Sleeping Around

Something that made me uncomfortable reading To Bed with Grand Music is the way that readers respond to Deborah. I am including myself in on this, because despite all of my reasoning and all of the class discussion, I still can’t get behind the character. I know somewhere in my mind that Deborah is not an awful person, but there is always still something nagging at me and telling me that I can’t support a protagonist like her. I don’t agree with all of the choices that Deborah makes, but sometimes I forget that Grant gives Deborah permission to cheat on him when he says “I don’t want to promise to you I’ll be physically faithful to you . . . I’ll never let myself fall in love with anyone else . . . Darling will you promise me the same” (Laski 2). Grant is just as much to blame as Deborah for the situation, and he is probably doing the same thing as Deborah, but the blame still falls on her. Even so, Deborah’s character doesn’t seem like a good person to me, and I think that it is because we have been conditioned to think that way.

There are so many double standards when it comes to sex in regards to men and women. If a man sleeps around he is a legend, but if a woman sleeps around she is a slut. Growing up I always heard “If a key unlocks multiple locks you call it a master key. But if a lock opens for any key it is useless.” This is such an unfair way to think about sex, and it puts women in such a tough position. This way of thinking tells women that even though sex is natural they aren’t meant to enjoy it because they don’t have a penis. I grew up in a world where I was conditioned to look down on women who slept around, and I think that is why I have the underlying problem with Deborah. Society is moving in the right direction in terms of gender equality, but I think that we still have a long way to go if the issues of women having sex are still prevalent today.

Laski, Marghanita. To Bed with Grand Music. 1946. Persephone Books, 2009

Samantha Hudspeth


One thought on “Sleeping Around

  1. Wow. That key/lock metaphor certainly elicits a strong response. I agree that society has conditioned people to look down on women who are sexual, even though it is such a natural and necessary part of the perpetuation of life. As far as the “permission to cheat” idea, I found this interesting as well. If this is an arrangement that the couple enters into together, will full knowledge and agreement, is it wrong? What about if they were not married, and just dating? What about if they agreed to be open to other sexual partners long before the war? Why do people (myself included) feel drawn to project our own morality onto other couples/individuals? Society is weird when it comes to sexual matters (and just in general, actually).

    Liked by 1 person

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