The Morning After
Sex, Fear, and Feminism

Roiphe, Katie
Publisher:  Back Bay Books
Year Published:  1994   First Published:  1993
Pages:  200pp   ISBN:  978-0316754323
Library of Congress Number:  LC197 R65 1993   Dewey:  370.19'345 -- dc20
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX21843

When Katie Roiphe arrived at Harvard in the fall of 1986, she found that the feminism she had been raised to believe in had been radically transformed. The women's movement, which had once signaled such strength and courage, now seemed lodged in a foundation of weakness and fear. At Harvard, and later as a graduate student at Princeton, Roiphe saw a thoroughly new phenomenon taking shape on campus: the emergence of a culture captivated by victimization, and of a new bedroom politics in the university, cloaked in outdated assumptions about the way men and women experience sex.

Abstract: 
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Publisher's Description:

When Katie Roiphe arrived at Harvard in the fall of 1986, she found that the feminism she had been raised to believe in had been radically transformed. The women's movement, which had once signaled such strength and courage, now seemed lodged in a foundation of weakness and fear. At Harvard, and later as a graduate student at Princeton, Roiphe saw a thoroughly new phenomenon taking shape on campus: the emergence of a culture captivated by victimization, and of a new bedroom politics in the university, cloaked in outdated assumptions about the way men and women experience sex. Men were the silencers and women the silenced, and if anyone thought differently no one was saying so. Twenty-four-year-old Katie Roiphe is the first of her generation to speak out publicly against the intolerant turn the women's movement has taken, and in The Morning After she casts a critical eye on what she calls the mating rituals of a rape-sensitive community. From Take Back the Night marches (which Roiphe terms "march as therapy" and "rhapsodies of self-affirmation") to rape-crisis feminists and the growing campus concern with sexual harassment, Roiphe shows us a generation of women whose values are strikingly similar to those their mothers and grandmothers fought so hard to escape from - a generation yearning for regulation, fearful of its sexuality, and animated by a nostalgia for days of greater social control. At once a fierce excoriation of establishment feminism and a passionate call to our best instincts, The Morning After sounds a necessary alarm and entreats women of all ages to take stock of where they came from and where they want to go.


Excerpts:

These Princeton women, future lawyers, newspaper reporters, investment bankers, are hardly the voiceless, by most people's definition. But silence is poetic. These days people vie for the position of being silenced, but being silenced is necessarily a construct of the articulate. Once you're talking about being voiceless, you're already talking. The first Take Back the Night march at Princeton was more than ten years ago, and every year they're breaking the silence all over again. The fashionable clock of silence is more about style than content.

...

As Susan Sontag writes, "Since Christianity upped the ante and concentrated on sexual behavior as the root of virtue, everything pertaining to sex has been a 'special case' in our culture, evoking peculiarly inconsistent attitudes." No human interactions are free from pressure, and the idea that sex is, or can be, makes it what Sontag calls a 'special case' vulnerable to the inconsistent expectations of double standards.

...

My usual attitude was that sex might be dangerous, but then so was driving a car.


Subject Headings

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