On Naomi Wolf’s “The Two Boys Who Helped Make Me a Feminist” in MORE Magazine

Content warning: abuse

 

I find it really interesting that Naomi Wolf recognized the importance of telling her parents about the time Sam hurt her badly. It seems that she was unable to recognize the larger significance of the times he hit her during their relationship. I wonder how long it took her to understand the impact of Sam’s abuse. I’m glad she dated Mark soon after her relationship with Sam ended and that she was able to understand that Sam had complicated reasons for abusing her and was not a terrible person. I wonder if she would have been as interested as she is in working with women who experienced physical or sexual trauma.

 

-MS

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On Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing”

 In “I Stand Here Ironing,” the mother character is recounting her experiences with her daughter. The most striking part of the story is when the mother talks about her daughter’s crush. I think that this moment serves as an allegorical representation of the inequality of the sexes in heterosexual relationships. The daughter is not only stealing from her mother, but she is lusting after the boy’s attention. Her amoral behavior (stealing) coupled with her lustfulness just goes to show how much a women has to do in a relationship. And after all of her work, the boy is still interested in “Jennifer” (ie. not the little girl whom we have become attached to). This seemingly innocuous moment in her daughter’s life is actually representative of the perils that women face when trying to enter into a relationship with a man. They are expected to be the givers, not the receivers. They provide a home (ie. maintenance) and raise the children (these generalizations are just a couple of the things expected from women. So it is telling when a young girl is forced to do all of the work in the “relationship”, or lack thereof. Which brings me to another point; while women have to do all of the work, it is the man who decides whether or not to cast the women aside. The power structure of heterosexual relationships is SO wacky, SO stilted. Why aren’t women screaming from their roof tops about this? It’s just plain ridiculous.

 

-BP