[Fwd: Re: [Fwd: Re: [Fwd: Re: [Fwd: Re: [Fwd: Re: [Fwd: Re:

t byfield tbyfield at panix.com
Wed Nov 24 14:15:22 PST 1999

> Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 15:10:33 -0500
> From: kelley <oudies at flash.net>

> the point of course, ted, is that the objections were wielded in this way:
> 'it's not true that the cultural norm is for older men to marry younger
> women be/c i see plenty of people who do otherwise. therefore, it was
> argued, it's all really a matter of personal preferences.'
> now come on. none of it's a matter of autonomous asocial personal
> preferences. and *that* was the point. there's a big difference between
> saying things are different and acknowledging the way in which desire is
> socially constituted and that's why things are different, and saying
> things are different because things have changed and now our "natural'
> desires are set free to manifest themselves willy nilly and wow. taht was

there's a huge theoretical difference, sure, but more and more i'm convinced that 'huge theoretical difference' = 'zippo prac- tical difference.' why? because seeking precision in mass phen- omena is, in a way, silly. for obvious reasons. and i *do* hope i don't need to add that this nonsense about 'setting natural desires free' is completely unrelated to what i said.

> entirely my reason for reciting good solid reasons why, for ex, women are
> considered attractive in the 40s and 50s today, when they weren't two
> decades ago, and that had little to do with feminism and a lot to do with
> shifting demographics, divorce rates, later age at first marriage and so
> forth.

so much for theory, eh?

> >just a few years ago it was very alamodal for young women
> >to be explicitly 'antifeminist' for various reasons.
> i think you're confusing what judith stacey, among others, identified as
> 'postfeminism' [a general cultural phenomena] with what has now come to be
> called third wave feminism --grrrRl poWer, riotgrrrrls and all that--a
> particular "brand" of feminism. that is, there was a general phenom some
> feminists identified -- a sense among young women [like me] who thought
> that it had all been accomplished and the world lay before them.** [quick

maybe. or maybe i'm less inclined than you to defer to ms. stacey and other unspecified voices partitioning really muddy phenomena. and i'll point out, as well, the muddiness of mixing descriptive sociological analyses with prescrip- tive advocacy (e.g., 'authors').

> and so, the dynamic you attribute to generational differences may not be
> attributable to that at all. the third wavers grrRl feminism with their
> sex positiveness and their wonder bras was always present within feminisms.
> there has always been contention over the things argued here.

i know, and i never suggested that old(er)-line feminists were 'sex-nagative,' etc., etc. lots of people did, though, and i certainly got the impression that lots of young women thought they were. my point was: you can attribute this to concerted efforts on the part of reactionaries to tar and feather earlier feminists--which they certainly did--but the kind of 'rhetorical strategies' i pointed out in what katha was saying surely played a part. as did, i think, a much looser urge simply to reap the benefits of feminist efforts without bowing and scraping at the feet of the Great Women.

> >i think basing practical social criticism on films in insane.
> why? you go look at the singles ads and you explain to me why way more het
> men describe what they are looking for in terms of ref to some media babe
> than women describe what they want by invoking some media god

and is that sane? keep in mind that my interlocutor in this conversation was a social critic, not a het man describing what he wants; suffice it to say that, if i'd been speaking to the latter, i would have said something slightly different.

cheers, t

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