As a child, I always related more to the villains of pop culture than the heroes or heroines. Disney’s Maleficent, Jafar, Hades and Scar were assertive, cunning, ambitious and just plain didn’t give a fuck what anyone else thought of them. Their “good” counterparts (especially the heroines) were often boring doormats who by some miraculous circumstance ended up winning in the end. You can imagine the confusion of my classmates when we were playing Power Rangers and I wanted to be Rita rather than Kimberly.
Fast forward 20 years and Im reading what Carolyn has to say about slutty women in Radical Feminism, her book which I am reviewing for you fine folks. Not only am I loving the reasons she vilifies these women, but I am relating to them. Much to my delight, there is a Bible quote about sluts which I feel is actually kind of empowering without intending to be so: Proverbs 7: 10-12
10. And behold, the woman meets him dressed as a prostitute. She dresseds as a harlot and is cunning of heart. 11 She is boisterous and rebellious, her feet do not remain at home ; 12 She is now in the streets, now in the squares, and lurks by every corner.
This is so fascinating to me, because its meant to be a conviction of character, but to me it just seems like some woman who wears tight or skimpy clothes and is beguilingly clever. She refuses to conform to the confining rules and standards set before her, and travels alot. Skip forward a few chapters to the Proverbs 31 woman, who is a stark contrast to the slutty woman. Or, that’s how I interpret it anyways. It all ties in to my fascination with how different people and cultures define “loose” females. Some folks see it as the quantity of sexual partners you’ve had, while others believe they can tell one just by seeing them.
In the next couple of chapters, Carolyn embraces the topics of marriage and divorce. Right off the bat, she mentions that she is not married and so her main source of information comes from the Bible and the testimonies of friends who are. In this regard, Carolyn and I are in the same boat. I am not married, never have been and am not looking to be any time in the near future.
Unexpectedly, I agreed with a great deal of what she had to say about commitment in marriage, minus the Scripture she backed it up with. When so much of the book has given me mental hives during my perusal of the pages, it was a pleasant relief to read something and be like “oh, yeah….well….I concur! Holy crap!”
For example, she gives an inspiring example of a friend whose husband was caught in a large embezzlement scandal. When the news broke, the wife was very distraught, but she stuck by her husband’s side and gave him guidance and a shoulder to lean on rather than divorcing him and letting him drown in the shame of what he’d done.
Again, I’m not married, but I imagine I’d do the same thing. Honestly, divorce wouldn’t even cross my mind. The wife in the story was devastated by the “sin” of what her husband had done and trying to reconcile it with the character of the man she’d been married to for 2 decades, but I think I’d be more pissed he didn’t share what he was doing with me from the beginning. Sure, I’d be disappointed in his shoddy ethics, but I’d be dismayed by the withholding of information.
For me, what the Bible says has nothing to do with my view on divorce. I’ve known wonderful people who are divorced, and it’s not my place to say I would’ve done differently in their stead. But my (admittedly devoid of personal experience) opinion is when I commit to someone for life, I’ve set sail for uncharted waters with full cognizance of what I’m doing. Jumping ship is not an option. Whether that ship turns out to be Old Ironsides or the Titanic is not the point. When I say “I do”, I’ve decided that person is worth the risk. Of course, I’m sure there are some exceptions to the rule such as domestic abuse, but that’s not the point I’m making here.
Carolyn says the deep friendship between two partners in marriage is what anchors the bond. She says a lot of other stuff about God having to do with it, but oh well. I agree with the main premise. I’m stubborn, vain, outlandishly independent, outspoken and selfish. To find a man or woman who could love me in spite of me would be the greatest gift of all.
I’d be interested to hear what my readers who are married, or were married think about divorce. Carolyn is against it in all measures, and considers it a failure of character to jump ship. I’ve never been married, and so my agreement with her words on commitment stem from my ideals rather than experience. What are the “secular” ethics on marriage and divorce?
I’d like to think it has to do with consciously choosing to stand by someone’s side and be successful partners through close friendship and constant communication. Good partnerships don’t need “divine grace” to work, they just need determination, openness forgiveness and acceptance. That’s what has worked for me in relationships and platonic friendships, and I’d like to believe it makes the translation to marriage.