Monday, December 19, 2011

Your Daughter's Bedroom: Insights for Raising Confident Women - by Joyce T. McFadden

McFadden's book is based on questionaires answered by 450 women of various backgrounds crossing cultural, age, educational attainment, and socio-economic statuses. Women were asked to respond to as many of the 63 different surveys they wanted, and the book is based on the three most frequently answered. These were the questions that asked about menstruation; mother/daughter relationships; and masturbation. Part of what she explores in the book is why these were the things women were most likely to respond to. What was it that made women want to tell about these things, and find out what other women were saying about them as well (aside from the obvious reason - that they all begin with the letter "m").

In 1992 Will Manley was fired from the now defunct Wilson Library Bulletin for publishing the "Librarians and Sex" survey. Although the Bulletin never ran the results of the 5,000 plus surveys received, the results are not hard to find. Most astonishing to the world at large was the discovery that most librarians actually DO have sex (see the full results here). So, it did not surprise me at all to find libraries and librarians mentioned in this work. Libraries were mentioned twice, once in a simple acknowledgement that survey respondents might have used a library computer to answer the questions, and the other was the author's memory of walking through her "college library and noticing that about half the students would be twirling, pulling, or stroking their hair while they were studying. Although she calls this masturbatory behavior, she explains "[they] weren't doing for arousal; they were doing it to enhance the clam need to focus. So it is with children [when they masturbate]." Since I work in a college library I will probably notice this behavior all the time, now.

Continuing with the masturbation question McFadden says that women are unlikely to talk about masturbation with their daughters because "we don't want to be seen as perverts, but also because we're so afraid they'll wonder if we masturbate...." She goes on to explain that while it may be true that our daughter may wonder, whether we discuss it or not, they will also wonder if the mailman, librarian, hot guy at the movie theatre, or new girl at school are doing it as well. Manley's questionnaire did not address this issue. Perhaps it's time for another survey.

The last reference to a librarian comes very near the end of the book when McFadden quotes "a librarian in her late thirties" who answers the survey question "If you have ever fallen out of love, when did this happen?" 
I wouldn't call it love, but he has demonstrated that he enjoys having me in his life and I feel bad that I don't reciprocate. I wish he'd fall over dead.
I am surprised how often I find out about people who are not in love with their partners. Some say they were never in love. What keeps these people together?

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