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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex in Media: Books, Magazines, Films, TV & More » Reading The Female Eunuch/ thoughts on it.

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thismoment
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(Not sure whether this should be here or in the books/ media forum...)

I'm reading this book at the moment and keep coming across so much that resonates with my last relationship. I know it was a while ago now, but I'm finding it really difficult to see that relationships can be a positive thing, something based on enjoyment and exploration rather than a stagnant attempt at security, or some kind of social status whereby the female (considering male-female) relationships is a sort of accessory.

For example, she talks about how women are viewed as another, as something to be 'leer[ed]' at with 'insolent stares' or talked to in an obviously degrading manner: and I remember walking around, all the looks I get, even having a car pull up and two guys try and coerce me to give them my number; then I remember the special tone my ex-boyfriend kept just for his mum, his sisters... and me. No-one outside the near circle knew... he kept it hidden well, but it sounded disgusted, a tone I never heard him use once for a man or any men. I feel like I really cannot trust my relationships with men, bar a few men - almost all who are my age seem to never have even contemplated feminism... This book just confirms the gulf that still exists for me, and highlights the niggling things which I remember.

I can't imagine having a relationship with a man any more, or wanting to, unless he was actually understanding and communicative, but that seems unlikely, because if they are not of the same sex, how can they truly understand? I don't think they can. They can try, and get part way, but not as much as another female who considers these things.

So... The Female Eunuch was published first in 1971... and it still resonates loudly and scarily.

I've discussed this before, but generally just get a kind of 'move on' or 'let go' feeling. But I feel like I've not even processed it. One thing I am glad of is that I ended it before it did even more damage.

It'd be interesting to know how other people who have read this book found it affected/ changed their outlook... and I've not yet finished it, I'm slowly chewing through, so perhaps once I have completed reading it I will feel more positive about the progress that has been made thus far, despite my current thought of 'not enough, no way near enough...'

Posts: 79 | From: England | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
morrisdancer
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I've been reading parts of The Female Eunuch on and off for the past couple of months now, and my thoughts on it seem to be similar to yours. It kind of destroyed my romanticised idea of a relationship; it is hard to see how any relationship can, in the end, be about more than security or whatever. I don't have much faith in men now and I'd rather have a relationship with a woman (unfortunately I'm not bi/gay so I don't think that will happen); a male/female relationship doesn't seem very healthy.

I've recently split up with my partner, so I am feeling more pissed off than usual. The optimist in me wants there to be an enlightened man out there who won't be like most of the guys I usually encounter, and I hope that one day people will read the book and it will be unbelievable to them because things will have changed so much. But overall, I too was struck by how far we haven't come, and how much of the book was familiar.

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thismoment
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Gosh! I'd not reread my post about this in a long time.

I'd rather have a relationship with someone who can understand what it is like to be female - that's the key bit - and I think that, much as men try, surely they can't? I've never had a sexual relationship with a female, but I think that in some ways I've been far closer to my female friends than to any male. Part of me, too, thinks that sexuality is more than the physical and that if I really connect with someone then their physical parts don't really matter so much. It is possible, I think, to actively love and care for the vast majority of people, and potentially have relationships with them, women included. Of course, I could equally have a relationship with them which wasn't sexual but where they were my partner of sorts. Lots of possibilities. I've not really explored any of that very much though.

In the time between when I wrote that and now I have met some men who seem more appealing (partially due to age and maturity, I think) but I still feel that I don't want a relationship with a guy, and I can't imagine wanting one in a long time.

Do you think that, even if men do try to understand, they simply cannot, because they are not treated in the same way? In a similar way to how I, as a white person, cannot fully understand (or even very much) how a black person is treated differently?

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Dragontamer
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I'd say that really you have to take each person as you find them. Just as you can't technically understand what it is to be male (or black), you can understand a person's personality and soul. Just as people surpass the restraints of their gender in a very literal sense, it can also be an emotional thing.
you can point at anything and label it one thing or another, but it not true, just like when a reflection of your face in a mirror is not your actual face, but an identity thrust upon it.

For example, you see a young person and call ita child, but that doesn't mean they have to act in teh same manner as our expectations. 'child' is a defining concept - not all kids are 'childish'.
Just ike that, not all men are overly masculine ego-trip people either.
Maybe society make a contribution to our knee-jerk instincts for the majority of people (and tehre's a lot of problems with the male-female divide), but people's personalities can transcend that too. A black person woudl be pretty damn offended if you defined and clasified them siply as being black.
I think that one can't just give up on men because she hasn't found the right one amongst a percieved stereotype. Hell, girls are just as bad to each other and to men.
If you're genuinely exploring lesbianism that's great, but I can't help but see such books as exacerbating the negative. Nothing's black and white, is all.
You have to take each person as you find them

[ 03-13-2009, 09:26 PM: Message edited by: Dragontamer ]

Posts: 18 | From: England | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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