[That is a profound moment, when women are truly honest with each other…One of the things that really struck me was how, even though women have a reputation for talking, talking, talking, confiding, confiding, confiding, we’re not that honest with each other, a lot of times—particularly across experience or ethnicity or age, or any kind of difference among us…There’s no longer a collective response to these questions. Feminism has tricked down into and ethos of individual choice—it’s a woman’s responsibility to build a life without, necessarily, any guidance from the outside. That’s a huge challenge. So, when girls are young we tell them, “Honey, you can do anything.” And then all of a sudden we whip around and say, “Honey, you can’t have it all.” So we’re set up to feel like it’s a personal failure rather than a systemic issue.]
This month’s Lincoln Center Theater Review, which just arrived, is all about women and pleasure, due to Sarah Ruhl’s “In the Next Room, or the vibrator play” (a dramedy about hysteria, female daintiness, and machine-induced orgasms in the 19th century) opening up soon. In it, an editor interviews Peggy Orenstein about the ladies and she says the things above, plus 2000 words more. There’s some real talk happening there.
For now, there is only a physical copy floating around (not online yet), but if you can get your hands on this thing, there is a whole host of treasures inside (and all the text is in bright, peptic pink): A reprinting of the justification essay Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote about The Yellow Wallpaper (“It was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy”), a few Emily Dickinson poems, an article entitled “11 Things You Never Knew About Wet-Nursing,” and a story called “Focusing on the Orgasm” by Annie Sprinkle, a PhD. who “collaborates on art projects with her partner in her Love Art Laboratory…their new theater piece, Dirty Sexecology, is about how to make love to the earth.”
A desire to change my name to Annie Sprinkle overwhelms.