Essay on Analysis Of Leslie Bell 's Writing
Professor Matthew Mangold
9 September, 2014
“Be strong. Be independent. Be successful”—while this advice may seem sound, it is actually preventing a generation of 20-something’s from finding what they desire in a relationship. In Leslie Bell’s Hard to Get: Twenty-Something Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom, the idea of “splitting”—an extreme set of behaviors or way of thinking used as a defense mechanism—is addressed in relation to 20 year olds of today. Twenty-first century women face a sexual paradox: they are told to avoid serious relationships in order to become strong and independent, which has led to an enormous amount of sexual freedom that they are unable to navigate. In order to combat this paradox, women split into one of three strategies of desire, the “sexual woman,” the “relational woman,” or the “desiring woman.” Although splitting is a short-term strategy against the current sexual paradox, it can have long-term effects on social and sexual identity. Whereas the sexual woman will avoid emotional attachment and become assertive in life, the relational woman will shy away from sexual desires in relationships and tend to be more passive—neither woman ever having intimate relationships, but both switching identities in different social contexts in an attempt to reconcile inner conflicts.
On one end of the splitting spectrum, the sexual woman has sexual encounters with many men, causing her to sexually identify as the “bad…