The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism documents a concerted assault on the goals, principles, and archievements of the women's movement. Filling a long-standing need for a radical feminist collection on contemporary sexual politics, this volume brings together an extraordinary list of contributors, including Phyllis Chesler, Gena Corea, Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin,The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism documents a concerted assault on the goals, principles, and archievements of the women's movement. Filling a long-standing need for a radical feminist collection on contemporary sexual politics, this volume brings together an extraordinary list of contributors, including Phyllis Chesler, Gena Corea, Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin, Sheila Jeffreys, Sonla Johnson, Ann Jones, Catharine MacKinnon, and Florence Rush....
|Title||:||The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism|
|Number of Pages||:||256 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism Reviews
A wonderful, brilliant summary of the problems with "if it gives someone a boner it can't be bad"-style lee-bruhl-ism, and the disastrous consequences that that's had for women/feminism. Highly recommended.
This is a very good intro into what being sex/kink critical is really all about. I really wish I read this when I was younger and gleaned a better understanding that sex, like many other aspects including gender itself, is a social construction. You might not be literally "brainwashed" but that stuff - porn, pop culture, etc. - does mess with your preferences and desires. And that being said, the very superficial and vapid rhetoric of a woman making "choices" and that's therefore empowering - simply isn't enough anymore.
This book is probably best approached as a document/artifact from the end of an era in feminism sometimes referred to as the Sex Wars. These began in the 1970s with disagreements over issues like pornography, prostitution, and political lesbianism (or even celibacy). Depending on who you talk to, it was a war between the anti-sex/sex-negative feminism and pro-sex/sex-positive feminism, or between radical/cultural feminism and liberal feminism (The latter is a somewhat tougher definition to argue for, as some of the sex-positive crowd would class as some kind of radical leftist. But no matter). These issues came to a head in the mid-80s, when McKinnon and Dworkin pushed for anti-pornography legislation, which other feminists fought against. Many feminists on the side of McKinnon/Dworkin refused to regard these "sexual liberals" as true feminists. Those in the liberal camp tended not to go this far, accepting the radicals as feminists while keeping a distance. After this period, the movement began to reassess some of its approach, became more diverse and more self-critical, leading to the 3rd wave.This book was published in 1990 and the majority of the works included were drawn from panel lectures at a conference of the same name, held in 1987 at the New York University Law School. It features many of the key players in radical cultural feminism, like Dworkin, McKinnon, Daly, and so forth. Many of the names I was less familiar with, but after researching do not seem minor.For anyone trying to get a picture of the period and its aftermath, this is a pretty good document of everything from the perspective of the cultural, radical, "sex-negative" crowd. How you rate it might well depend on how you generally react to this kind of rhetoric, or how far you're willing to go with some of the arguments. While I am not a fan of Dworkin and her ilk, one criticism that radical feminism still have a valid point on is the issue of "choice" or any kind of feminism that emphasizes this as the ultimate goal. They rightly acknowledge that even choices that seem freely made are influenced by our culture (hence "cultural feminism") or are otherwise constrained in such a way that it is preferable to uphold restrictive gender roles. Culture doesn't change when people continue to make the same choices. We can't just wave these concerns away by declaring, "Well, now women have a choice whether to be housewives or CEOs, problem solved!" Especially not if they continue falling into the same patterns.Another legitimate argument throughout these pieces is the tendency of sexual liberals to hand-wave at certain problems. For instance, I support legalized (or at least decriminalized) prostitution, but I'd never argue that the majority of prostitutes freely chose their careers. Statistically, there's just not much support for it. Yet some people who share my position just blithely shrug it off. Sometimes we do need to look beyond the issue of rights and consider whether someone's being harmed.Ultimately, however, I side with the "sexual liberals" and believe the tactics chosen by Dworkin et. al. are misguided and even at times Puritanical. Their all or nothing ideological approach means that they don't always look critically at their statistics or methodological approach. They see all sex as utterly tainted--total depravity the feminist edition. They're incapable of seeing fantasy and play as a potential for working-through our programming, of even acknowledging fantasy is just that. The complaints go on and on and on.So yes, an interesting document of an era and worth reading if you want to know something about the commonly cited figures within radical/cultural feminism. It gives a more realistic picture than cherry-picked quotes ever will.
3.5/5This is a very interesting collection of sex/kink critical essays. to no one's surprise, my favorite was Dworkin's Woman-hating Right and Left but I also really enjoyed Leidholdt's When Women Defend Pornography and Jeffreys' Eroticizing Women’s Subordination. Overall, a great and necessary book, especially in these sex-posi and choice feminism times.
I attempted to read this so I could like know my enemy but didn't even make it a page in before I was too offended and upset to continue. I did look at the index to find their commentary on works that I've read and thus found an absolutely ridiculous analysis of "What We're Rolling Around in Bed With" (Moraga & Hollibaugh) based on a literal interpretation of like 2 sentences in the essay (I may be judging this on a similarly brief part of it, but I'm sure not saying terrible things its authors' identities).
YES YES YES. This book is a treasure. Full of powerfull speeches and valuable short essays. We can learn so much of all these great women and men that contributed to this. Read about the betrayal of the liberals - it is all summed up here.
I'm kinda scared to read this one b/c I AM a sexual liberal! :)