Every week, Pipe Dream provides me with the opportunity to opine on the political trials and tribulations that convulse our country, an opportunity for which I am extraordinarily grateful. However, I want to devote this week’s piece to address a column run last week in this paper written by Diana Alexandra called “No Cupid’s Arrows Attached.”
In her piece, Diana celebrates the debauchery that is now typical of Valentine’s Day on college campuses nationwide. She extolled the virtues of sexual abandon and the freedoms afforded by single life. Her call to arms on such a festive occasion was “fight, for the right, to have a fuck buddy.” She goes on to describe what that relationship entails and explains how female sexual freedom is achieved when women are able to openly act and admit that they too are just as selfish and deviant as men.
Now, no doubt, to many who read her column, Diana was simply vindicating their view of an occasion that has long since lost its romantic significance, buried beneath an avalanche of Victoria’s Secret advertisements and Cosmo clippings. Some others might have asked themselves why they should treat their lover differently than they would on any other day.
But there are still some others who see Valentine’s Day as a day of celebration and love. They don’t turn into libertines and reenact Caligula’s Rome. They see the day for what it is and for what it should be: a day to be spent on a person worth spending time with.
Diana’s description of female sexual freedom is a betrayal of her fellow women, painting a picture of them which perpetrates a sentiment that impedes the advancement of sexual equality in America today, whether in the workplace, religion or politics.
In a day and age of mass consumption and corporatized media, where heterosexual chauvinism celebrates male dominance and female submission, the type of image Diana encourages her fellow women to endorse is exactly the kind of attitude that undermines her gender in society today.
In such a vision, women are relegated to the status of being objects, mere commodities to be bought and sold along with the products that are shoved down our throats and washed into our brains from the content found in magazines, television and movies.
Rather than reject this caricature of women and embrace the love that they deserve on Valentine’s Day and on every other, she embraces it, and calls for a race to the bottom where both men and women treat each other as nothing but raw sex objects to satiate their carnal desires.
Diana writes how she’d “be the first one to admit that I’m not really into that feminist crap. Of course I commend women who fought day and night just to allow us the right to vote, but let’s not pretend like we’re still living in the dark ages.”
Modern feminism’s scope and breadth far exceeds the narrow issue of voting; female suffrage was one part of the long and arduous suffering that women have endured in their struggle for justice and equality in this country and throughout the world.
Leaders like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem have allowed women to love, labor and live in ways far more profound than simply through the ballot box. Betty Friedan didn’t refer to “the problem that has no name” in “The Feminine Mystique” as the injustice women suffered from being denied the right to anonymous sex.
Furthermore, you don’t have to be a second-wave feminist to be offended at the story Diana tells. As a straight man, I find it insensitive to stereotype men the way she and so many others do today. I will be the first to reject the double standard where it is socially acceptable for men to act like pigs while women stay chaste. But that does not mean that both genders should have to sink to the lowest common denominator.
Men too should be insulted at the notion that women must act the way they are portrayed in the media. Accepting the status quo for females as a man insults my gender’s ability to treat the opposite sex as significant others and not sex dolls.
Diana should pay more respect to the feminists she callously shunts off; the sexual life that she leads can only be led today because of the battles feminists fought and won in years past. And as for Valentine’s Day, we should celebrate real love, not free love.