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“The big hurdle was my parents reading stuff, because we had maintained this fiction about what my life was that was really comfortable for everybody.
Which was not really talking about how dating is.”When Ms.
In considering questions like why she was not married or almost married (and why many of her friends who wanted to be married were also not married), Ms.
Witt, who has written for the London Review of Books and The New Yorker, and is a contributing editor to T: The New York Times Style Magazine, recalled thinking that “technology had changed.
Her past books, including “The Purity Myth” and “Full Frontal Feminism,” have been essayistic and polemical.
But she, like so many of her feminist icons, invokes that old mantra about the personal and the political.“As a culture, we’re only comfortable with women’s sexual stories being told from a male point of view,” Ms. “It’s not that we’re not comfortable with women’s sexuality — we see women’s sexuality plastered all over ads and movies and television shows.
carries with it a persistent whiff of strangeness, deviance and failure” — moved to New York City for a man and then he left her, sending her spiraling into the kind of year that can, if you are Ms. Instead, she takes long, introspective walks through the city where she is loveless and occasionally so unmoored that she can barely bring herself to order coffee, too vulnerable to cope with her barista’s continuing inability to decode her English accent.
She was in Cambridge, England, when I reached her to discuss her approach to the personal.“All I saw was loneliness and anxiety and frozen eggs and criticizing men.I wanted to find an independence from that.”When Ms.Witt began writing, she was nervous and reticent, and wrote in the third person.“I didn’t want to reveal a lot of myself,” she said.Social mores had changed to accept a wider range of sexual practices.And it felt like the protagonist in some ways, the main person experiencing all of this, was women.”Thus began her quest to understand the consequences of these changes.“This is a moment when people like to take pictures of their perfect lives, and I don’t think there’s much pressure on a perfect life to be anything but old-fashioned and conventional,” he said. Stein’s observations is an animating spirit throughout Ms. at Yale in the joint program of Comparative Literature and Film and Media Studies, is an academic by training, and uses the comprehensive research and dispassionate analytic style that she has honed in school. ” only to realize with horror how absurd it was that, every inch the self-respecting, educated writer and thinker, she still craved guidance from a man on this most individual of questions.Witt’s book: her quest to find some kind of new arrangement, even while she harbors a fierce attachment to the old ones.“Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating,” by Moira Weigel, is, like Ms. It wasn’t until the end of the process of writing her book that Ms. She includes the story in the first pages of her book; it’s one of the few explicitly personal exchanges she relays. Weigel, the entire process felt “urgent” and intensely personal, she told me, because the questions of how people relate to each other romantically were the ones she cared about.“I really wanted to take the subjects of love, sex and dating seriously and felt keenly aware of the trap that I had seen many young female writers pushed into, when they were encouraged to focus on ‘personal’ subjects.Her newest book, “Sex Object,” is a memoir of her sex life and the misogyny that she believes it demonstrates.To this end, she provides an extensive collection of romantic encounters and involvements — even though she knew that her book, and its title, were bound to provoke endless Twitter hate.“Whenever women write about sex, whenever they write about their relationship history, there’s a sort of rush to judgment that it must be navel gazing, it must be frivolous, it’s unimportant,” Ms. “Whereas of course when men write things about their sex lives or past relationships, it’s brave and universal and all the great things.”For her, the decision to do a memoir was a departure.