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Friday, 12 May 2017

"The Summer of Love Rape"

In "The Real Thing," Tom Stoppard had a line, something to the effect, "what 'free love' is free of is love."
All I can say is, yup.
 I reads lot of magazines, or at least, I skim them. A friend, because of her profession, subscribes to a few in which I am interested but too stingy to buy, so I asked her to give me her back issues now, instead of throwing them out, and when I finish, I'll bring them to the nursing home.
She gets about a dozen a WEEK.
So, as I said, I skim.
But the March Vanity Fair stopped me in my tracks.
There's a piece about 1967, the so-called Summer of Love, (I thank the Lord that it passed without the notice of my prepubescent self,) a conversation amongst some glamorous or artistic women of the time, about how Fashion, with a capital " f," was completely altered for all time by the hippies and rock stars and feminists and models.
That's what the piece is SUPPOSED to be about, at any rate.
But what jumped out at me was all these empowered women telling tale after tale of sexual assault, coercion, rape, belittlement...
How, after the talk turned that way, did the author, Sheila Weller, not see that the real story was not about bell bottoms and boho blouses?
Vanity Fair is not, after all a fashion mag.
 "If someone forced himself upon you, it was almost as if you had to pay for your sins; you accepted it."
When women spoke at DDS meetings about need for equality men would shout them down, "Take her off the stage and f*** her!"
 "I remember being made to feel bourgeois by[my much older husband] if I exhibited discomfort with the freewheeling sexuality."
"Rather than fighting, you just closed your eyes and gave in."
One of the more prominent of the women does NOT, of course, reference her own notorious autobiographical confession that the entire time she was THE outspoken icon of empowerment she was herself a submissive, abused woman.

I'm surprised, even in a climate that doesn't want to admit that there is any movement toward sexual expression on which the brakes ought to be applied, this hasn't occasioned any comment, so far as I can see - because I was aware of the issue, I knew there was some too-ing and fro-ing about the movie star cover girl and whether showing her breasts in the fashion shoot contradicted her brand of feminism. (And no, I concur with her that it doesn't; although it's a damned silly looking dress.)

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