Friday, October 23, 2009

Yes Means Yes: A Review, Part II

is so great that it's impossible to choose the parts I want to quote. There are simply too many of them. So I'll just list some of the most important issues this book explores:

  • the chastity movement and the abstinence-only sex ed programs present women as commodities to be bought and sold;
  • the religious right and the "pick up artists" actually have a lot in common: both groups see sex as property. The only difference is the price they are prepared to pay for this commodity. If you believe that there is nothing wrong with seeing sex as a commodity, you need to remember that what makes a commodity valuable is its scarcity. For both conservatives and PUAs, getting women to have sex with you needs to be difficult and pricey. Otherwise, sex has little value for these puritanical sexists;
  • contrary to an oft-repeated male myth, there is no 'proper' way to go about struggling for and obtaining sex. A woman is a human being and she either wants you or not. If she doesn't, it's no use trying different approaches to change her mind. So if you are telling yourself that you are just a nice guy and can't "get" a woman to have sex with you because of that, what you really are is a sexist jerk: "When these men apply that thinking to sex, it's as if the woman standing between them and the pussy is an irrelevance, a hindrance";
  • We need to get rid of the idea that a simple absence of a 'no' equals consent: "The burden is not on the woman to say no, but on the person pursuing the sexual act [who might be of either gender] to get an active yes."
  • black female sexuality is still seen exclusively in terms of kind asexual mammy vs. a lustful jezebel;
  • the military exploits the patriarchal myth of female sexuality to torture and persecute prisoners;
  • and a lot more.
I have known about the existence of this book for a while. Now that I have finally read it, I feel sorry that I had gone all these months since it came out without reading it. It is that good. And if you are at all interested  in how sexuality is socially constructed and constrained, you have got to read it. Borrow it from a friend, take it out of the library, but read it. You will not be sorry.

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