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Conference Countdown: 5 Days

June 22, 2008 | NeW Staff

Are you excited for the NeW National Conference?  Well, I am.  Today, I am starting a countdown to Friday, June 27th, the day of the Conference.  Since Danielle Crittenden is our keynote speaker, I am going to post a quote from Crittenden’s book, What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman, each morning for the next week.   Enjoy! 



From Chapter 1, “About Sex,”


“The elaborate rituals that used to govern relations between the sexes were based on the understanding that women, as child bearers, required the protection of society against men who might recklessly use and abandon them.  These rituals could be inhibiting and stultifying, yes, but they, at least did the job of letting everyone know what was appropriate and inappropriate behavior.  And at best, they protected women from the potentially disastrous consequences of ungoverned male lust.  Because these rituals were so relentlessly specific–whether it was in the rules about the wearing of gloves by ladies or hats by men–they sharpened and focused the sexual signals exchanged between the sexes.  Once upon a time, a man could be pretty sure about the ‘sort of girl’ who might be open to his advances merely by her appearance–she offered him clues in the cut of her dress, in her flirtatious manner.  A woman who gave out no such signals had the right to slap a man if he presumed her to be that sort of girl.  Today, men and women have no such ready ways of signaling each other.  The woman in the gray pinstripe suit could well be the sort of girl angling for an affair with her male boss, while the punk rocker in torn net stockings, leather miniskirt, and lace bustier may be the kind to take offense at a passerby’s whistle.

These little rules of daily life protected a larger sexual order, one that ushered men and women into marriage at a younger age and kept them there by clamping down on extramarital temptations.  Women, much more than men, depend on each other to agree on the terms by which we conduct our sex lives.  If women don’t settle down at the same time as their friends, if we insist upon our right to lead sexually unconstrained lives into our thirties and beyond, then we have to accept that there will be consequences to the long-term stability of all marriages, and even to our own ability to marry.  The twenty-two-year-old attractive woman, feeling as sexually powerful as it is possible to feel, will be unlikely to sympathize much with the thirty-three-year-old woman who complains about the shortage of men, just as she will have difficulty understanding a married woman’s mistrust of her, except as a function of envy.  A young woman will not readily see that her sexual actions have any bearing on the other women around her, and certainly not upon those older than herself.  The truth is, however, that a young woman’s actions intimately affect the lives of other women, even those she doesn’t know.  If young, attractive women offer no-strings-attached sex, then men will have no pressing reason to tie themselves down.  This might be of little concern to a woman who is not yet ready to settle down, but sooner or later it will become of urgent concern.” (p. 42-3)

Any thoughts?

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