From the L.A. Weekly:

Even as we expect women to be alluring, seductive, hot, we often despise them when they actually are. While it would be nice to think that we’ve moved beyond such ancient pathologies (…), few things remain more volatile than women shaking off their traditional role as objects of male fantasy and actively pursuing their own desires. After all, it’s one thing for a model to shake her booty in a music video aimed at leering teens, quite another for her to take the lead singer to bed and expect him to deliver those orgasms.

This profound ambivalence toward female desire helps explain the fevered articles that have greeted the American publication of The Sexual Life of Catherine M., the international best-seller by Parisian art critic Catherine Millet. Already a scandale in Paris — whenever women write freely of sex, the French pretend to be shocked — the book has given women critics an undeniable frisson, although not always a happy one. While Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek dubs it a groundbreaking work (“a dare to every human being, particularly every woman, who claims to be sexually open. No woman has ever written a book like this”), Judith Thurman’s New Yorker review sniffs at the volume as if she’d just been handed an orgiast’s soiled panties.

Liberte, Egalite, Infidelite

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