Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Disgustingly Messy Kitchens Are Now The New Trend! Or Sex Is Passé!

How do I know that about kitchens? I have one, and right now I am writing about it. Presto, a new trend!

Pseudo-trends happen all the time. They are fads of a kind, provoked by some sort of boredom, the desire to discuss topics on which we all have opinions and anything which kicks the hind-brain into action.

Pseudo-trends are fun to remember afterwards. Do you recall how everybody was nesting after the 911 atrocities and how there would be a gigantic baby boom as a consequence? It didn't happen.

But pseudo-trends are a drag to follow when they actually happen. Take this, from Erica Jong, the author of Fear of Flying:
People always ask me what happened to sex since “Fear of Flying.” While editing an anthology of women’s sexual writing called “Sugar in My Bowl” last year, I was fascinated to see, among younger women, a nostalgia for ’50s-era attitudes toward sexuality. The older writers in my anthology are raunchier than the younger writers. The younger writers are obsessed with motherhood and monogamy.

It makes sense. Daughters always want to be different from their mothers. If their mothers discovered free sex, then they want to rediscover monogamy. My daughter, Molly Jong-Fast, who is in her mid-30s, wrote an essay called “They Had Sex So I Didn’t Have To.” Her friend Julie Klam wrote “Let’s Not Talk About Sex.” The novelist Elisa Albert said: “Sex is overexposed. It needs to take a vacation, turn off its phone, get off the grid.” Meg Wolitzer, author of “The Uncoupling,” a fictional retelling of “Lysistrata,” described “a kind of background chatter about women losing interest in sex.” Min Jin Lee, a contributor to the anthology, suggested that “for cosmopolitan singles, sex with intimacy appears to be neither the norm nor the objective.”

And what women think about instead of dildoes and such are...dirty kitchens! Or so I conclude in this post.

Katha Pollitt answers the question in the title of the linked article: Is Sex Passé? properly and exhaustively. I simply wish to add that what we see here is the construction of a pseudo-trend about women, something the New York Times excels in.

To be very fair, I should point out that perhaps the trend turns out a real one, though I doubt that very much. But if it does, it has probably much more to do with the way sex is nowadays defined than anything having to do with mother-daughter relationships or with the libidos of women.