Thursday, February 16, 2017
When We Were Outlaws: Blog Post Wk 6
In this week’s reading we looked at a Jeanne Cordova’s memoir, When We Were Outlaws. This memoir takes place in 1975 and follows the life of Cordova, a woman with a Mater’s degree from UCLA, who is working as a writer/columnist for the L.A. Free Press. She is sympathetic to revolutionary struggle, radial feminism, and socialist ideals, and writes for a countercultural news establishment. This immediately caught my attention and made my like Jeanne. In her memoir, she does a great job at illustrating and capturing the tension between political beliefs, which dominate her life, and her personal relationships. In chapter 3, entitled Wisdom of the Cornfields, we meet Barbara Jo “BeJo” Gehrke, Cordova’s primary non-monogamous relationship. In this chapter Cordova explores the difficulties and advantages of a non-monogamous relationship. For one, it closely reflects her own personal and political position since she believes: “living non-monogamously prevents men from trying to own women… Monogamy was invented by men to enslave and isolate women from one another and to protect their inheritance, their land and women as property. It’s a colonizing construct. By rejecting heterosexual marriage and monogamy, surely you can see that we’re trying to build a new type of society (Cordova).” She also recounts how most her friends were in non-monogamous relationships and how her older monogamous friends were harassed for imitating heterosexual relationships. While I see the point Cordova is trying to make I understand where her partner “BeJo” is saying. I don’t agree with that argument that monogamy is natural and thus should be the proper and only form of relationships between consenting individuals. Personally, I believe these matters are best arranged and negotiated between the individuals within the relationship.
However, even though BeJo and Jeanne have discussed and agreed upon the boundaries of their relationship, the tension is still present. Growing up within a heteronormative and monogamous culture must complicate these sorts of relationships due to the effects it must have on the formations of our ideas on relationships. We can see that very clearly in this memoir when BeJo asks the question: “How did feminism come up with this non-monogamy idea/ or philosophy (Cordova)?” These issues are important to flesh out and discuss and im excited to further delve into the memoir and get a better understanding on non-monogamous relationships.