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10 of Susan L.M. Goldberg’s Greatest Hits

Meet a provocative culture critic dissecting the decadence of postmodern day America. Volume 1.

Susan L.M. Goldberg


May 4, 2014 - 7:30 am
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June 16, 2013:

2. Sex Mitzvah’d: Virginity Isn’t Easy for Girls


I love The 40 Year-Old Virgin for the same reason Shoshanna Shapiro quickly became my favorite character on Girls: not because of her personal virginphobia, but because in a world threatened with terrorism, hunger, and the pending threat of Obamacare, virginity remains one of the greatest crises of our time.

Thanks to the goddess feminist revolt of the sexy sixties, bedroom activities have risen to the top of the pops when it comes to ratings-driven conversation. As a result, virgins have become stigmatized as uncool goods. It’s no wonder, then, that pop culture-obsessed Shoshanna is neurotic enough to spend an entire season trying her best to lose her virginity so she can catch up to her “adventurous” female counterparts like Jessa (who came to the states for an abortion) and Hannah (who has recently been diagnosed with HPV).

How did feminism come to embrace promiscuity as a form of empowerment? Is the “adventurous” woman treating her HPV really happier than the biblical feminist who resisted the culture and waited until marriage to have sex?

Those bumps are either breasts or bulls' testicles; either way, they're a fertility symbol attached to a virgin goddess.

Those bumps are either breasts or bulls’ testicles; either way, they’re a fertility symbol attached to a virgin goddess.

To the goddess feminist, sex is power; just ask Dr. Linda Savage, author of Reclaiming Goddess Sexuality and purveyor of Goddess Therapy. To sex therapists like Savage, female sexuality and spirituality are intrinsically intertwined, their power expressed through pagan rituals that mystify and idolize reproductive ability. Contrary to modern concepts of contraception, most pagan cultures emulated by the goddess movement have as many fertility goddesses as they do virgin goddesses. The two concepts often go hand-in-hand, as in Greek culture, where the virgin goddess Artemis was also worshipped in terms of reproduction, despite being the head of a virgin cult:

When young girls reached puberty they were initiated into her cult, but when they decided to marry, which Artemis was not against, they were asked to lay in front of the altar all the paraphernalia of their virginity, toys, dolls and locks of their hair, they then left the domain of the virgin goddess.

Today’s goddesses won’t admit this, of course, but their argument that women have the “right” to their own bodies presumes the idea that, somehow, the physical act of sex was implicitly paired with the psychological act of stealing a woman’s identity: an idea less rooted in the concept of modern manhood than it is in the ancient Greek concept of womanhood. Ironically, for the Greeks, a girl didn’t just give up childhood when she chose to marry; she physically and intellectually gave up her own female identity:

This relationship between Apollo and His priestess echoes a widely held belief about ancient Greek women and their husbands: Not only did a woman belong to her husband, but his essence permeated her. His influence entered her during sex, and so every word she spoke was his word channeled through her. This basic concept also applies to the ancient Greek understanding of men and women in general. Men were considered purely projective (as their penis spews forth their essence, so must their mouths when we apply vertical symmetry) and women were considered purely receptive. Furthermore, a woman’s individuality is somehow contaminated by a man’s spirit during intercourse. Once he spills his essence into her, everything she says and does has his essence in it.

Goddess feminism thought they trumped patriarchy when they declared power over the bedroom. Instead, by embracing the pagan patriarchal notion that women lose all sense of identity when they have sex, goddess feminists rendered themselves powerless to do much beyond become an “essence buffet” in the quest of fulfilling a woman’s spiritual responsibility to reproduce.

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