Chapter 6 on Sex, Power, and Intimacy. I think men also enjoy being chivalrous at times because they know that it shows the girl they really care when they may not be able to put that into words. Also, I like being the emotionally intimate one in the relationship. Maybe it is because I grew up seeing my mom and dad fall into the roles discussed; however, I don’t mind the fact that men don’t open up as much “because of the anxiety associated with being vulnerable and potentially losing personal power’ (pg 177).
Although I did disagree with some aspects of the chapter, there were definitely points that I agreed with and even found very interesting. I have always believed a day such as Sweetest’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, but I did not realize what a history romantic love has with that of the consumer culture. As I watched some television commercials for perfume and make-up in the past few days, I began to realize what a dreamy, fantastical image that they were portraying; it also appeared that they were subtly hinting (sometimes not too subtly) that simply the use of these products would help you find a romantic love partner. This supports Shaw and Lee’s explanation that in the near past “Romance became a commodity that could be purchased, and it made great promises” (pg 174). I never realized how valuable romantic love is to consumer industries such as movie theaters, restaurants, and even the fashion industry. Trying to create “the mood” is what these industries are all about, and I have made ample use of them when going on dates. I do fall in the category of women who “spend enormous emotional energy, time, and money in the pursuit and maintenance of romantic love” (pg 174); however, I now understand that the consumer industries are not creating this atmosphere to help you, but to help themselves.
Read: How do same-sex friendships compare with cross-sex friendships?
I was also very interested in the story of Emma Goldman. I did some research on J. Edgar Hoover and I now think I understand more of why he called Emma “one of the most dangerous women in America in the early twentieth century” (pg 171). To give a simple background, after graduating in 1917 and joining the Justice Department, John Edgar Hoover had the responsibility of leading a new section “that had been formed to gather evidence on ‘revolutionary and ultra-revolutionary groups’. Over the next couple of years Hoover had the task of organizing the arrest and deportation of suspected communists in America” (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAhooverE.htm). He created an enormous card index of people with left-wing political views and advised the attorney general to round up and deport these people. To give him even more drive, on the second anniversary of the Russian Revolution, he had 10,000 of his listed individuals arrested. Most of the Americans were released; however, he decided he was going to make his “big” case on Emma Goldman. At this time, Emma Goldman had come to the United States from Russia and after some harsh experiences here “was drawn to anarchism and became a revolutionary” (pg 171). This made her quite a target for Hoover. She was encouraging people to rise up against government standards, she was from the communistic Russian background, and probably worst case she was a woman.
I think Hoover feared the power Goldman was showing prior to the Women’s Movement, and therefore he was trying to have society agree with him my saying she was very dangerous. I thought it was sad that Hoover won and she was eventually deported back to Russia; yet, I was very intrigued that she was then called one of the greatest living women. She stood away from the crowd and spoke for women and supported just causes such as birth control, abortion, contraception availability; “she called for a transformation of values, particularly by women” (pg 171). This is remarkable because I think she really was before her time, and she wasn’t afraid to stand up to the American government that she was not native too. That she could be called a great woman proved that Americans were finally rallying together for the cause, and that Goldman had made a serious impression on society. I had not heard of her prior to this reading; however, I feel like I should be so proud that she was a women fighting for our sexual liberties to the point where she went through deportation. She was one of the reasons this chapter really opened my eyes, and I enjoyed this reading because of that.