How to Ruin Valentine’s Day, by Shulamith Firestone, Cosmo, and Forbes -The Toast

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Shulamith_FirestoneAs excerpted from the work of Shulamith Firestone, and the staff writers of Cosmopolitan and Forbes.

Don’t buy her the sexual nature of Cleaver’s agonies.  Don’t compliment her on her outfit. Women are the only  ‘love’ objects in our society, so much so that women regard themselves as erotic. Screw the cheesy love songs and candy hearts. Break a few rules and the incest taboo operates to restrain his total sexual/emotional commitment.

Blow your man’s mind. We must talk about, in addition to new forms of breeding, a cybernetic communism. Day care centers buy women off. Microwave meals do not count. Spell out your desires: your naked body in front of him, the establishment of the household as the alternative to the family for reproduction of children, combined with something less saccharine. She has not got love and commitment, but possessorship and control. You’ve failed monumentally. Probably a good idea to find out that sophisms of love are only one more symptom of its diseased state.

It is dangerous to feel sorry for one’s oppressor. She’ll see through it.  A candle-lit dinner is one way to make him see red.

Love requires a mutual vulnerability that is impossible to achieve in an unequal power situation. Feel free to mark your territory all over his body.  He is a raging dynamo, a veritable cyclone, because his property, his ego extension, have been threatened.

Don’t worry about the demands of sex privatization. Feel free to get inspired by the latest in tummy control, false eyelashes, and floor waxes. Remind him where all joy and excitement has been concentrated, driven into one narrow, difficult-to-find alley of human experience. Your guy loves all the stuttering pigs who took forever to get a rather obvious message out. He could care less about your naughty stereotyping process.

Because genital sex would no longer be the central focus of the relationship, lack of orgasm would not present a serious problem. Practice this lie in the mirror beforehand. Leave a trail of rose petals to something less saccharine: you. Isolation from others makes people starved for physical affection. Cupid: you’re fired. The division of labor remains. The process is insidious. Virility and sexual performance become confused with social worth. You’re after something. Pay attention to fingernails, please.

Romanticism is a cultural tool of male power to keep women from knowing their conditions. Nothing will stop him, so skip the so-called romantic lack of theory. Eroticism preserves the sex class system. 

Women love confidence. When a man believes all women are alike, but wants to keep them guessing, what does he do? Note: A Tiffany necklace is only a softening of some of the harshest aspects of the system.

The stereotyping of women expands. Clothing becomes more provocative; hemlines climb, bras are shed. See-through materials become ordinary. Our undies become a total cliché.

Clearly the problem has not been attacked at the roots. The apparatus of sex privatization is so sophisticated that every time he makes his fantasies come true, you’ll look a fool. Use this opportunity to get his attention. He’ll think about you but love songs will still be written without them.

The penalties are enormous. Their social legitimacy is just more fun to play with. It’s better to stick with what you know. In an authentic recognition of her individuality, she would be loved first as an irreplaceable totality, and then the sex-based polarity of culture becomes erotomania, like wood trying to be metal.

Don’t drown yourself. The confusion of one’s sexuality with one’s individuality will always be welcome.

Lori Selke is the author of The XY Conspiracy (Aqueduct Press) and Lost Girls and Others (Sizzler Editions), and the co-editor of Outlaw Bodies (Future Fire Press). She lives in Oakland, California.

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