Thursday, February 18, 2010
* Single Standard Deflates Dickens
I am reading David Copperfield again after a four decade breather.
During that four decades feminism triumphed, the birth control pill became ubiquitous, and Roe v. Wade became an excuse for abortion to be labelled an alleged form of birth control.
In short, Emily's crisis (choosing money--or being a "lady"-- over virginity) has evaporated.
The rest of the novel sings true, but Emily's "disgrace" seems a complete waste of time and energy to today's emancipated readers.
Maintaining virginity until marriage itself seems like just one more way sexist men try to manipulate and control women.
Choice---and Emily does make one---doesn't result in humiliation or ostracism today. In fact, it is applauded as a sign of equality and liberation, a sign that the double standard in sexual matters has collapsed into a single standard.
Even the Chaplain of Yale, Rev. Debra Haffner, a sexologist, declares she wouldn't agree to perform marriage for those who are still virgins.
How the Dickens can society change so radically in only forty years?!
Posted by Paul D. Keane, The Anti-Yale at 7:05 PM