Monday, December 08, 2014

Judith Levine in the Boston Review: Feminism Can Handle the Truth

2007. A letter to Emily Yoffe, "Dear Prudence", in Slate
Dear Prudence,
My husband is kind, supportive, funny, generous, smart, and loving. However, I feel like I must divorce him. Six years ago, when we were in our early 20s and had just fallen in love, after a night of partying and drinking, he woke me up in the middle of the night and started to have sex with me. I was dozing and still drunk and, yes, I took my panties off myself. But when I realized that it was not OK for him to make advances on me in my state, I pushed him away and ran out. He later felt so bad he wanted to turn himself in for rape. I was very confused and thought at times that I was overreacting and at others that I was raped. We painfully worked through this, but the incident made my husband very reluctant about having sex. This led to an agreement that he shouldn't be afraid of coming close to me in similar situations as long as he asked my consent. This made us feel better and I felt secure again. However, we just found ourselves in a very similar situation. After coming back from a friend’s wine tasting we went to bed and he started to kiss me. I liked it and went along, only to wake up in the morning and remember only half of it. Now I am in the same painful spot I was before and I can’t fathom how he could have ignored our agreement. Should I just drop it or am I right about feeling abused?
Yoffee's response
...Stop acting like a parody of a gender-studies course catalog and start acting like a loving wife. If you can’t, then give the poor sap a divorce.
Lindsey Beyerstein's response.
Six years ago, Confused's husband did something to her that they both agree was wrong. It felt like rape to her and to him. Depending on the law in their state, it may well have been rape. Regardless, she was traumatized by the experience, and so was he. (I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he honestly thought she was capable of consent and consenting the first time.)
Read Judith Levine.

Also see the previous post. Follow the links at the bottom of the post back to Beyerstein from the same period. I had no idea she was quite this bad.

The neoliberal logic of social life as contract, at Crooked Timber. Read all the comments.
all repeats.

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