I remember Fear of Flying as a rather silly book about some woman who sleeps with a lot of guys or rather has 'zipless fucks' with them, in the process supposedly 'liberating' herself. Like every university student (I did art history) I was caught up in the feminist wave at this impressionable age. Not only were we force fed marxist and feminist art criticism like so many foie gras geese we were also asked to regurgitate it whole. Anyone who dared to call marxist or feminist criticism of art simplistic, fantastical ('you can see that symbol of male oppression in the art work can't you Emma? Yes it does look like a baguette on a table but it's actually an instrument of phallic domination) or just plain stupid was given a D. During my stint at uni I thus became familiar with the oft bandied about idea that there is a global conspiracy amongst men to oppress women. Now, let's look at European history for one moment shall we? Just as there is not a 'global conspiracy of Jewish Bankers' that the Nazis believed in, there is not a 'global conspiracy of men plotting the downfall of women.'
The reason many women became housewives and were forcibly excluded from the labour market has nothing to to with men telling them to do it and everything to do with the advent of industrialisation. Up until the 1860s men and women shared the ploughing of their land and all the housework. Then came the industrial revolution and gradually there was a separation of home and work - most men started going out of the home to work especially in factories, while women stayed at home and started doing all the housework (unless they had servants). This situation went on for a while until the mid twentieth century when some fed up housewife said 'sod this for a game of soldiers' which led to conciousness raising groups, the burning of bras and the entry of women en masse into the labour market. At this time women tried to ape men in their career aspirations which was fine but then in the seventies people like Ms Jong got the daft idea into their heads that, hey if men can sleep around with all and sundry why shouldn't we? Why shouldn't we drop our drawers in the name of liberation? The small problem with that was that er, promiscuity is not actually liberating for women, especially if it results in pregnancy and STDs. There is nothing inherently liberating about sleeping around Erica Jong!
Now don't get me wrong I don't mind if women want to sleep with one or dozens of men but I think the idea that sex out of wedlock is somehow radical is barking up the wrong tree. I suppose the silliest aspect of it all is that as a result of all this shagging about that sex is now just one more consumer product and the ultimate irony is that we are such a consumer and capitalist society that unless we are making money or consuming we don't exist. For example, a woman who sleeps with every Tom, Dick and Harry still risks being called a slag, while a porn star like Jenna Jameson is deemed a canny business woman because she makes money from sleeping with dozens of chaps and making her own porn flicks.
The world's gone mad I tell you! Mad!
And if you want to read more of the Floozy v Feminism debate it's raging over here at Very Bored In Catalunya, Vegemite Vix and Notes From Lapland
Meanwhile any exhibitionists out there walk don't run over to our Strike A Pose! photo competition and show us what you've got!!