SURVIVING SEXUAL CONTRADICTIONS by Muriel Dimen

SURVIVING SEXUAL CONTRADICTIONS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Perversely jumbled mix of captivating novelizing and psychosexual women'slib commentaries by a professor of anthropology and psychoanalyst. The old sexism has not disappeared, it just wears new masks, says Dimen. Today's sexism contains a contradictoriness that imprisons both sexes into stereotypical behavior. Her way of showing this baffling difficulty is to give us a novelized typical day of someone much like herself: waking up with a new drinking partner from the night before, having a morning roll in the hay with him (he falls back asleep while she showers, then scoots off to work), meeting a black female friend on the subway, giving a lecture (on sex and gender among nonhuman primates) to her amused anthropology students, and so on through the day until midnight, with each part of the minidrama broken off for study under the feminist microscope. The text springs delightfully alive when Dimen wears her novelist's comic mask, and dies each time she pulls a long face as a supersober scholar. During these deadly bouts of jargon, she's at her best when using concrete detail: ""After a shower or a douche, the drip and slime of passion disappear. . ."" But when Dimen dilates upon her little dramas, we get woolgathering such as: ""Despite the Western mind/body dualism that assimilates women to the body and men to the mind, women have minds as well as bodies, inhabiting the ambiguity of having both."" All of which is a kind of writing doomed to dust. A born novelist, encased in a clay mask of scholarship.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1986
Publisher: Macmillan