Steve Maraboli wrote, “Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over, instead of craving control over what you don’t.” While perceptions towards female sexuality have become more and more liberal over time, they still tend towards an expediently bigoted dynamic in which women are only encouraged to be sexual to an extent. The idea of women being self-confident, even single-minded, in cultivating rousing sex lives is still often looked upon as immoral and impure. In Toni Morrisson’s novel Sula, not only is female sexuality lopsidedly categorized, it is seen as worthy for castigation. Missing from the main conceptualization is the blunt acknowledgement that female promiscuity can be empowering. A woman can derive power from her sexuality. By realizing what she’s been gifted with, she can gain her freedom. Sexual empowerment for her involves recognition of her sexual being, embracing that power, and exhibiting it confidently without fear of disrepute. By embracing the body she is born into, understanding the power it wields, and displaying total command in making choices regarding her body, she holds the power to not be castigated for craving and loving sex. Neither is she belittled with abusive words for not keeping her body as a holy shrine, allowing only one man entry. A sexually assured woman, conscious of her own desires, and confident in her allure can claim sex solely on her own terms.
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Since the dawn of man, sex has played a crucial role in society. Before they learned to read or write humans were engaging in sex and without it none of us would be here. In today’s society, sex has grown to become much more complicated. If I were to ask a group of people on the street what they believed sex was? I bet they would have a hard time answering. The question puzzling society today is how do we define sex? Can we define sex? These are questions raised in Tracy Steele’s article “Doing it: The Social Construction of S-E-X”. This article is about the current questions and issues that have been raised about sex within today’s society. In this paper I will summarize the key points of the article, while sharing my own thoughts and
Mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, aunts, uncles, grandparents, pimps, prostitutes, straight people, gay people, lesbian people, Europeans, Asians, Indians, and Africans all have once thing in common: they are products of sexuality. Sexuality is the most common activity in the world, yet is considered taboo and “out of the norm” in modern society. Throughout history, people have been harassed, discriminated against, and shunned for their “sexuality”. One person who knows this all too well is activist and author, Angela Davis. From her experiences, Davis has analyzed the weakness of global society in order to propose intellectual theories on how to change the perspective of sexuality. This research paper will explore the discussions of
Professor’s Comment: This powerful essay contrasts the views of two feminist, Catherine MacKinnon and Sallie Tisdale, each of which perceives pornography in widely divergent ways. While MacKinnon's 'Not A Moral Issue' explains the adverse impacts of pornography to women and society as a whole, Tisdale's 'Talk Dirty to Me: An Intimate Philosophy of Sex' is receptive to pornography despite these adverse impacts, suggesting in fact that the solution to the problems associated with pornography is a greater role of women in production of that pornography.
“In men, in general, sexual desire is inherent and spontaneous” whereas “in the other sex, the desire is dormant, if not non-existent, till excited” (457). Greg’s terminology is extremely power-laden. “Spontaneous” has the connotation of energy and activity, whereas “dormant” and “victim” imply inactivity. An important concept is the assumption that men, the “coarser sex,” act on women, the “weaker sex” (457).
Ira L. Reiss, a well-known sociologist, has contributed greatly to the field of human sexuality and in the 1960’s brilliantly predicted the revolutionary changes in sexual attitudes. In his novel, An End to Shame: Shaping Our Next Sexual Revolution, Reiss develops the notion that our previous sexual revolution did not adequately eliminate the inequalities related to sexuality. In reality he argues that America is in need of a newly formed sexual revolution, one that will address the negative consequences that our sex negative culture is experiencing. A significant portion of our population argues that these consequences are due to the fact that we talk too much and too soon about sex. This is an inaccurate view of the reasoning behind the sexual problems we are experiencing in America, as in reality the negative sexual outcomes we observe are due to the opposite of this view. This misconception is a common explanation for our sexual problems and many believe it is the key to solving our sexual crisis, but in reality is part of the problem. Reiss argues that “America is long overdue for a rendezvous with sexual reality” (18) and that the future of our nation depends on accepting these realities.
