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When she Googled “perimenopause,” it amused her to read that one of the symptoms was “impending sense of doom,” and she noted her discovery in an uncomplicated (until recently) manner: a Facebook post. one friend joked darkly, because of course what Woolf did, at 59, was kill herself. Collins, now 48, had created a secret Facebook group with just that title, inviting her friends into the internet era’s version of a consciousness-raising group, where women of a certain age could talk about things they didn’t want to share with husbands, partners or children.
Friends wrote back, half-seriously, suggesting she start a group for their cohort, but what to call it? That would be everything from the peevishly quotidian (complaints about dry skin or men not shutting cabinets) to the truly harrowing (suicide ideation; job loss at middle age; bad marriages; domestic abuse; and children suffering from drug addiction). There would be lots of chatter around sex: requests for tips on technique; concern about “the handful of limp” of an older boyfriend; vaginal atrophy; dry vaginas; sex toys; bad sex; no sex; anal sex; the viability of hiring a male prostitute; who has an orgasm first during sex: weird places to have sex; obligatory sex; sex with an ex; tantric sex; group sex; and many, many posts about coconut oil (see “dry vaginas,” above). Collins, who lives in Brooklyn Heights in a modish duplex apartment overlooking the East River, is emblematic of a certain demographic: mostly white — though Ms.
And there are the lurkers and the hate readers, along with those who are repelled or bored or disappointed by the particular window into women’s lives that the group affords them.“I always think that Virginia Woolf would be mortified at having her name associated with this group,” said Daphne Merkin, the memoirist and cultural critic, who is a member of the group but does not post anything.
“At first I thought it was going to be some kind of literary meeting of the minds.
Woolfers in New York City began meeting in person, as Ms.
Collins led field trips to Toys in Babeland, the sex accessories emporium on the Lower East Side, and hosted Scrabble tournaments and clothing swaps.
Collins’s husband, and the woman told him about his wife’s query. They feel no one is listening to them, and they feel invisible.”Ms.
When a white Woolfer reported that a black man in a park had exposed himself to her, many in the group were inflamed that she had noted his race. Collins read every post herself, to steer the conversation and defuse tension.
But when the group swelled to 3,000, she asked some of the early Woolfers to help her moderate; now, about 20 women have oversight of what’s posted. Collins chastised the group for what she saw as occasional reflexive pettiness.
A recent Page Six item reported that her second husband had broken her nose during a fight last September.“What does it mean to be ‘too much,’ as a woman? ”“I thought it would be a throwaway thread,” she said.
“But suddenly there were like 600 comments,” evenly divided in opinion. We can’t just sell content online, it has to be something else.