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  1. Em
    Em January 22, 2007 at 2:32 pm |

    She’s down on respect b/c in the conservative interpretation of gender roles, men need/want respect and women need/want love. It’s fucked; check out FOTF’s site for more. They had plenty of articles about it as recently as last year.

  2. MikeEss
    MikeEss January 22, 2007 at 2:58 pm |

    Since Carole King, who co-wrote “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” with Gerry Goffin, is very much alive it would be interesting to have her comment on Dawn Eden’s abuse of her song.

    I always got the same take on the song you did. Later songs like “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” make it clear that she’s no prude, wallowing in the shame of her own sensuality, but rather a woman expressing the joy of her passions.

    Dawn Eden needs help…

  3. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos January 22, 2007 at 3:07 pm |

    And then you can go back to the 20s and 30s with Sophie Tucker singing, “Neglected girls shouldn’t worry/That’s what god made sailors for!” or Memphis Minnie’s “Bumblebee Blues.” Of course cherry-picking meaning isn’t new. Manet, Toulouse Lautrec, and Nin were scandalous for revealing details about sexuality that had been kept in the closet long before the 60s. Mae West wrote a play that resulted in a law being passed banning discussion of homosexuality from the stage.

    Some conservatives even want to go back to that double-standard. The problem is not directly with porn, but with the fact that it’s no longer bought by secretive men in plain paper bags and disreputable stores.

    It seems like every generation thinks it invented sex, and needs to stand fast against sexual immorality.

    The fruits of this accepted single-woman lifestyle resemble those of a drug habit more than a dating paradigm. In a vicious cycle, women feel lonely because they are not loved, so they have casual sex with men who do not love them.

    Ohh, mild trigger there which makes sense in a way. Former addicts are frequently the most sanctimonious about other people’s behaviors.

    No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t transform a sexual encounter — or a string of encounters — into a real relationship.

    And I’m thinking, well duh! I actually went through a period of time where I didn’t have sex or seek sexual relationships for many of the reasons she describes. Of course, I met my current partner, we ended up having sex on the second date, and have been together for 13 years. It surprises me that anybody these days really thinks that sex will transform a relationship, or is equivalent no love or respect. For that matter, I don’t believe that a “real relationship” necessarily means that real love and respect exists.

  4. Molly
    Molly January 22, 2007 at 3:09 pm |

    This is only tangentially related to your post, but Susan J. Douglas discusses the importance of the Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (the title of which Dawn Eden got right, as much as I hate to agree with her) to the social evolution of what it means to be a woman in her book Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media. Although the lyrics to the song are vaguely horrifying by a contemporary feminist analysis, in December of 1960, when “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” hit number 1, it represented a distinct departure from the more traditional songs that had been popular previously, songs in which rebelliousness and sexual desire were only acceptable for boys. Douglas writes:

    “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” was about a traditional female topic, love, but it was also about female longing and desire, including sexual desire. And, most important, it was about having a choice. For these girls, the decisioin to have sex was now a choice, and this was new. This was, in fact, revolutionary. Girl group music gave expression to our struggles with the possibilities and dangers of the Sexual Revolution.

    I know this post was focused on Dawn Eden’s book rather than the Shirelles’ song, but I just wanted to offer another perspective on the social significance of the song and also recommend Susan Douglas’ book to anyone interested in a very readable analysis of how the mass media and popular culture have shaped both our identities as women and the trajectory of our feminism over the years.

  5. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne January 22, 2007 at 3:11 pm |

    Then there’s the comparison of sexual freedom to dangerous weapons and drug addiction, and, later, overeating.

    Frankly, I do think that there’s a close relationship between sexual compulsion and food/overeating compulsions. In this culture, food IS sex (Better Than Sex Cake, anyone?), and you prove your mastery over all of your appetites by being model-thin and prudish. There’s no one more dangerous in this culture than an overweight woman who wants sex.

    Not to mention that women who were sexually abused or molested as children frequently gain weight as a coping mechanism to try and make themselves less attractive to other potential abusers. I’ve seen some women have a VERY hard time handling the sudden upsurge in male attention that they get when they lose even a few pounds — it’s very threatening to them because of their backgrounds.

  6. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos January 22, 2007 at 3:19 pm |

    Or for that matter, if we are going to dissect pop music for hints about changing sexual mores, why not look at Joni Mitchel’s observations as someone who can actually remember the early 60s. “Come In From the Cold” strikes me as incredibly erotic for describing the depths of sexual desire, and realistic for describing the ambiguities of sexual relationships.

  7. Kim
    Kim January 22, 2007 at 3:34 pm |

    I never understand how anybody could ever buy that whole “time of innocence” crap. People have sex. They always have. It’s fun. It propogates the species. It’s good stuff. People who were alive in the 50’s MUST remember they were hornballs too.

