Rebecca Mead on the “dispiriting account” of prevailing sexual mores in Amanda Knox’s memoir: “…if empowerment, that much abused and much diminished term, means anything it means being able to say no as well as yes, without censure or shame.”http://nyr.kr/11qLIY3
"The initial, heedless reactions to Ms. Sandberg’s book spoke to a larger problem, namely the pressures that the twenty-four/seven hamster-wheel pace of the contemporary media puts on writers: to speed up rather than to slow down, to shoot first and ask questions later, to create drama, and, sometimes, to operate from a place of bad faith and fixed biases."
— Anna Holmes weighs in on the backlash to Sheryl Sandberg and her book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead”: http://nyr.kr/12p6dcR
The prosecution of the Pussy Riot women is more than an act of absurd injustice and cruelty; it is a sign that the Russian state is increasingly lashing out against those citizens it sees as overly modernized. Vladimir Putin has often said that modernization is the goal of his regime, but its policy is increasingly slipping toward something egregiously anti-modern, obscurantist, even medieval. The Pussy Riot case is a telling illustration of Putin’s political crackdown—and of his increasing reliance on the Russian Orthodox Church as a resort of the most conservative societal forces.
Click-through to read more from Masha Lipman on Putin’s religious war against the female punk-rock band Pussy Riot: http://nyr.kr/PePGPb
Over all, it’s a show that reminds you that the sexual revolution is a done deal, that few women today see sex as a bargaining chip in a bid for commitment, and that gender parity tends to go along with more sex. You can see that as a tradeoff or as a benefit, but studies have shown it to be true: societies in which the sexes are more equal are societies in which people have more sex. Still, to those disinclined to see this as a good thing, “Girls” offers some validation. Much of that awkward sex is awkward in familiar and timeless ways, but some of it is awkward very specifically. That would be solipsistic, niche sex that takes its expectations from porn, in which the man involved seems to feel weirdly and arrogantly entitled to the satisfaction of his particular fantasies—the guy Hannah is sleeping with has one about an eleven-year-old heroin addict with a Cabbage Patch-doll lunchbox—and to the coöperation of a partner who really isn’t that into them. “Guys my age watch so much pornography,” Dunham told the Times. “When I first started kissing boys, I remember noticing things, certain behaviors, where I thought, ‘There’s no way you learned that anywhere but on YouPorn.com.’ ”
- In this week’s Comment, Margaret Talbot writes about Republicans, “Girls,” and sexual freedom: http://nyr.kr/IgeD7F