I spent Thanksgiving with my ex-pat friend Mara and her family in London. During my trip, Mara alerted me to a column by Libby Brooks in the previous week's The Guardian, "Feminism and romantic love make very happy bedfellows", about a study from Rutgers University that indicates that feminists have stronger relationships and are better in bed:
What the Rutgers researchers actually found was that, in a survey of college students and older adults, all in heterosexual relationships, men paired with feminist partners reported greater relationship stability and sexual satisfaction. In addition, there was consistent evidence that male feminist partners were healthier for women's relationships, while there was scant evidence that women's feminism created conflict in liaisons.
Mara and I laughed about this article, as the Rutgers findings are conventional wisdom to us and millions of other feminists around the world. At the same time, it is sort of depressing that an article about an American study that found positive things about feminism can only find a mainstream media home in a British newspaper. (Although according to a wonderful essay on feminism, gender relations, and romance by Joe Williams at Ears Open, British columnists write good things about feminism, but "news" reporters take the same feminist-bashing route as American papers. Read the essay, though. It's one of the best I've seen in ages.)
I'm not the only one whose noticed the absence of this positive story about feminists in American media. Rick Howe at Back in the Day, Boy wrote:
I've already read the NY Times online, and saw no mention of this study there. Nor did I see any mention of this study on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation site. I'll keep an eye peeled for a mention as I read the Washington Post online, but don't expect to find a reference there either.
We Americans are not comfortable talking about sex, in general. Add to that talk about satisfying sex and feminism . . . . that's beyond the pale!
Maybe because there was very little mainstream media chatter there hasn't been too much blogging on Brooks's article, either. Jennifer, a Canadian living in Glasgow and blogging about it at I Dream of Haggis, summed up her feeling about the study by noting that it is "good news for us feminists!" Indeed it is. And that's probably why we aren't seeing much more of it. Who likes reading good news about feminism?!?! Well, everyone who reads BlogHer does, but I guess we don't count.
After all, anti-feminism is much sexier than feminism (with all that body hair and everything!), so why bother covering a report showing that contrary to Pat Robertson's belief that feminism "encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians," it actually makes for stronger heterosexual relationships? (For a truly hilarious report supporting this theory, check out Feminist kill-joys target marriage by Rebecca Hagelin at my favorite conservative think tank – it takes a lot of time and money to come up with the crazy conspiracies that they do – The Heritage Foundation. People like Hagelin just reinforce my theory that oftentimes, women are our own worst enemies. Sigh.)
Anyway, kudos to Libby Brooks for bringing some attention to good news. She's written many great feminist articles over at The Guardian, further fueling my Londonphilia. Feminist like me are able to love in many ways.
Suzanne also blogs at Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS) & Other Rants and has never considered leaving her husband, although the destruction of capitalism and practice of witchcraft does sound appealing.
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