Dr Laura: Ch 4

I know I’ve been gone a while. Here’s why: I open the book to my bookmark and see the chapter’s subtitle “Oooh, aah, we’re breathing hard… it must mean love”.

Then I close the book.

The sheer scorn and lack of empathy dripping from the page is painful. She just lives and breathes misogyny at every turn. How did people read this and think, oh yes, this woman was enlightened, she’s a hard-hitting no-nonsense woman who really has her head on straight? I guess the same way they voted for Trump. This was happening in 1994 when this book was published. People have always been suckered by bigotry posing as no-nonsense facts.

Chapter four is about “Stupid Passion”


“We will sell no wine before its time.” Would that more women would display the same attitude toward sex!


And please don’t accuse me of being a throwback to the double-standard days without considering the increasing numbers of unwanted pregnancies, abortions, venereal diseases, and broken hearts since the sexual revolution told us: “Hey, baby, you have the same right to fun ‘n’ games as men do.”

First of all, you’re a bigot.

Secondly, you’re not even accurate:

Unintended pregnancy rates decreased in all world regions

“Abortion has been on a nearly steady decline since the rate peaked in 1980,”

In general, data on reported STDs in the USA showed steady increases during the 1960s, with a levelling off or decline of most of the bacterial STDs but continual increases in viral STDs and genital chlamydial infections during the 1970s and 1980s. National reports of gonorrhoea and syphilis began declining at different times and at different rates in all industrialised countries during the late 1980s and 1990s

I don’t think the government tracks broken hearts, but overall, all those trends slope downwards decade after decade. There may have been an upswing in the 60s and 70s, but the more education you get out there, the rates all drop consistently. Certainly by 1994 the tide was turning.

The first case study: someone who fell in love, had sex, and found out the man didn’t see her the same way. The answer to that is a frank conversation, not a moratorium on sex.

I am not saying women should do a virgin-till-death act to make a man see them as pure, good, or a prize to be won. […] However, a man who is heavily indoctrinated in a fundamentalist mentality would require a mate in kind — perhaps a better pan than the sexual chaos we have now.

Hot take: a man who is heavily indoctrinated in a fundamentalist mentality is garbage and you deserve better. These men do not want you to have pleasure, or control over your own body, or fundamental rights. These men want you to sit down, shut up, and simper at them. You’d think this is the kind of hard truth Dr Laura claims to be willing to give her clients — and yet, all she can offer is the same tired opinion that you should give men what they want, because heaven forbid you have standards.

Let’s face it, it’s perfectly possible to have a complete discussion with a man who seems to be on the same wavelength only to find out he is a liar, that he is someone playing a game with others.

So the alternative is to never talk to people, but instead give them what they want without question?

Finally, I’m much more concerned with you playing games with yourselves — expecting pleasure while you’re actually setting yourselves up for pain.

This is the fundie trope again: women can’t have equitable relationships or real pleasure, and therefore when men behave badly it’s all the women’s fault.

Her next case study is a woman who slept with a married man. That’s an easy target — except watch carefully what happens here:

The “mistake” turned out to be getting sexully invovled with a very close friend’s husband. […] Although it had only happened once some five weeks earlier, it plagued her. When I asked Tiffany why she’d done it in the first place, she initially claimed she didn’t know, and then. . .

(notice the language here: “claimed”. Because women always lie about their motivations.)

And I don’t know exactly why… except… I thought that I needed to help him, in a way… because his wife.. my friend… had just died two weeks before and now I… I feel like I betrayed her…

The wife is dead. There’s no cheating happening here! Just two people, grieving, and coping with that grief, maybe in an unhealthy way (though it’s hard to be sure behind the Dr Laura filter).

Dr Laura: You didn’t do this to her. You obviously have done something to hurt yourself. Do you like this man? Did you have warmies for him when she was alive?

(WARMIES. What the fuck.)

Tiffany: I don’t think so… Well… yes and no… yes….

Dr Laura: So you already coveted him in your heart. And now there was the opportunity

This is again puritan sexual ethics: having sexual feelings for someone is “coveting”, and makes her 100% responsible for what they both did together later.

She suggests calling the man and telling him that she feels used. Tiffany says that both parties pulled back, but Dr Laura buffalos past her, saying “But he pulled back first?” until she agrees. She also insists Tiffany say no until she’s sure he’s gotten past his wife’s death — not saying a word about how Tiffany should deal with her own grief. That just doesn’t come up. At all.

Dr Laura is a shitty psychologist.

Only after making it clear that things are the women’s fault does she talk about how couples should talk things over, how it’s more intimate to talk about sex than to do it.

The rest of the chapter is just… bland. She talks about how sexual intimacy can hide deeper self-esteem issues, how jumping into bed with someone can be a patch over poor self-esteem, how you won’t find a lasting relationship until you figure out if you’re compatible in non-sexual ways, how the right age to start having sex is the age at which you can maturely handle the consequences (which is different for everyone). This is the “clean your room” part of the Jordan Peterson message: the boring, vanilla advice sandwiched between layers of misogyny and victim-blaming.

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3 Responses to Dr Laura: Ch 4

  1. Firedrake says:

    Yeah, some of the earlier chapters have been more or less susceptible to non-horrible explanations, but this is off the deep end.

    If sex isn’t the Only Weapon A Woman Has, then “giving it to” (i.e. having it with) the Wrong Guy becomes much less important. If you don’t have a culture of purity, the answer to “I had sex with the wrong guy” is “oh well, lesson learned, move on”.

    Same with the widower – maybe they’ll both regret it six months later, maybe they won’t, but if it was what they both wanted at the time then there was nothing wrong with it. Again, it’s the artificial attachment of Great Importance to the sex that’s causing the problem, not the sex itself.

    The boring vanilla advice doesn’t seem particularly wrong-headed. But after “till death do us part, plus six weeks”, well…

    • yamikuronue says:

      Yeah, exactly. I didn’t want to not give her credit for having the vanilla advice in there, but it’s just… by now, almost halfway through the book, the damaging messages have already been communicated, it’s a bit late to pull back and say “actually it’s only a problem if you are using sex to fix your poor self-esteem”

  2. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for June 29th, 2018 | The Slacktiverse

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