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Women's Bodies are Not the Problem with Leah Jacobson
Brave New Us Season 2 is live!
The Sexual Revolution promised equality for women, lifting up contraception and abortion as essential tools to even the playing field. A generation later, is that what we’ve inherited?
Samantha sits down with author Leah Jacobson to discuss the rotten fruits of the feminist tree to uncover what women really need for full flourishing as women in society, and why that means embracing our bodies rather than muting some of our greatest capabilities.
You can purchase Leah’s book Wholistic Feminism: Healing the Identity Crisis Caused by the Women’s Movement, connect on Instagram, or visit her website at http://www.leahajacobson.com/.
Let me tell you a story. A young writer sits at her desk, fingers poised above her typewriter, ready to type, but still the weight of pressure from her editor hangs heavy around her shoulders. Invent the story. Is this what reporters do? She sighs, deflated. All the thrill of finally landing the job she's been pursuing for years has escaped. And then the clocking starts. Decision made, she begins to type. Each strike of her keyboard hardening the exterior of the new person she's becoming. If her soft, idealistic self is not welcome in this office, she will reinvent herself, become a new person like the imaginary woman whose promiscuity she glamorizes. She will conjure this new self out of thin air clack clack. This is a true story. It's 1971, and the young writer is Sue Ellen Browder. Years later, she would gather the courage to tell her story in the book Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women's Movement.
It's the story of her career as, what she describes as, a propaganda writer for Cosmopolitan Magazine, selling ideas, ideas about the modern woman and her delight in sexual freedom, her gratitude for the liberating powers of contraception and abortion. Stories are powerful. Women of our present generation have been told a story about themselves, about their bodies and their fertility. They have been lied to about their life giving power, taught to fear what is arguably the greatest physical capability our species has. Browder was just one of those storytellers. Author Leah Jacobson is telling a new story.
She writes: “We've allowed our culture to blame our bodies for all the inequalities we experience as women in every woman's magazine, there are multiple articles that communicate our worth in terms of our sexual appeal, our careers and our freedom from long term commitments, such as marriage and children. The single sexually available woman is portrayed as the height of happiness and success. The only mention of our feminine abilities is in ads for ovulation suppressing drugs, information on delaying pregnancy and virtually nothing about our breasts lactating, except a million tips on maximizing breast cleavage with the wonder bra and makeup tricks.” Jacobson reflects, “Rather than elevating culture to appreciate and support women's bodies, we settled for a culture that says our bodies are for sexual pleasure only. Making the right to alter, suppress, and destroy our fertile, life-giving female bodies the supreme women's right.”