The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism [Paperback] Review

The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism [Paperback]Not that anyone could call Katie Roiphe "balanced"...her debut, written while still in college, reads like a long talk with a loquatious new aquaintence at the campus coffee bar.She is not a sophisticatedwriter, and this book has no research to support it, really.And yes, itcan be damn insensitive to people who have experienced sexualtrauma.
However, it also bring up some very commonsense point which makesyou wonder -- "Why has no one else thought of this?"Perhaps thekey is Roiphe's writing style, which caught the attention of critics,because people have been worrying about the perpetuation of "victimmentality" with women for a while.
Roiphe explores the issues thatshe encountered at her insular, Ivy League college, which makes thoseexperiences privleged ones.However, the same issues of which she speaksare prevalent at colleges around the country, an inherently privlegedenvironment, but not unimportant to the rest of society.(Though, ifthere's one thing Roiphe is most guilty of, it has to be classism, which Ichalk up to her age, her life experience, and her affluence.Her completetunnel vision cripples the book significantly.)
But Roiphe gives voiceto the ostracized in the mainstream feminist movement, and she articulatesthat alienation well.Sure, she believes that women should get equal payfor equal work, she knows about the glass ceiling, and she is aware &horrified by sex crimes.But she also feels like she can overcome thoseobstacles without placing herself in the role of victim of sexism.And shelikes nail polish and reads fashion magazines too, probably.She wants tojoin the feminism club, but she feels that she can't.
She also voicesthe very funny politics of college sex life, where consentual sexis...well, ambiguous.(Which is, I think, one of her most interestingpoints, and it has spurred many a chat between my circle of friends.)
Now, I know that her stance of sexual assault is one of her mostcontroversial, but I don;t think she is trying to play denial.She justargues for a better vocabulary of terms, and thinks that every constructionworker whistling at you does not constitute harassment.And that's one ofthe big rifts between Roiphe and her early 90's feminist adversaries.
Like my feelings about Camille Paglia, I think Roiphe raises interestingissues, and I think she is worth reading.While her personal experiencesdo not enlighten the world, they are telling of what kind of experience ishappening in our Ivory Towers of education.And her voice, as a dissenter,shouldn't be given automatic short shrift just for not agreeing with theFaludi party line of the era.(Although, on a side note -- Susan Faludi,what happened?Ugh, "Stiffed"? )
To be a balanced feministon either side, peruse this short and surprisingly entertaining text.Iguarantee, it will force you into some opinions, either way.

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Product Description:
When Katie Roiphe arrived at Harvard in the fall of 1986, she found that the feminism she had been raised to believe in had been radically transformed. The women's movement, which had once signaled such strength and courage, now seemed lodged in a foundation of weakness and fear. At Harvard, and later as a graduate student at Princeton, Roiphe saw a thoroughly new phenomenon taking shape on campus: the emergence of a culture captivated by victimization, and of a new bedroom politics in the university, cloaked in outdated assumptions about the way men and women experience sex. Men were the silencers and women the silenced, and if anyone thought differently no one was saying so. Twenty-four-year-old Katie Roiphe is the first of her generation to speak out publicly against the intolerant turn the women's movement has taken, and in The Morning After she casts a critical eye on what she calls the mating rituals of a rape-sensitive community. From Take Back the Night marches (which Roiphe terms "march as therapy" and "rhapsodies of self-affirmation") to rape-crisis feminists and the growing campus concern with sexual harassment, Roiphe shows us a generation of women whose values are strikingly similar to those their mothers and grandmothers fought so hard to escape from - a generation yearning for regulation, fearful of its sexuality, and animated by a nostalgia for days of greater social control. At once a fierce excoriation of establishment feminism and a passionate call to our best instincts, The Morning After sounds a necessary alarm and entreats women of all ages to take stock of where they came from and where they want to go.

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