Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Empowered Women, Emasculated Men?

How has Feminism Changed Bedroom Dynamics?

Breish Rowe ventured alone to a Psychologies debate, armed with two lovely female intepreters - Liz Graham and Naomi Bottril. The panel consisted of not one, but two influential feminist writers - Natasha Walter and Rebecca Asher. So she was very excited!


As I gulped back my wine excitedly, trying not to squeal at being within spitting distance of the two writers, the debate soon got underway. The main point being reinforced in the discussion seemed to be that although women have come a long way in their fight for equality, they have a long way to go still. There was also lengthy discussion about relationships and parenting roles.

I found that rather disappointing as I was expecting a juicy dissection about what goes on in the bedroom i.e. who goes on top!  Or even how sexual fantasies have changed over time as feminism has made its presence felt in society. But alas, no mention of Nancy Friday's theories about the Madonna/Whore complex, and our need to escape our 'good girl' roles through fantasy.

Nevertheless, it was a very interesting discussion and ended on an interesting note by Rebecca Asher, who argued that women have fought AGAINST men this far to achieve their equality. However, feminism has reached a point where we are now not working against men per se, but rather needs to work WITH them. That's how far we've come. Men are no longer the issue - society is.

I noticed something that kept cropping up during the debate, and that was how power was constantly referred to as somehow masculine. For example, phallic symbols elicit a sense of power together with undeniable masculinity. However, if women want to gain power and achieve equality, how can they do so when the very essence of power is male? We must somehow make power a gender-neutral concept, and change society's mindset.

Natasha Walter suggested that equality is about being who you are from birth without being unduly influenced in any way by outside factors, peer pressure or expectations to conform. Only in being who you are as you should be from birth, then you can be truly equal as equal should be. This suggests that society's model of equality possess an innate equality inbalance. So basically, we're screwed?!

Robert Rowland Smith, another panel member, very nicely quoted Plato's theory of how men and women were divided into half by the Gods as a punishment for being too powerful together. So mankind is destined to always search for our other half to become whole again. It is only through making love that we become as one. So now I see the inspiration for Spice Girl's "Two Become One" and Atomic Kitten's "Whole Again"!!

It is a nice theory, especially as it ties in with Rebecca's point - it is only through working with, not against, men that women can achieve so much more in the name of equality. Perhaps it is time to change feminism's image as a women's movement to a social movement.

I am sure that the panel said a lot more about other things, such as the issue of porn in sex, the role of mothers in defining sons' relationships with women, sex differences and so on. But this is all I could remember afterwards. Blame the wine! *glares reproachfully at my wine glass*

Hopefully you found this interesting reading, and that it gave some food for thought :) 

P.S Natasha signed my book "For Breish, with sisterhood" - thumbs up!

1 comment:

  1. Please see this link for a report from Psychologies on the debate itself. It tells of other things that were discussed :)