Lena Chen’s article is more civil than last week’s Crimson fail.
But she takes it upon herself to declare a “logical inconsistency” every other sentence. So what’s really inconsistent? My abbreviated response (I could really one-for-one her on calling out logical inconsistencies, but I refrain because one girl can only respond to Crimson editorials so many times each week):
Miss Lena Chen’s October 27th article in the Crimson is an interesting attempt at trying to understand True Love Revolution’s new platform. While I appreciate Miss Chen’s feminist expertise, much of her article misinterprets TLR and feminism and misconstrues my statements.
First of all, I find it ironic that Miss Chen brings up “Muslim countries” and other non-Western societies in effort to prove that TLR arises out of an exclusively Western, Judeo-Christian philosophy. Miss Chen contends that the Muslim practice of polygamy validates her claim that TLR’s arguments are based on Western, Judeo-Christian perspective, and thus inherently lacking. Ignoring the fact that most mosques discourage polygamous practices and that we’ll be hard-pressed to find a polygamous Muslim couple, Islam, Hinduism, and every major world religion explicitly condemn premarital sex, demand fidelity, and enforce gender roles (and does not recognize same-sex marriage for that matter). If anything, the “Western, Judeo-Christian” perspective is the weakest when it comes to promoting or enforcing abstinence, lasting marriages, gender roles, and sexual ethics.
“Female Chauvinist Pigs” by Ariel Levy is an excellent read, and hardly a conservative one (for that, I would recommend “Girls Gone Mild” by Wendy Shalit), but it does condemn the culture that makes rampant sexuality normal and thus harder not to choose. I wish the article cited the book itself, rather than a blog. True Love Revolution discourages rampant sexuality and points out consequences that are harmful regardless of whether girls or guys “choose” to participate. Even if someone chooses to live promiscuously, TLR argues that this is not the best choice. Other groups may contend that “empowerment” is making any choice. We do not regard premarital sex as increasing the real strength of an individual, thus not falling under the “empowerment” category.
True Love Revolution is notably not restricting anyone from making choices, but we are certainly saying that not all choices are beneficial. Most of Harvard’s student body would agree, as evidenced by The Independent’s spring sex survey that revealed a huge campus majority not partaking in the hook-up culture. While radical feminists love the word “choice,” equity feminists (or TLR feminists, if you refuse us any other title) and many other Harvard students appreciate that some choices are good and some are harmful, thus not appreciating all choices equally. However, encouraging people to make certain life decisions is not restriction.
While Miss Chen did not attend the RUS meeting she mentions*, any TLR dinner discussion, ask me about my view of feminist history or theory, or contact anyone from the organization, she did take advantage of google. Miss Chen is concerned that TLR conceals a political agenda and she googled my name to find incriminating evidence, so I find it remarkable that the only dirt she could dig up was a sentence stating my interest in social policy. On google, she discovered that I wrote about my Heritage Foundation internship, saying, “After heading up a few social policy initiatives that are often unpopular among the liberal Harvard community through the Harvard Republican Club, Salient, Campus Crusade, and True Love Revolution, I jumped at the chance to be surrounded by conservatives for a summer.” She also noted a blog post that gave information about an abstinence education hearing in Boston. Miss Chen writes that these two instances confirm that TLR is not transparent because I once wrote in an email that TLR does not seek to legally restrict sexual behavior. Informing interested group members about an abstinence education event cannot be equated with legally restricting sexual behavior. Arguments like these insult the intelligence of Crimson readers.
Miss Chen brings up fatherhood and parenting. I am pleased that she uses the term fatherhood in her article’s addendum. Fatherhood and motherhood imply that children need both a father and a mother. A culture saving sex for marriage solidifies the creation of cohesive, committed family units.
Fortunately, Miss Chen agrees that raunch culture has negative consequences for women. In the search for equality, women try to become like men, implying that the home – or women’s work – is less worthy than men’s work. But the pursuit to be on par with men means women surrender special characteristics unique to women in order to become exactly like men. Ariel Levy writes about a Great Britain website for women that counted down the number of days before Daniel Radcliffe became “legal.” Society might expect (though hardly endorse) this vulgar behavior from men, but once women adopt vulgarity in attempts to achieve equality, we must question if equality means erasing natural differences. Lowering sexual standards or considering it a punishment to maintain proper sexual ethics in society is the real demeaning aspect of feminism. Miss Chen cites the “right to live without being subject to gendered expectations,” as “feminism’s foundation.” A nonbiased historical approach reveals that feminism’s foundation had to do with women who wanted to achieve a greater quality of life for themselves and their families by gaining equal social, political, and economic status. This worthy pursuit had nothing to do with erasing gender roles.
Miss Chen is fond of calling everything TLR promotes a “logical inconsistency” but fails to identify one. Miss Chen commented on her own article, writing that she does not want to get married and asks if she therefore is supposed to never have sex? She writes that not everyone can be abstinent until marriage. Take note: we are not sexual animals and we are blessed with the capacity for self-control. Perhaps Miss Chen’s concerns warrant insightful questions, but they do not reveal any logical inconsistency.
As for recognizing the profit agenda behind porn, I just so happened to write three research papers for my sociological theory class last spring on that very topic. I would love to co-sponsor an event calling for the end of porn with any group on campus.
I appreciate Miss Chen’s inquiry into the motives and theory of True Love Revolution and encourage all future discussion to mirror her largely respectful and honest intellectual inquiry.
In True Love,
*It has been brought to my attention that Miss Chen did attend the RUS meeting. My apologies; she did not introduce herself.