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The Lesbian Heresy by Sheila Jeffreys

The Lesbian Heresy

by Sheila Jeffreys

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Recently added byPennLGBTC, csoki637



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Wow, what a book. Sheila Jeffreys takes on a broad spectrum of issues and pulls no punches. She tackles sexological essentialism, detailing its developments from the late 19th century through 1920s and the publication of The Well of Loneliness up until '90s; sadomachosism, its numerous manifestations and defenses; lesbian sex therapy and its relationship to heterosexuality; the lesbian sex industry, including pornography, prostitution, and sex toys; butch–femme roleplaying and its discourse ranging from Joan Nestle to Bev Jo; postmodern understandings of gender à la Judith Butler — and that's just the first half of the book. Her prose is clear, exact, and uncompromising, and her arguments are supported by an impressive wealth of examples and quotations such as magazines, novels, lesbian-feminist theory, and historical texts. Written in 1993, The Lesbian Heresy offers an accurate depiction and analysis of the direction of lesbian culture and feminist activism that still rings true today (although the picture now is notably bleaker). The book offers a cogent analysis of how sexuality under patriarchy is constructed, through the eroticization of male domination of women, to serve male interests and that this holds true even when enacted by lesbians. Despite this depressing state of affairs, Jeffreys ultimately presents a lesbian-affirming alternative, in which women turn away from male definitions of sexuality and create a powerful culture of love and respect.

Useful terms and concepts: heterosexual desire is the eroticization of inequality; "lesbianandgay" to describe the subsuming of lesbian interests into a male framework. ( )
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
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