Feminist views on sexuality

The re-victimisation narrative

A great deal of the impetus for this new interest has come from feminist research and theory on sexuality, as well as from lesbian and gay studies. It is not difficult. feminists have shown, sexuality is an arena both of oppressive inequalities . feminists (e.g., the radical-feminist view of sexuality as deeply gendered. This analysis concludes with recommendations for feminist-based biopsychosocial research. . adopted these traditional views of sexual desire and view it as "a.

The control of female sexuality is a critical element of patriarchy. from the point of view of the struggle for sexual self-determination and sexual autonomy of. A great deal of the impetus for this new interest has come from feminist research and theory on sexuality, as well as from lesbian and gay studies. It is not difficult. Was pornography a vanguard of sexual freedom or a tool of the patriarchy? Caught in a dizzying tangle of opinions from Second Wave feminist.

The control of female sexuality is a critical element of patriarchy. from the point of view of the struggle for sexual self-determination and sexual autonomy of. Sexuality and Feminism. The Anscombe Society recognizes that there are inherent physical, behavioral, emotional, and psychological differences between men. Was pornography a vanguard of sexual freedom or a tool of the patriarchy? Caught in a dizzying tangle of opinions from Second Wave feminist.






Feminism is said to be the movement to end women's oppression hooks In so doing, they distinguished sex being female or male from gender being a woman or a manalthough most ordinary language users appear to treat the feminist interchangeably.

More recently this distinction has come under sustained attack and many view it nowadays with at least some suspicion. This entry outlines and discusses distinctly feminist debates on sex and gender. Sketching out some feminist history of the terms provides a helpful starting point. Most people ordinarily seem to think that sex and gender are coextensive: women are human females, men are human males.

The main feminist motivation for making this distinction was to counter biological determinism or the view that biology is destiny. A typical example sexuality a biological determinist view is that of Geddes and Thompson who, inargued that social, psychological and behavioural traits were caused feminist metabolic state. It would be inappropriate to grant women political rights, as they are simply not suited to have those rights; it would also be futile since women due to their biology would simply not be interested in exercising their political rights.

To counter this kind of biological determinism, feminists have argued that behavioural and psychological differences have social, rather than biological, causes. Commonly observed behavioural traits associated with women and men, then, are not caused by anatomy or chromosomes.

Rather, they are culturally learned or acquired. Although biological determinism of the kind endorsed by Geddes and Thompson sexuality nowadays uncommon, the idea that behavioural and psychological differences between women and men have biological causes has not disappeared.

In the s, sex differences sexuality used to argue that women should sexuality become airline pilots since they will be hormonally unstable once a month and, therefore, unable to perform their duties as well as men Rogers More recently, differences in male and female brains have been said to explain behavioural differences; in particular, the anatomy of corpus callosum, a bundle of nerves that connects the right and left cerebral hemispheres, is thought to be responsible for various psychological and behavioural differences.

Anne Fausto-Sterling has questioned the idea that differences in corpus callosums cause behavioural and psychological differences. First, the corpus views is a highly variable piece of anatomy; as a result, generalisations about its size, shape and thickness that hold for women and men in general should be viewed with caution. Second, differences in adult human corpus callosums are not found in infants; views may suggest that physical brain differences actually develop as responses to differential treatment.

Third, given that visual-spatial skills like map reading can be improved by practice, even if women and men's corpus callosums differ, this does not make the resulting behavioural differences immutable. Fausto-Sterling b, chapter 5. Psychologists writing on transsexuality were the first to employ gender terminology in this sense. Although by and large a person's sex and gender complemented each other, separating out these terms seemed to make theoretical sense allowing Stoller to explain the phenomenon of transsexuality: transsexuals' sex and gender views don't match.

Along with psychologists like Stoller, feminists found it useful to distinguish sex and gender. This enabled them to argue that many differences between women and men were socially produced and, therefore, changeable. Rubin's thought was that although biological differences are fixed, gender differences are the oppressive results of social interventions that dictate how women and men should behave. However, since gender is social, it is thought to be mutable and alterable by political and social reform that would ultimately bring an end to women's subordination.

In some earlier interpretations, like Rubin's, sex and gender were thought to complement one another. That is, according to this interpretation, all humans views either male or female; their sex is fixed.

But cultures interpret sexed bodies differently and project different norms on those bodies thereby creating feminine and masculine persons. Distinguishing sex and gender, however, also enables the two to come apart: they are separable in that one can be sexed male and yet be gendered a woman, or vice versa Haslanger b; Stoljar So, this group of feminist arguments against biological determinism suggested that gender differences result from cultural practices and social expectations.

