My houseguest, the brilliant theorist and activist Marina Sitrin, insisted that I had to write it down because people like her younger sister Sam needed to read it. So lovely, immeasurably valuable Sam, this one always was for you in particular. It wanted to be written; it was restless for the racetrack; it galloped along once I sat down at the computer; and since Marina slept in later than me in those days, I served it for breakfast and sent it to Tom later that day. That was April and it struck a chord.
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There are few women in the world who generate as much animosity, and as many accusations of hypocrisy, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali. But she herself rejects that framing as sexist and presumptuous. She praises Western liberalism at the same time as she suggests that Islam is so incompatible with it that Western democracies need to consider suspending their core values in the service of self-preservation. Her latest project only amplifies these incongruities. As a result, she says, European women face endemic sexual harassment and violence.
This divide stems from a common understanding of human sexuality: The female variety of it is more malleable, more inherently open to experimentation and variety, than the male variety. In doing so, she shows that homosexual contact has been a regular feature of heterosexual life ever since the concepts of homo- and heterosexuality were first created — not just in prisons and frat houses and the military, but in biker gangs and even conservative suburban neighborhoods. And what I argue in the book is that even that research is situated within some long-held beliefs about the fundamental difference between men and women that are not accurate from a feminist perspective. You take readers on sort of a 20 th -century American tour of heterosexual dabbling in homosexual behavior, and there was never a lack of evidence that such dabbling took place.
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