    And anyway, what the hell is so innocent about a time in which blacks could be lynched, raped or anything else under the sun without anyone batting an eyelash? People are always pointing to the past and sighing that it was SOOOO much better then: I mean, I admit to liking the idea of men walking around in suits all the time (rawr!), but let us remember that the world was more fucked up then in certain ways than it is now.

  8. Peter
    Peter January 22, 2007 at 3:54 pm |

    zuzu, I agree with your reading of the meaning of the song, and it never occurred to me before that there COULD be another reading of it.

    I still think it’s the right way to look at it.

    But it was SO bizarre that I stared at the lyrics for a while to see if there was ANY way to read it as a woman looking for absolution rather than for reassurance, and it struck me that there really is.

    Look at just the first two verses. They could easily be being sung by someone who knows that she is using an innocent, genuinely loving partner (the text is utterly gender neutral), and wonders if he will figure out he is being used.

    The third and fourth verses are harder to justify, unless “But will my heart be broken/When the night meets the morning sun?/I’d like to know that your love/Is love I can be sure of” means, in essence, “my happiness is so invested in being able to use you, even though I don’t love you, that it would break my heart if you caught on.”

    So, yes, the song could be about a woman seeking absolution by being reassured that her lover will still love her, but only if we believe she is some sort of sociopath who is using her partner and feels sick and dirty about it, who feels no love at all, and is just looking for the reassurance that her fun isn’t going to stop.

    Which, sadly, is apparently Dawn’s worldview, that casual sex is always a sociopath’s game. But why getting the reassurance would turn that sort of sick game into “a thing of beauty” evades me.

    No, you (and every other human being on the planet who ever heard the song) have it right. It would take one hell of a whacked out delivery and video to shift the meaning to anything resembling what she describes (Some sort of neo-punk version, with a video of a Mrs. Robinson-type predator “using” an innocent teen, perhaps?) Yikes.

  9. Isabel
    Isabel January 22, 2007 at 4:01 pm |

    Molly: I love Susan Douglas! Badass media-critic feminist extraordinaire. We had to read Where The Girls Are for my 11th-grade contemporary US history elective (a few weeks before we watched Hard Day’s Night as homework and spent four days straight listening to the Byrds, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan–why, yes, it WAS the greatest class ever, why do you ask?) I actually wrote a paper for that class on 60s love songs. My personal favorite nearing-subversiveness 60s girl-group song was the Chinelle’s “He’s So Fine.” Sure, they were only hoping he’d make a move, never dreaming of making one themselves, but they were acknowledging that women, too, can judge men on sexual attractiveness and desire them for that very trait alone! Plus, a beat you can dance awkwardly to!

    On another random music note, “Will You [Still?] Love Me Tomorrow” always makes me think of a truly disturbing Baby-Sitters Club Mystery I read when I was younger.

    Also: I can’t add anything to zuzu’s analysis, so I’m gonna get petty and say: Dawn Eden is a terrible writer. God, at least Caitlin Flanegan, from the excerpts I’ve read, can put a decent-sounding sentence together. I’m not gonna rag on her incessantly for not knowing where “pursuit of happiness” comes from–most Americans probably don’t, never having read either document in question, and the vast majority certainly never had a 7th grade history teacher who made them memorize the Preambles to both (and the first two paragraphs of the Gettysburg Address, though I liked it so much I did the whole thing)–but I am gonna rag on the editor who really let the ball drop with that one. Was it really that hard just to check? You probably could have freaking Wiki’d it.

  10. DAS
    DAS January 22, 2007 at 5:14 pm |

    it’s insecurity, and the feeling that she’s not in control.

    Is chastity one way to get control? Undoubtedly. And it may be right for her.

    My general experience in talking with righty-tighties is that they have serious issues with self-control and the only way they can control themselves is if some authority (the Bible, their mother, even a trusted friend) tells them to abstain. And even moderation is un-manageable for them: I know a righty-tighty who is not at all addicted to alcohol in the sense that he can go forever without having a drop nor does he ever drink to excess, but he cannot have one drink: if he has a drink, he has to have 2 or 3.

    Interestingly, many righty-tighties also view addiction and loss of control as a serious moral failing. Hmmm …

  11. DAS
    DAS January 22, 2007 at 5:20 pm |

    No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t transform a sexual encounter — or a string of encounters — into a real relationship.

    Just an ad hominem (or maybe ad femineme would be the appropriate term here): Dawn Eden strikes me that she was about as desparate and needy as I was when I was in college and my dating life was going no-where in spite of me being a really Nice Guy(R). And speaking from experience, being desparate to have a relationship is no way to actually end up in one (c.f. Martin Buber, Ich und Du for a theology based on a related observation), but rather drives potential mates away.