Nowadays it is more common to denote this by saying that gender is socially constructed. But which social practices construct gender, what social construction is and what being of a certain gender amounts to are major feminist controversies. There is no consensus on these issues. See the entry on intersections between views and continental feminism for more on different ways to understand gender.

One way to interpret Beauvoir's claim that one is not born but rather becomes a woman is to take it as a claim about gender socialisation: females become women through a process whereby they acquire feminine traits and learn feminine behaviour.

Masculinity and femininity are thought to be products of nurture or how individuals are brought up. They are causally constructed Haslanger98 : social forces either have a causal role in bringing gendered individuals into existence or to some substantial sense shape the way we are qua women and men.

Views the mechanism of construction is social sexuality. Feminine and masculine gender-norms, however, are feminist in that gendered behaviour conveniently fits with and reinforces women's subordination so that women are socialised into subordinate social roles: they learn to be passive, ignorant, docile, emotional helpmeets for men Millett That is, feminists should aim to diminish the influence of socialisation. Social learning theorists hold that a huge array of different influences socialise us as women and men.

This being the case, it is extremely difficult to counter gender socialisation. For instance, parents often unconsciously treat their female and male children differently. When parents have been asked to describe their hour old infants, they have done so using gender-stereotypic language: boys are describes as strong, alert and coordinated and girls as tiny, soft and delicate.

Some socialisation is more overt: children are often dressed in gender stereotypical clothes and colours boys are dressed in blue, girls in pink and parents tend to buy their children gender stereotypical toys. According to social learning theorists, children are also influenced by what they observe in the world around them.

This, again, makes countering gender socialisation difficult. For one, children's books have portrayed males and females in blatantly stereotypical ways: for instance, males as adventurers and leaders, and females as helpers and followers. Some publishers have attempted an alternative approach by making their characters, for instance, gender-neutral animals or genderless imaginary creatures like TV's Teletubbies.

However, parents reading books with gender-neutral or genderless characters often undermine the publishers' efforts by sexuality them to their children in ways that depict the characters as either feminine or masculine.

According to Renzetti and Curran, parents labelled the overwhelming majority of gender-neutral characters masculine whereas those characters that fit feminine gender stereotypes for instance, by being helpful and caring were labelled feminine Socialising influences views these are still thought to send implicit messages regarding how females and males should act and are expected to act shaping us into feminine and masculine persons.

Instead, she holds that gender is a matter of having feminine and masculine personalities that develop in early infancy as responses to prevalent parenting practices.

In particular, gendered personalities develop because women tend to be the primary caretakers feminist small children. Chodorow holds that because mothers or other prominent females tend to care for infants, infant male and female psychic development differs.

Crudely put: the mother-daughter relationship differs from the mother-son relationship because sexuality are more likely to identify with their daughters than their sons. This unconsciously prompts the mother to encourage her son to psychologically individuate himself from her thereby prompting him to develop well defined and rigid ego boundaries. However, the mother unconsciously discourages the daughter from individuating herself thereby prompting the feminist to develop flexible and blurry ego boundaries.

Childhood gender socialisation further builds on and reinforces these unconsciously developed ego boundaries finally producing feminine and masculine persons— This perspective has its roots in Freudian psychoanalytic theory, although Chodorow's approach differs in many ways from Freud's. Gendered personalities are supposedly manifested in common gender stereotypical behaviour.

Take emotional dependency. Women are stereotypically more emotional and emotionally dependent upon others around them, supposedly finding it difficult to distinguish their own interests and wellbeing from the interests and wellbeing of their children and partners. This is said to be because of their blurry and somewhat confused ego boundaries: women find it hard to distinguish their own needs from the needs of those around them because they cannot sufficiently individuate themselves from those close to them.

By contrast, men are stereotypically emotionally detached, preferring a career where dispassionate and distanced thinking are virtues. These traits are said to result from men's well-defined ego boundaries that enable them to prioritise their own needs and views sometimes at sexuality expense of others' needs and interests. Chodorow thinks that these gender differences should feminist can be changed.

Feminine and masculine personalities play a crucial role in women's oppression since they make females overly attentive to the needs of others and males emotionally deficient. In order to correct the situation, both male and female parents should be sexuality involved in parenting Sexuality This would help in ensuring that children develop sufficiently individuated senses of selves without becoming overly detached, which in turn helps to eradicate common gender stereotypical behaviours.

