Free Women Free Men really is a worthwhile read for anyone listen to or taking part in the gender discussion today. Paglia’s personal and often unique stance on feminism is nothing new. Where many puts the onus on society, Paglia argues that while there definitely are instances where government and authority groups should get involved, the idea of freedom is exactly the freedom to take risks. A society that shelter anyone form the real world is neither dignified or truly free.
What I found the most interesting is her approach of looking at culture as a natural phenomenon. Few would argue that it is but Paglia’s approach roots gender differences not in the structure of society but rather in real biological differences. Differences that brought to life many cultural practices which then evolved into the society we see today. This by no means gives an excuse for any crime, instead it gives us a new perspective from which to view the current space we find ourselves in.
The collection of essays covers everything from ancient cultural artefacts, pop culture and touches on the tapestry of sexual behaviours that we as a society demonstrate today. She draws on the work of other writers in the field and I really appreciate both her praise and her criticism – justifying both as she goes along while finding something useful in through her strongest judgements.
It’s important to broaden the lens of research and understanding whenever we look at creating any meaningful communication. So often do we see that communication simply reflects what is happening in the world. Where ever the conversation goes, there brands will go too. We take for granted that these shifts and movements are not always in a straight line and that something like Twitter (or any social media platform) should not be seen as the Northern Star of society. Without a deeper understanding of the purpose or the intent of culture, it becomes impossible to make a vaguely accurate guess about what the noise means. Whether you agree with Paglia or not, you cannot deny that Free Women Free Men introduces a new and much needed dimension to the debate.