Oh my. Here we go again. I recently received an email with the title "FemSex." I knew just by looking at that title that the email's contents would be . . . interesting, to say the least. Inside, I found an invitation to attend an information meeting for a seminar that had first been introduced at UC Berkeley and then at Brown, and now was coming to Harvard. Oh boy! What could this seminar be about?
Apparently the seminar will be a place for women "to learn about their bodies and explore the impact of sexuality on their identity." Hmm, well I suppose learning about sexuality and identity isn't all that bad, since we seem to talk about sexuality a lot on this blog (although I'm not even sure what the term means anymore since it is thrown around so much at Harvard). And everyone always likes to talk about herself and what defines who she is as a person. My friends and I are at least guilty of that! Also, I'm not sure what there is to learn about my body, or what specifically they mean about that. I mean, I know I have two arms and two legs and other parts that God gave me! Ok, I'll admit it, I'm just trying to be difficult. I can imagine what they mean by learning about our bodies . . .
Anyway, here is more info from the email:
The course topics include: anatomy and physiology, race/ethnicity and
sexuality, orgasms, masturbation, communication and partner sex,
fantasies, sexual diversity, pornography and erotica, BDSM, body image,
eating disorders, women's health issues, safer sex, violence against
women, community building and whatever else YOU bring to the table.
Set in the context of self-love, exploration and the spectrum of cultural,
ethnic, racial, and sexual identities, the objective of women's
empowerment will be achieved through analytical readings, assignments,
guest speakers, field trips and confidential class discussions. This class
requires dedication, openness, willingness to communicate, suspension of
judgment, and BRAVERY.
Wow. The description is a little scary for me to read. First, a couple of questions: 1) What is sexual diversity? Diversity in what respect? 2.) What women's health issues are they talking about?
This is one of those things I feel like I should attend just to provide a dissenting opinion. I often ask myself, If I don't go, then who will be there to let them know the alternative viewpoint (since groupthink is all-too-common at even the most academic of institutions, believe it or not)?
Generally when I go to things like this I provide the lone modest opinion. Fortunately, people have usually been willing to listen to me. They listened when I went to the meeting about the proposed construction of a Women's Center (when we don't even have a student center) and lamented that I thought it would turn into a haven for only certain women, instead of all women like their mission statement claimed. They listened when I went to a focus group on Sex Signals, a mandatory presentation on sex that all freshmen must go to their first week at Harvard, and lamented that the presenters seemed to assume that all college students are out partying and hooking up with anyone and everyone. Yes, they certainly have listened to me, since I've been willing to speak up. I'm pretty sure, however, that they haven't started heeding any of my advice and warnings . . . if only I could get them to listen and comprehend.
But then I wonder if I really want to attend something like this. Sure, I'm curious. Curious not about the subject matter, but more about the people involved. How it is that they think, believe, and act so differently than I do? How do they tick that way and not my way (or vice versa)? What happens to people that makes us so different, so diverse? I'd like to be able to find that out without having to listen to other people's stories of sexual fantasies and sexcapades. I don't want to learn more about pornography and erotica if they are going to be glorified as great ways to improve our sex lives. I'd like to think of them as great ways to flush our society down the toilet.
Well, I feel a tangent about the use of the word "empowerment" coming on. I'll save that for another day, so you have something to look forward to. I've said many controversial things, so do please keep your comments flowing! I always enjoy reading your perspectives, and I'm sure you'll have plenty to say about what I've just written. I love dialogue, so let me hear it! Anyway, as I need to head back to the world of studying, I'm going to sign off for now.
P.S. If any of the organizers of FemSex manage to get a hold of this (a few friends of mine read this blog, so it has the potential to circulate), I certainly welcome your comments and answers to my questions.