hey, this is capitalism. I've only ever lived in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, and although different cultures express interest in sex differently I have always found the U.S. to be the most repressed place, despite the reputation in some quarters of American women for being "easy."

I still think more not less openness about sex would be healthful. (Am I nuts?)

I *do* take exception to the idea that sexual liberation means availability of women to men on mens' demand - an idea I've been exposed to a lot ("Why not do me, if you have birth control and do not believe you must be in love to have sex and do not believe non-marital sex is a sin?"). But that's about patriarchy, a slightly different topic.

So: are we really sex obsessed? What would a non sex obsessed society look like? To me, Saudi Arabia looks more sex obsessed - all that fear that any man and any woman will instantly have sex, etc.