19 November 2005

I will admit that I have a serious problem. I wake up before seven on saturday in order to watch Connect With English. This is one of those education shows that is supposed to help non-native speakers learn english. I started watching it in graduate school late at night after reading about 500 pages of some victorian novel. Anyway, it is done like a soap opera, and for some fucking reason I like watching it. I don't understand it. I even like the song it has. My friend Wendy makes fun of me for singing it. I'm not sure what appeals to me about this ridiculous episodic learning english series. I'm a freak.

I was thinking the other day about what makes life meaningful. I know it's probably different for each person. But what is it, really, that makes life have meaning? There is a book out right now called War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning (or something like that.) I know the author means that war creates a social or a nationalistic purpose. True enough, for some. But what is it that makes humans go forward? Is it a sheer sense of inevitability? I think it may have something to do with the idea that in order to not live you must make a decision. In other words, living is a much a choice as anything else, but to stop you have to decide to stop, so for most of us it's just what we do. Go forward. But what is is that drives us? What creates meaning and purpose? I think that many people find a form of work that is meaningful. But for women, and men too, is it human connection that means the most?

Some of my students think I'm obsessed with sex. I don't think I am, but I'll admit that it is a subject that fascinates me. Sexuality can be a source of very powerful feelings. Desire is one of the most potent emotions that humans experience. But I think what interests me so much about sex is how much we emphasize it and devalue it at the same time. We expect young women to embody sexuality, yet our culture reacts very strongly when young women act on their sexuality. I think we need to radicalize the way we think about sex and sexuality in this culture, and take the focus away from heteronormative, male-centered and misogynistic practices. Then, we can begin to liberate female sexuality and promote egalitarianism.

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