Loads of Learned Lumber

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fifth of five notes on Sheila Heti, _How Should a Person Be?

5) I'M STUMPED OVER why I keep coming across examples of intelligent and gifted young women assuming stances of sexual abjection.  In the present instance, the chapter titled "Interlude for Fucking" includes passages like the following:

I'll make you your meals and serve you them, leave you alone to paint while I go into my room. Then in the morning when we wake, you can look down, touch your cock. It's hard. Do you need me then? Tell me, as you did the first time I woke in your bed, I like to have my cock sucked in the morning.

All right, Israel. I will put it in my mouth. You just close your eyes. I will do my work for you in the morning.

There's more, but you get the idea. Later in the book, Israel makes some more peculiar requests ("fucking a disgusting old man in a portolet").  Is he actually expecting Sheila to do this, or is it a kind of porn scenario he finds compelling? Hard to tell, but in either case, he seems a man better avoided.

I could think of comparable moments in Ariana Reines's Coeur de Lion, and Lena Dunham's character in Girls occasionally finds herself in similar predicaments, and is similarly obliging.

But why?

I may just be too old.

Having grown up with second-wave feminists as mothers and teachers, are women of this generation finding abjection is the most potent transgression of all?

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