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Desire; Short Essay.doc

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Western University
Women's Studies
Women's Studies 2283F/G
Andrea Allen

The progress Second Wave feminism achieved for the status and rights of women in communities across the developed world are unparalleled. However the dialogue of women's rights and equality seems to be changing not to continued progress but rather the question of do we, and if so why, still need feminism? The answer is its simplest form, is yes, we do still need feminism and for a variety of reasons. Thus, as we enter into the generation of what is now being called Third Wave feminism, scholars and everyday women are beginning to answer the question of what does it mean to be a women internally rather than in the context of the community more so than the dialogue has even suggested before. This short essay will use Jessica Valenti's book Full Frontal Feminsim and Budgeon's article Introduction: Defining the Third Wave to highlight the important reasons why Third Wave feminism need be as strong as ever and will do so by discussing the role that the Third Wave must play in female views on masturbation, sexual self image and experience and sex education to show that when it comes to female sexuality and the relationship each women has with not only her body but with her mind as well. To begin, masturbation has strangely been a taboo topic amongst women forever. Jessica Valenti in her article on female sexuality states that "women don't really talk about masturbating ... but we chat about sexual positions and blow jobs as easily as we discussed our last math class" (Valenti 37). What does this say about how females are viewing their own sexuality, is it our suppression of our female desires and needs to protect the image that we are 'pure'? Or is it the conception that masturbation is dirty, primitive or worse? Third Wave feminism is necessary for the promotion of women's sexuality especially in relation to masturbation, if it is an acceptable assumption that men masturbate without stigma, that conception should be equally applied to women in promotion of their sexuality and desires. Masturbation is a natural part of human sexuality and the sexual experience therefore, as Valenti suggests as well, masturbation "should be the most talked about sex" (Valenti 37). For practical reasons, you can't break your own heart, so it seems that masturbation provides sexual pleasure for pleasure's sake, and I am of of the opinion that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Thus, Third Wave feminism is still important today especially in the promotion of female sexuality, and is necessary to help de- stigmatize and progress the importance and healthiness of masturbation for women. Another important aspect of female sexuality that requires the continued effort of feminist empowerment in the Third Wave is actual sexual experiences. Most women count their sexual partners, as to suggest the higher the number the less valuable she becomes, and shave their bodies to look like Vin Diesels head, and for what purpose? I struggle to find the sense in doing something we all find so unenjoyable and yet illogically women continue to count and shave to satiate our partners in the tireless quest for a great sex-life. Valenti suggests that even though we as women continue to count sexual partners and prize our virginity we do so in a way that makes it so seem that our "sexuality doesn't belong to us"(Valenti 25). This is a prime example of why women in the Third Wave much continue to work to end these archaic practices and progress forward into a time of female sexuality where we begin to view and value our sexual importance in spite of what our partners want or expect from us. This new generation of feminism has spawned a momentum of individual free choice in many aspects of life, however the topic of women's sexuality seems to be continually debilitated by lack of conversation and fear of choice, especially in decisions pertaining to the increase in a woman's sexual partners (Budgeon 4-5). It seemingly stems from a fear of social degradation by judgmental words like slut or, as mentioned earlier, a decrease in value based on an increased number of sexual parters; which contrastingly works the complete opposite for men, ironic? I think not. However in order to change women's perceptions of themselves, wom
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