The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

'Sexclamations' Shows Symptoms of Sexism

3 min read


The following letter is in response to Kelsey Clark’s “Sexclamations” columm (The Bullet, 2007)

Dear Editor:

It seems that “Sexclamations” is the main forum on morality and philosophy in the Bullet.  In the last two issues, it has directly addressed those major issues.

In the September 13th issue of the Bullet, author Kelsey Clark gave advice and, in her own words, “pearls of wisdom,” to the UMW community for students’ sex lives.

Her tone was normalizing: it skipped the part about choosing to have sex in the first place and assumed that readers already have and would continue to have sex, including sex with multiple partners and with strangers.  All of this either stated or implied as good.
In her September 20th article, Clark gave readers a philosophical monologue on the cycles that run womens’ lives, connecting menstruation with the seasons and with summer love.  Her thesis is clear in the first line: “For women, everything is in predictable cycles.”

First, I feel it necessary to let the UMW community to know that not everyone here chooses to engage in sex acts, or chooses to engage in them in the ways described by Clark.

While I understand and support that she is expressing her opinion journalistically, and that it is a choice of the reader whether he or she wants to read the column, I believe Clark should not imply that the entire student body—or even a majority—has the patterns of sexual behavior, or, dare I say morals, that she describes.

Secondly, I believe Clark’s monologue on the predictability of women’s lives, and how they “frequently do ridiculous things that are simply out of their control,” needs a counterpoint response.  Oddly enough for an apparently “sexually liberated “ woman, Clark has forgotten Feminism.

Contrary to her second sentence, a woman’s period is not “inescapable,” nor is it for every woman “unpleasant,” because fifty years ago our society invented medicines that hormonally modify a woman’s body.  The subsequent social revolutions revolved around no longer being tied to a monthly period and no longer being tied to seasons of lust—sex anytime, baby.

Also, Clark’s lack of mention of any cycles or seasons or patterns that drive men indicates that men are unaffected.  That’s true, right?  Women are so temperamental and emotional, but men are the steady rock, that’s why only men should go to school, have jobs, vote, and lead in public life.

Granted, Clark probably felt that she couldn’t comment on men’s cycles (if they have them) because she is not a man, but once again she has excluded the possibility of reality not fitting with the attitude of her writing.

However, the feminist response is secondary to the larger implication of her thesis: that humans (extending this to men as well) do not have will or the ability to influence their lives.  She practically states that our actions are determined by the biological activity of our bodies, or the response of our bodies to the weather.

Every individual—and we are individuals, each our own person—should be insulted by this. Clark is taking us backwards philosophically and taking away our humanity, transgressing everything from the Christian concept of choosing to follow Christ to the Enlightenment concept of the enlightened rational person basing his or her decisions on scientifically-gleaned information.
I am glad that Clark is able to voice her views, but I also believe a cogent counterpoint to her positions is sometimes necessary.

Thomas Roberts is a junior.