April Book Discussion – Part 3 of 5

As requested, I waited a bit to post the next installment of discussion questions. So here’s the next batch! Discuss away…

  • Henry discusses what she posits as second-wave feminism’s “fear” of sexuality, sex, and seemingly anti-heterosexual rhetoric. (Some) were not pro-sex and often seemed to disagree with heterosexuality altogether–the best feminists were lesbians (leading to allllllll sorts of stereotypes that still exist today.) Heterosexual third-wave feminists, therefore, did not see an image of themselves projected in the movement and became pro-sex, as “hetero is the new homo” of the movement. Which stance do you agree with–is there one way to be sexually in order to be a “good” feminist? (Does my dating a male make me less of a feminist?)
  • Thus began the “sex wars,” the reclaiming of sexuality and rejecting lesbianism as the only way to be a strong feminist. Second-wave feminists often lament that third-wave feminists are so hung up on sex and claim that’s all we care about (and because of it we’re not politically motivated.) However, Henry states, “feminism’s wars over sexuality have primarily been fought between white women […] white, economically privileged women who have had the luxury to define their liberation exclusively in therms of their individual sexual freedom” (97). Do you agree that the sex-wars are exclusively a white feminist issue? (Why?) What do you think about the sex-wars in general?
  • Also, Henry discusses how second-wave feminists came to lesbianism through feminism–it was often a rejection of men (male-hating, anti-sex with males) and not an embrace of women (women-loving, pro-sex with women). However, this has changed over the years, making there a “distinction between coming to lesbianism through feminism versus coming to it through something else, such as one’s sexual desires” (122). Previously, lesbians were allies with feminists, but now oftentimes lesbians are allies with gay men. Feminists still “see” lesbians, do lesbians still “see” feminism? Does this weaken or strengthen the feminist movement?
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One response to “April Book Discussion – Part 3 of 5

  1. i find the relationship between feminists and lesbians sooo fascinating. feminists always seem so hot and bothered about being all-inclusive when it comes to sexuality, so much so that if often did seem as though all feminists were lesbians. but their rhetoric always seemed to be all “don’t be with the oppressive man! throw off the shackles and be with the woman!” it’s like default lesbianism–can’t do the man, so i *guess* i’ll do the woman. now it seems like lesbianism is how it should be–woman wanting to have sex with women because they want women, not because they default to women after giving up on men. but i truly do wonder if the lgbt community is as aware/concerned/involved with feminism as feminists are with the lgbt community.

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