Willful Virgin…

Response Paper Having read Marilyn Frye’s “Willful Virgin…,” I got the unshakeable feeling that Frye, a vocal lesbian, has quite the superiority complex as a result of her own absence from “the patriarchal institution of female heterosexuality” (130). Throughout her essay, she argues that women of the heterosexual persuasion are bound to the patriarchy, from which lesbians, lacking any attachment to men, are immune, and without such female heterosexuality, the patriarchy and all its manifestations would cease to exist.There are a plethora of oversights and insults throughout Frye’s essay, including her assertion that female heterosexuality “is central to the way sexism and racism are knit together,” seemingly under the delusion that lesbians are untouched by the patriarchy and the prejudices thereof because, obviously, as lesbians, there is nary a man in any of their lives (131). At all. Not one.Clearly, they all live a man-free, not-women-but-girls-only existence on a commune in upstate New York.

Also implicit in her claim is that lesbians are not and cannot be perpetuators of patriarchal norms–sexist, racist, or otherwise, which ignores the wide variety amongst the gay community and assumes its members to be upstanding individuals. She also claims that heterosexuality among women is “not a given in nature, but is actively and continuously constructed” (131).Given that Frye is of a minority that is consistently forced to confirm the biological nature of their sexuality and thus, their inability to choose the objects of their attractions, one would assume that she would realize how truly absurd and offensive this is to all parties. Moreover, there is surely a large number of females, nay, a majority of the world’s population of women that would argue that their heterosexuality is, in fact, “a biological drive or an individual woman’s erotic attraction or attachment to another human animal which happens to be male” (132).Ultimately, Frye’s not-so-subtle insistence on the supremacy of same-sex relations does not seem to be an attack on straight women, but rather, on men. However, it would benefit her argument to consider the reality of the permanence of the patriarchy–that a world of lesbians will not bring the patriarchy to its knees. Quite conversely, doing so is not dependent on the eradication of bonds between the sexes, but a mutual and growing understanding of equality for all women and men.

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