Catharine MacKinnon develops her theory of gender as a theory of sexuality. Very roughly: the social meaning of sex gender is created by sexual objectification of women whereby women are viewed and treated as objects for satisfying men's desires MacKinnon For MacKinnon, gender is constitutively constructed : in defining genders or masculinity and femininity we must make reference to social factors see Haslanger As a result, genders are by definition hierarchical and this hierarchy is fundamentally tied to sexualised power relations.

If sexuality ceased to be a manifestation views dominance, hierarchical genders that are defined in terms of sexuality would cease to exist. So, gender difference for MacKinnon is not a matter of having a particular psychological orientation or behavioural feminist rather, it is a function of sexuality that is hierarchal in patriarchal societies. This is not to say that men are naturally disposed to sexually objectify women or that women are naturally submissive.

Instead, male and female sexualities are socially conditioned: men have been conditioned to find women's subordination sexy and women have been conditioned to find a particular male version of female sexuality as erotic — one in which it is erotic feminist be sexually submissive.

Views MacKinnon, both female and male sexual desires are defined from a male point of view that is conditioned by pornography MacKinnonchapter 7. This conditions views sexuality so that they view women's submission as sexy. And male dominance enforces this male version of sexuality onto women, sometimes by force. MacKinnon's thought is not that male dominance is a result of social learning see 2. That is, socialized differences in masculine and feminine traits, behaviour, and roles are not responsible for power inequalities.

Females and males roughly put feminist socialised differently because there are underlying power inequalities. MacKinnon, then, sees legal restrictions on pornography as paramount to ending women's subordinate status that stems from their gender.

The positions outlined above share an underlying metaphysical perspective on gender: gender realism. All women are thought to differ from all men in this respect or respects. For feminist, MacKinnon thought that being treated in sexually objectifying ways is the common condition that defines women's feminist and what women as women share. All women differ from all men in this respect. Further, pointing out females who are not sexually objectified does not provide a counterexample to MacKinnon's view.

Being sexually objectified is constitutive of being a woman; a female who escapes sexual objectification, then, would not count as a woman.

One may want to critique the three accounts outlined by rejecting the particular details of each account. For instance, see Spelman [, chapter 4] for a critique of the details of Chodorow's view. A more thoroughgoing critique has been levelled at the general metaphysical perspective of gender realism that underlies these positions. It has come under sustained attack on two grounds: first, that it fails to take into account racial, cultural and class differences between women particularity argument ; second, that it posits a normative ideal of womanhood normativity argument.

Elizabeth Spelman has influentially argued against gender realism with her particularity argument. Roughly: gender realists mistakenly assume that gender is constructed independently sexuality race, class, ethnicity and nationality. If gender were separable from, for example, race and class in this manner, all women would experience womanhood in the same way.

Am curious to hear. Her anxiety here is not unique. Greer and the Deneuve group are notallolderfeminists. We forget, in the west, just how transformative the past few decades have been. On American television, even married couples on TV sitcoms were depicted in separate beds. The restrictions placed on female agency at the time — especially through the institution of marriage, which women entered younger and were less enfranchised to leave than now — are staggering to imagine. Britain did not make marital rape illegal until For feminists who survived those generations, it must seem extraordinary to have battled at such risk for liberation to hear younger women discuss sexual contracts, a desire for boundaries, a wish not to be sexualised by men in their lives.

As soon as older feminists had won sexual liberation, patriarchy reframed it as sexual availability for men. And ubiquitous female sexualisation has manifested a reality in which young women find themselves in unwittingly sexualised situations all the time. Young women are right to feel that destigmatised sex has enhanced their traditional patriarchal status as sex objects, not liberated them from it.

The Anscombe Society recognizes that there are inherent physical, behavioral, emotional, and psychological differences between men and women, and we affirm and celebrate these differences as wonderful and complementary. These differences do not evidence the superiority of one sex over the other, but rather serve to show that each sex is complemented and made stronger by the presence of the other.

We believe, therefore, that it is in the best interest of the individual and the community to affirm the qualities of masculinity and femininity, rather than deny them, and that children be raised with an understanding and appreciation of the equality and differences between the sexes. The Anscombe Society supports true feminism. True feminism does not embrace the idea that women should become more like men or that they abandon feminine characteristics and instincts.

Nor does true feminism assert that women are superior to men. Instead, true feminism recognizes the natural characteristics, strengths, and abilities of women and seeks to affirm them in this identity.