The Great Feminist Debate

Recently I read an article that was floating around Facebook. It was one of those "Letter to my Daughter" type things, which I'm sure you've seen some version of, they're becoming the new "help me to one million likes." Anyway, it left me feeling disturbed, for lack of a better word. It was basically a dad telling his daughter that he wants her to have lots of sex, with whoever she chooses, and not feel guilty, or like there is any sort of wrong doing in behaving in whatever way she chooses. He states wisely that life has ups and downs, some consensual, some done to us, some done because of us. This is all true but I think the matter of sexuality is one factor in life we have immense control over. I don't consider myself a prude. I don't sneer at alternative lifestyles or make snap judgements when I meet people who are different from me. I've made a variety of friends on each path I've taken in life. In fact, I think it's because of all of the directions I've gone in, some reckless, some self-centered, that I am slightly appalled that a man, a father no less, would write to his daughter that physical intimacy is a laissez faire matter. To be fair, the other points he strikes are kind and well thought out; they are the thoughts of a man who loves his daughter, and wants her to make her own choices, but in the context of the sexual content, I have to disagree.

I don't want to mislead anyone, I have never been sexually promiscuous (do people still use that word?), I have not cheated on a spouse, and in full disclosure, I have never even had a normal father-daughter relationship. But I have lived.

I have friends, who are daughters to extravagantly loving father's, who have searched unknowingly for validation in sexual intimacy. I have watched friends have casual sexual relationships, one night stands, and even monogamous relationships where sex was a normal part of the relationship (whether they chose to have it or not). All of these women were seemingly happy with the choices they made. They were all quite happy until they found the person they would marry and had  to say they didn't want to talk about their past, or they lied, or they went through rounds of counseling, because choices they were once happy with turned out to be choices that haunted them. To imply that physical intimacy doesn't have an affect outside of the instant it is taking place is naive and just plain wrong. And while in this article, the father does acknowledge heartbreak, it isn't in relation to poor choices, rather to natural occurrences, irreconcilable differences, if you will. As a woman who has made mistakes, in many aspects of the word, I don't think any man, or woman, should try to project their feelings about sex and all that it entails, on women, who are each different at the core.

To be clear, this isn't a piece to bash a single author of an article I found on Facebook. This is more of a vent session because I feel that women are getting confusing messages. Because I'm guessing the author of this article, and those that agree with him, are the kind of guys who sleep with women and when they don't call back, they see it as contributing to said woman's 'feminism.' Let's face it ladies, we're sort of faced with this conundrum of being a feminist who can't care about being called back (we can pick up the phone if we're still interested) or being the uptight conservative who is stuck in the 50's. To me this just is not fair.

It seems like a new wave of male chauvinism to insinuate that women having emotions attached to physical intimacy is archaic. It's like being force fed the idea that our bodies are just bodies, we are objectified in a new way, and we should go along with it, because if we don't then we just aren't as progressive as we thought we were. I'm just not buying it. Maybe I'm not just that progressive and I guess I'm okay with that.

As a married woman, I am offended almost even more for men who have to live in the confusion of such an imposition. Men are emotionally intimate in ways that differ greatly from women, just ask any woman in a relationship with a man, and within the parameters of these expressions lies physical intimacy. It is just ignorant to say that a man who tells a woman he thinks "casual" sex is degrading, is a man who can be expected to turn out as a control freak or master manipulator. Since when does a person saying they want to know you on an intellectual or emotional level equate to that person being dishonest or untrustworthy?  In fact, a man who says to a woman that he wants more from her then physical intimacy is probably just someone that's a little farther down the road in life than the girl who is trying to go home with him.

So that's my two cents. I know this is a touchy topic so I expect to hear agreement, disagreement, and thoughts that I haven't had myself.  I welcome them all!