Feminist author talks sex during Women's Empowerment Week

At the end of her lecture, Jaclyn Friedman said she used more "f-bombs" than she remembered using in others.

Friedman is an author and activist in a topic that has taken a negative connotation in mainstream media and culture that has made it somewhat its own f-bomb: feminism.

She was asked by the Organization for Women Leaders, a registered student organization, to speak during their Women's Empowerment Week.

"It's an honor to be promoting Women's Empowerment Week," Friedman said.

The main point Friedman made in her lecture was that people should make decisions about sex based on enthusiastic consent, a term Friedman used to express that people should consciously make choices about sex that are not passive or coerced.

Sex should not be viewed as a commodity, but instead as an improv — without an audience, Friedman said. Although sexualization of women is a major problem within the sex-as-commodity viewpoint, men also experience troubles, Friedman said. The sex-as-commodity attitude perpetuates men to engage in sexual relationships that are unfulfilling, confusing and demeaning.

As she had the whole night, Friedman's points and anecdotes were answered with laughter from the audience in the Charles V. Park Strosacker Auditorium. At the end of her lecture, Friedman fielded questions.

Friedman spoke about the structured way that sex is, in a way, treated as a commodity. She spoke about the way guys and girls engage in relationships much like a competitive, capitalist free market system.

The twist Friedman added to the discussion was humor.

Friedman told a story about a girl who sold her virginity online for $2 million.

"Who would pay $2 million to do something that someone has no experience doing?" Friedman asked.

Katelyn Blair, the organization's SGA representative, said in her introduction of Friedman that the organization was excited to have her speak at CMU. Before the event, Blair told her that the organization received funding from the university and they decided to use the funding to host a guest speaker.

Blair said to Friedman that she was the first person they contacted.

"I have this weird connection to Michigan," Friedman said. "I was in a long-distance relationship with a guy from Michigan. He was from Ypsilanti — he went to (Eastern Michigan University). That's probably a more personal answer than you were asking for."

As an author, Friedman has become well-known for her successful book of essays, "Yes Means Yes: Visions of Sexual Power and a World Without Rape." She has also written for publications including The Washington Post, Salon, The Nation, among others. She also does a weekly podcast, called "Fucking While Feminist."

Rape was a topic that Friedman addressed with emphasis. Most rapists are men, but not all men are rapists, Friedman said.

"Here's what I'm here to say: none of it is inevitable," Friedman said.

Friedman said American culture is structured on a patriarchy. She also spoke about the difference between being sexual and being sexualized.

"There are many people that are restrained towards feminism," Friedman said, "But that's why you have conversations with them"


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