    Of course, and I guess I am still a Nice Guy(R) for saying this, I do find it odd that a Nice Guy(R) like I was in college couldn’t get any action, but a Nice Gal(R) like Dawn Eden got plenty, in spite of the fact that she seems to have exuded exactly the air of desparation that drives people away … I guess I should quite before this Niebelung gets mistaken for a troll ;)

  12. Magis
    Magis January 22, 2007 at 6:07 pm |

    There’ll be no strings to bind your hands
    not if my love can’t bind your heart.
    And there’s no need to take a stand
    for it was I who chose to start.
    I see no need to take me home,
    I’m old enough to face the dawn.

    Just call me angel of the morning angel
    just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby.
    Just call me angel of the morning ANGEL
    then slowly turn away from me.

    Maybe the sun’s light will be dim
    and it won’t matter anyhow.
    If morning’s echo says we’ve sinned,
    well, it was what I wanted now.
    And if we’re the victims of the night,
    I won’t be blinded by light.

    Just call me angel of the morning angel
    Just call me angel of the morning ANGEL
    then slowly turn away,
    I won’t beg you to stay with me
    through the tears of the day,
    of the years, baby baby baby.
    Just call me angel of the morning ANGEL
    just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby.

    Merrillee Ruch

  13. Ailei
    Ailei January 22, 2007 at 6:32 pm |

    My general experience in talking with righty-tighties is that they have serious issues with self-control and the only way they can control themselves is if some authority (the Bible, their mother, even a trusted friend) tells them to abstain.

    Ah, the old external versus internal morality thing. They only do what’s ‘right’ because they’re afraid of God/Mom/Their Peers punishing them for doing ‘wrong’. The mark of the intellectually immature. It’s so much harder to do the right thing because YOU know in your heart that it’s wrong. It’s so much trickier to judge situations and craft a moral response that’s appropriate based on your own inner compass.

    Sorry. Sore subject right there.

  14. thegirlfrommarz
    thegirlfrommarz January 22, 2007 at 6:44 pm |

    Zuzu, thanks for reading this so I don’t have too. I don’t think there’s enough brain-soap in the world to wash away the icky.

    Former addicts are frequently the most sanctimonious about other people’s behaviors.

    I think that perfectly sums up Dawn’s need to push her choices on to everyone else. If chastity works for her, fine – but why try to extend it out to Everywoman as though it’s some kind of revealed truth, instead of telling her story and hoping that people will be inspired to follow her example? I’d have had much more sympathy with that and found it much less patronising. Oh yeah, because in order to get a book deal, you have to rag on women’s sexual choices…

  15. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte January 22, 2007 at 7:02 pm |

    Hope you don’t mind if I reproduce that fucking novel I wrote you as a post. ;) I realized after I hit “send” that I have a blog and don’t have to do the nerd thing of getting like all wordy when someone asks me my opinion on my nerd love.

  16. Roxanne
    Roxanne January 22, 2007 at 9:02 pm |

    I was conceived out of wedlock in 1962 and my mother hated Elvis.

  17. Kyso K
    Kyso K January 22, 2007 at 9:42 pm |

    Because only New York women fuck, yanno.

    Maybe NY women are the only ones fucking in the pursuit of happiness. I know some bored teenage girls in BFE, OH who would love to have motives that lofty. Ah, to be a big city girl-even the promiscuity is more noble and exciting, just like on TV.

  18. pbg
    pbg January 22, 2007 at 9:47 pm |

    Who says the couple in the song aren’t married?

  19. CatStaff
    CatStaff January 22, 2007 at 9:55 pm |

    It’s funny, but I thought of “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” as soon as I started reading your post. What Dawn appears to overlook is the very ending of the song, where, having been leveraged by sex into marrying the female and swearing that he would love her until the end of time, the male half of the sketch is “praying for the end of time, so [he] can end his time with [her].”

    Think about it, Dawn, what would you really rather have? A relatively happy life on your own, nurturing yourself, if that’s what it comes to, or achieving the Holy Grail of marriage any way you could and having your husband end up loathing you to the point that he’s looking forward to death just to get away from you?

    C’mon, girl, wise up and start loving yourself a little. Sheesh. Trust me, babe, there’s not a man alive who can make up with his love for whatever’s lacking in someone who doesn’t love herself first.

  20. Kyso K
    Kyso K January 22, 2007 at 10:11 pm |

    Why would you need to get assurances that your husband will love you the next day if you sleep with him when you’re already married?

    For that matter, why do you care? You’re married, he’s stuck, you’ve won. Everything else is gravy.

  21. pbg
    pbg January 22, 2007 at 10:15 pm |

    Why would you need to get assurances that your husband will love you the next day if you sleep with him when you’re already married?

    because love dies?

