In my post yesterday, I discussed my own positive experience growing up in a sexually liberated era. But I forgot to mention the number one factor that allowed me to navigate sex and romance as happily as I have -- the fact that by the time I reached my teens I had internalized the messages of feminism.
Because of feminism, it never occurred to me to define myself by my sexual choices. Because of feminism, it never occurred to me to worry that others might define me by my sexual choices. Because of feminism, I was not trying to court male approval. Because of feminism, I felt that I could take a measure of control over my sexual and romantic destiny. Because of feminism, I felt free to say "no." Because of feminism, I felt free to say "yes." Because of feminism, I had full knowledge of what I had to do to prevent unwanted pregnancy and disease. Because of feminism, I was fully equipped to make the wisest choices.
It has been trendy in recent years for both liberals and conservatives question whether the current climate of sexual liberation is "good for women." But sexual liberation is not inherently bad for women at all. The problems for women occur when there is sexual liberation without any change to the prevailing "patriarchal" mindset. Without feminism, we see girls "going wild" and then regretting it, girls playing to the titillation of men without thinking about their own needs, girls shattered because "he hasn't called." Without feminism, in short, girls cater to male approval without being equipped in any way to insist that their own needs and interests be met.