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” kissing him full on the mouth, his head held firmly in her hands.
A publishing kingpin told me he remembered seeing Friday—tall, vivacious, and flirtatious, her hair cut in a chic pixie—at parties for the Manhattan literary set.
As one woman told her, “My husband thinks it is him getting me [excited], and it is not at all.” This true and terrifying female autonomy motivated a bestseller list for a year. But if hers is a second-wave success story about a female author scaling the heights until she could dwell, Hefner-like, in her penthouse by examining uncensored female sexuality, it is also a cautionary tale about the fates of women who take themselves and their writing about sex seriously.
They may well see their credentials assailed, like Shere Hite, whose 1976 , now a feminist classic, asked readers to sympathize with a married woman who has an affair.
She rode the wave of the women’s liberation movement and the sexual revolution, selling enlightenment.The book was proclaimed immoral and Chopin’s follow up novel was canceled. In her obituaries you get a sense that Friday, who succumbed to complications from Alzheimer’s, had languished in the estimation of her critics after burning bright.She is described as an “author of [a] once-shocking” book, as if we are today anywhere near accepting that women are as sexual as men; a “chronicler of women’s erotic fantasies,” as if she didn’t interpret them, often masterfully; and in a coy demotion, a “best-selling student of gender politics,” as if she is forever the co-ed in the lecture hall rather than an important voice who penned trailblazing books on the subjects of gender and sexuality.And when an obit reduces her work to an eye-rollingly naïve belief “that women’s erotic freedom…would establish the bedrock of equality between the sexes professionally, economically, politically.” Friday took some bizarre positions—that women abuse and harass men as often as men abuse and harass women, for example.She made a big, sometimes cringe-inducing deal about loving men and sex.