  22. CatStaff
    CatStaff January 22, 2007 at 10:19 pm |

    Oh, and Dawn, I forgot to mention that I have two friends, married to lovely men who died 6 and 8 weeks, respectively, after the weddings.

    There are no guarantees. Life’s a twisting stream, and sometimes the best thing to do is just relax and enjoy the ride.

  23. tara
    tara January 22, 2007 at 10:31 pm |

    zuzu, you’re amazing. such a perceptive, thorough deconstruction of dawn’s faulty argument. this is so powerful.

  24. Christopher
    Christopher January 23, 2007 at 3:26 am |

    If I can go off on a tangent, this got me thinking of how how we rarely think about or acknowledge the fact that, when we apply adjectives to them, terms like “era” or “generation” become inherently reductive.

    For example, dawn characterises the early sixties as “innocent”.

    But it seems to me that for, say, a black or gay person, the early 60s would be a time not of innocence, but of terror and upheval; On the one hand, civil rights groups were gaining more and more influence; on the other, everyday living was still fraught with peril, and artistic and political expression about the two groups was highly charged, and often overtly, calculatingly hostile.

    Or, to put it bluntly, how innocent are segregated drinking fountains?

    At the same time, though, the early 60s probably were a more innocent time, from the perspective of white males; introspection about your place in the world was fairly unnecesary, and you could remain ignorant of a number of complexities in the world.

    In order to call an era “innocent” you are making an implicit judgement about whose views and actions shape the character of the time, and who can be excluded as non-entities.

  25. LiberalCatholicGirl
    LiberalCatholicGirl January 23, 2007 at 7:34 am |

    God, I think of some of the stories my aunts tell about their high school days in the late 50s early 60s. Innocent my ass; they make SATC look like a Catholic grade school.

    My grandma’s both have deliciously racy stories about their premarital days.

    Great-grandparents had their first baby out of wedlock after a hot fling.

    Great aunt had 3 abortions to faciliate her Roaring Twenties lifestyle.

    Innocent? Fuck, all the older women in my family think we young ‘uns are prudes!

  26. jfpbookworm
    jfpbookworm January 23, 2007 at 9:39 am |

    Christopher: the reason the early 60s are “innocent” is because baby boomers write the histories. I’ve seen the year range for the boomers as 1945-1957; this would make them anywhere from 3 to 15 in the early 60s. So of course they’re going to see the 60s as a more “innocent” time – not because there was less sex out there, but because they were kids. The modern era, I think, seems more sexual because we’re looking at it from an adult perspective, and the kids who think it’s more “innocent” haven’t grown up and found their own voices yet.

    Dawn Eden, incidentally, wasn’t even born at this time, which means she’s basing her understanding of the time on pop songs and secondhand accounts.

  27. Tim
    Tim January 23, 2007 at 2:02 pm |

    Dawn is a very sad specimen. What strikes me about her is her complete lack of self-respect/esteem/confidence, which has led her into situations where she tries soooo hard for fleeting approval. That goes for her wild days, and it goes with her courting of the religious right and her conversion to Catholicism. What started me on this thought was my annoyance at how she cannot write a single headline or title or subhead without making it a pun or a play on some cliche. To me, this means she has no confidence in her own words.

  28. Susan
    Susan January 23, 2007 at 3:50 pm |

    Tim: she has no confidence in her own words

    Well, with good reason:

    Likewise, the pursuit of happiness is in the Constitution [sic*]

    If she doesn’t even fact-check the obvious stuff, why should anyone listen to a word she says?

  29. Lesley
    Lesley January 23, 2007 at 3:56 pm |

    What started me on this thought was my annoyance at how she cannot write a single headline or title or subhead without making it a pun or a play on some cliche. To me, this means she has no confidence in her own words.

    In this case, that particular thing should be read as nothing more than the fact that she used to write headlines for the New York Post.

  30. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos January 23, 2007 at 9:24 pm |

    And ok, I’ll throw the question out here. Is there anyone who is not an emotional masochist who would consider this song as something other than a tragedy? I suspect that many feminists would find it problematic for the unrequited emotional needs and power imbalance. A classic sex-positive like me would say, “Ok, let’s chill out and talk about the relationship.” (We also would not take that word “love” for granted without some discussion.) And I’m not going to risk trying to characterize how chastity advocates would approach it.

  31. Lynn Gazis-Sax
    Lynn Gazis-Sax January 24, 2007 at 9:07 pm |

    A classic sex-positive like me would say, “Ok, let’s chill out and talk about the relationship.”

    Somehow, I just can’t see that as a pop music lyric :-).

  32. Ismone
    Ismone January 27, 2007 at 2:39 am |

    Methinks we should send her that Fugees song “That Thing”:

    (“Baby girl, respect is just a minimum”)

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