I should have known better than to pick up a book called Single State of the Union
, especially with that cover. But I was optimistic as always, and I thought that possibly this was relevant to my interests. So.
Some of it really wasn't that bad. The introduction made some good points about media treatment of single women as either washed up old maids living unfulfilled lives or sex-crazed man stealers waiting to suck your wallet dry. And it was nice to see a book of essays by single women saying that yes, shockingly, we can
be happy and fulfilled without "a relationship."
But honestly, in a book with over twenty essays about the experiences of single women, was it really impossible to include even one
asexual perspective? And even if for some strange reason (or not so strange: read heteronormativity) it was impossible, was it really
necessary for practically every essay to begin with some variation on "I'm not a frigid asexual, but..."?
I understand that part of the feminist project has been to reclaim sexuality - so often associated with the female - as a good. And yes, I'm actually very sympathetic to that goal. But reclaiming sex as a good without also challenging the basic equation woman = sexuality is not really going to change much. It also puts those of us who identify as asexual in the position of "problem" not only for the patriarchy, which has seen us as "unnatural" and in need of mental help for centuries, but also for (many) feminists, who in their efforts to reclaim sex as a good seem positively terrified of acknowledging the existence of asexuals, presumably on the grounds that to acknowledge them would negate the good of sexuality.
I reject this false dichotomy entirely, and I'm glad to say that there are many, many other feminists and womanists who do as well. Unfortunately, there's still a lot who don't, and probably a lot who have never even considered the possibility that someone might be asexual.
I want to give this book the benefit of the doubt and say that it falls into the latter category, but there are enough references to "oh those frigid asexuals, destroying the media's view of single women" that I can't quite convince myself of that.
So to the authors of those essays, here's a little note. You'll probably never read this, of course, but I feel it needs to be said. This asexual, who's quite happy with her single life and really isn't frigid at all, would like to point out that your privilege is showing.