Betty Dodson's memoir is the story of one woman's struggle to liberate female sexuality while enjoying her own. In the 70s, as the feminist movement evolved, focusing on various platform issues including equal pay and voter registration, Betty latched on to sexual liberation as a symbol for self empowerment. Realizing that so many women weren't enjoying sex, she asked, "How could women ever be truly equal if they were reliant on men for their sexual satisfaction?" She quickly became the leader of the sex-positive feminist movement. And the rest is history.
©2010 Betty Dodson (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South."
"After five years of formal art training, and years of being a professional artist, I knew the creative process was about defying convention and seeking my own vision," she writes. Dodson applies this to her sexual life and what follows is literally, feminist history.
Romantic Love Wars is a book to get absorbed in. Dodson’s writing is so nonchalant, so scream-out-loud funny in parts, and so wise on every subject she touches.
My biggest surprise was her homage to her tough-as-nails mother back in Kansas. Her familial loyalty gave her the strength and backbone to be nothing less than a sexual revolutionary.
It gave me the opportunity to listen to Dodson's life without any sugar-coating. I have always respected the work she continues to do - breaking old myths about women and men's sexuality. I just had no idea about the hell she went through in the search just to be herself and question the old principles of sexual morality. To me, she comes across very much like a sex-ed astronaut from the future, plopped smack dab onto Earth with the sole mission of changing our attitudes about the double standards that women are confined to - even to this day! I think that the title was misleading because Dodson learned very early that she preferred not to become entangled in exclusive dating. She made a choice to remain steadfastly single, yet build a network of friends that understood and respected her life choice. It fueled her life, research, writing and art powerful because she experienced it all...with no regrets. Please note however that there are three incidents in the book that were triggering, so be forewarned.
What I liked best about this memoir was learning about her life-long struggle to teach herself (and others) not to be afraid of their own bodies, nor should there be any fear in speaking frankly with your partner to work together for greater intimacy. Also, there is nothing wrong with choosing not to marry/have kids, etc. for a life of free personal exploration and solitude.
Yes, I have. I'll be honest - at first, when I heard her voice, I distinctly thought that it was being narrated by one of Marge Simpson's sisters with a gravelly deep voice. Actually, I wound up appreciating it because Rosenblat's voice really does sound like Betty Dodson's voice! It was a very bold choice to have this narrated by an older woman with a powerful, booming voice instead of an annoying breathless ingenue. She captured the cadence and style of Dodson's voice spot-on. Lastly (but most importantly) the audiobook is narrated as if Dodson is right in front of you, sharing her life story with joy, humor and determination.
I had an extreme reaction toward the end that I never, ever expected to do- the relationship that Dodson had with her mother when she became an adult. It was precious and moving (I'm getting chills just remembering that section.) That relationship was such a source of support, laughter and mutual respect that I will never be able to listen to that passage without crying. It was incredibly moving. You'll be moved, too. Please read the emotional trigger alert below for more. This book is very polarizing and not for the faint of heart.
EMOTIONAL TRIGGER ALERT: Please be aware that the book delves briefly into childhood molestation, sibling incest and bestilality. Although Betty has a completely different opinion on how she chose to deal with her childhood, there's no doubt that it will certainly open up a contentious debate. The bestiality incident she witnessed - no matter how many protestations to the contrary that the animal was never hurt/raped, just "spoiled" and "loving" left me infuriated and disgusted. No matter how brief the aforementioned incidents were, it doesn't take away the anger I had about these incidents.
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