California Girls and FEMINISM in the Second Wave might surprise you…

“Women are the only exploited group in history to have been idealized into powerlessness.”
Erica Jong

American men of the patriarchy are no different than any other men in the global patriarchy.

California girls who grew up as feminists knew this.  Especially pretty California girls.  Smart girls decided they wanted an education, rather than be trapped into marriages right away.  They knew that putting on the ring was going to mean things were going to change.

It has always been an established fact that men felt free to rove as they wanted in terms of women — and score as many notches as they could on their belts.  The California feminists like myself?  Well?

Sexual freedom was also part of the Second Wave.  In terms of equality.  Things are different for pretty women in American culture — but I expect it’s the same for pretty women in any culture.  Men probably don’t realize how their brethren actually act?

In my generation the role models for beautiful women were women like Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren.

My generation of feminists went two ways.  Many women became lesbians.  I was heterosexual, and I wanted to live with the same freedoms men had.  I did and I have.

Men are always trying to put women under some kind of veil.  Because they like to control women.

My generation of women who liked men have had tremendous experience with all kinds of them because we have had many, many relationships.

This is why we are in a position to speak about all sorts of things about the patriarchy. Like sex, or how women are treated.

Or power.

Reading Erica Jong as I did at thirteen — her poetry — gave me hints about what was to come.  In my class of “white feminists” it was every girl for herself.  It wouldn’t have been okay for our mothers to discuss anything about sexuality with us, and in the 70’s sex education was non-existent.  For us, sex education was going to come from the men we were with.

Here is the wikipedia on my generation’s feminism:

Feminist theory emerged from these feminist movements[2][3] and includes general theories and theories about the origins of inequality, and, in some cases, about the social construction of sex and gender, in a variety of disciplines. Feminist activists have campaigned for women’s rights—such as in contract, property, and voting—while also promoting women’s rights to bodily integrity and autonomy and reproductive rights. They have opposed domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. In economics, they have advocated for workplace rights, including equal pay and opportunities for careers and to start businesses.

My generation has had immense sexual freedom.  On purpose.

Because, love does not last.  My generation looked, and looks for love out of curiosity and also?  Men are all different.  It’s like a candy box of little samples to be with different ones.  They are not equal in bed either.  Some have far better techniques than others.  But this is not something many women of my generation told them.  Because it would have seemed impolite to do so.

Frankly, I think a lot of women in my generation were trying to see if men could actually give them mythic orgasms.

We had read about them, and we wanted them.

Pretty women?

Men don’t last.  At least that has been my experience.  They seem to be unable to.

The passage of Roe v Wade gave men license to have many many women, and they did.  This worked in the reverse too.  Here is an interesting article on the television programming of the 1970’s as a force for shaping cultural surround.

Take the matter of women’s sexuality. The women’s liberation and anti-rape movements, the popularization of sex advice literature, and the widespread adoption of the birth control pill had made women’s sexuality a subject of public discussion. Questions of women’s sexual satisfaction, of reproductive rights, of sexual violence were all up for debate. While television did not typically address different forms of orgasm or the politics of abortion (with some important exceptions, such as the two-episode abortion plot on Maude in 1972), it made women’s sexuality a ubiquitous theme, and offered a range of variations on it. On the daytime soap opera Guiding Light, Roger Thorpe raped his wife, Holly, who then faced a criminal justice system that treated rape victims abusively and charges of marital rape incredulously. On the hit sitcom Three’s Company, middle-aged Helen Roper constantly griped about her husband Stanley’s lackluster sexual performance, lobbing sarcastic insults at him and bemoaning her dissatisfaction in bed. And in commercials for the vaginal deodorant spray FDS, a woman confided to the camera that FDS made her feel “grown up” and “more feminine” before she excitedly whispered, “He’s home.” Across the television schedule, at all times of day and night and in all kinds of genres, women’s sexuality was displayed, defended, and discussed. Not only was it the subject of numerous TV narratives, but women’s sexuality was also addressed differently in each of these representations. This was a limited diversity, to be sure, but one that spoke to many of the TV audience’s hopes, fears, and uncertainties about the changes brought by the sexual revolution.

Television’s handling of sex in the 1970s presented a negotiation between long-standing values, mores, and norms and the challenges to them posed by the sexual revolution. The participants in these negotiations—the broadcast networks, television producers, writers, and performers, government and intra-industrial regulators, advertisers, organized audience groups and individual viewers, along with the television programming itself—determined how the sexual revolution would pervade the American mainstream. Through this confluence of forces, America’s new sexual culture would take root, blooming into a new understanding of sex in the post-sexual revolution world. Television of the 1970s shaped the way that American culture would think and talk about sex for years to come.

Women in my generation who were heterosexual still expected to find Prince Charming in terms of the Cinderella myth.

Each man had the potential to be Prince Charming.  In a sense, he would provide an orgasmic Shangri-la.

And he would love us, forever and ever.  But that isn’t what happened.  Because of all the freedom surrounding us, and the “liberated” woman’s sense of herself as coming up as a feminist — it was an onslaught of men coming at you from all angles, all the time.  With the bedroom in mind.  My writing is opening up what has been a very sealed topic since Jong.  My generation of women has been very, very silent about what happened in their lives and with the men they experienced.  I’m writing on several levels when I write about sexuality as lived.  One is to open it up in terms of morality tales and the other is to provide empowerment of the sort I had from other women writers in the generation just before mine.

There are many tales to tell about my generation.

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