An extremely interesting, but ever-contradictory sociological study of sexual relationsis presented in the Kathy Peiss book Cheap Amusements . The reason I say that it is ever-contradictory is that the arguments are presented for both the benefit of cheap amusements for a woman s place in society and for the reinforcement of her place. In one breath, Peiss says that mixed-sex fun could be a source of autonomy and pleasure as well as a cause of [a woman s] continuing oppression. The following arguments will show that, based on the events and circumstances described in Cheap Amusements , the changes in the
MacKinnon’s categorization of gender fails to take into account the difference in sexual desires. Within the socio-legal context, the regulation of sexual activities generalizes patterns of norms and marginalizes those who do not fit within this binary. This results in the suppression of natural masochistic desire and identity. As suggested by Rubin, feminist critiques of gender hierarchy “must be incorporated into a radical theory of sex, and the critique of sexual oppression should enrich feminism’ (Rubin 180). Rubin argues that the feminist critique of protecting women due to their status as subordinates effectively displace their sexual liberation (Rubin
Sexuality has an inherent connection to human nature. Yet, even in regards to something so natural, societies throughout times have imposed expectations and gender roles upon it. Ultimately, these come to oppress women, and confine them within the limits that the world has set for them. However, society is constantly evolving, and within the past 200 years, the role of women has changed. These changes in society can be seen within the intricacies of literature in each era. Specifically, through analyzing The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, one can observe the dynamics of society in regards to the role of women through the lens of the theme of sexuality. In both novels, the confinement and oppression of women can be visibly seen as a result of these gender roles. Yet, from the time The Scarlet Letter was published to the time The Bell Jar was written, the place of women in society ultimately changed as well. Hence when evaluating the gender roles that are derived from sexuality, the difference between the portrayals of women’s oppression in each novel becomes apparent, and shows how the subjugation of women has evolved. The guiding question of this investigation is to what extent does the theme of sexuality reflect the expectations for women in society at the time each novel was written. The essay will explore how the literary elements that form each novel demonstrate each author’s independent vision which questions the
The Samoan culture and how socialization turns into sexuality for young girls is very different compared to our culture. In the Samoan culture sexuality in Samoan girls is seen differently than we see it in our culture today. Margaret Mead elaborates on this idea because of how she views the sexuality of a Samoan girl when she mentions “Virginity is a legal requirement for her” (Mead 69). When Mead discusses this, it is interesting how in that culture virginity is a requirement and that is something we don’t see as a requirement in our society today. This demonstrates how the sexuality of a Samoan girl is not the same as we see it. The way girls are seen because of their sexuality is incomparable to girls in our society today and that’s important to observe since Samoan culture is by far very different to what we view as part of culture today.
To do so, Levy turns to the experiences of several young women whom she interviews. From her interpretations of these experiences, Levy reaches the conclusion that these women’s sexual nature revolves around their need
The promiscuous women in Sula are falsely labeled as the antagonist. Rochelle’s profession went against her mother’s moral beliefs. This does not make her a bad person. Rochelle was a woman working towards making a living independently. Helene was raised to believe that her mother’s lifestyle was wild (Morrison 17). Cecile’s beliefs were instilled in Helene and it affected the way she viewed her mother. Cecile adopted the maternal role while raising Helene. It came naturally for Cecile since she raised her granddaughter for all of Helene’s childhood. Cecile moved Helene far away from the brothel were Rochelle worked.
In Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women, Esther and Del try to take control of their sexuality and their sexual lives. These two female protagonists attempt to gain sexual confidence by quietly rejecting the societal images of women. They are able to seduce men and pilot their own sexual lives. These women are also able to ignore the popular beliefs about marriage and motherhood, thus freeing them from the traditional, restrictive female sexual roles. By rejecting the popular notions of womanhood, sexuality, and marriage, Esther and Del become the mistresses of their sexuality and sexual
“A great achievement of women’s movements worldwide has been their success in ‘breaking the silence’ about male violence against women in intimate relationships” (Vickers, 2002). Having broken the silence of violence it has also broken the silence of oppression. The ongoing battle(s) of women’s rights suggests that the silence of oppression is of the past and the future holds equality for all alike. “…power is the capacity to terrorize, to use self and strength to inculcate fear, fear in a whole class of persons” (Dworkin, 1981). Male dominance exhibits and practices fear toward those of different classes, its use is to gain power to which control is given. “In the male system, sex is the penis, the penis is sexual power, its use in fucking is manhood” (Dworkin, 1981). The male mind indicates that without a penis an authority of power is dismissed and overlooked. Unfortunate for society today male hierarchy continues to be the dominant practice and the penis is a visual and vital form of power. “Male sexual power is the substance of culture” (Dworkin, 1981). Although women have come a long way their oppression and limited amount of power in society has yet to be broken and adjusted because of this visual of the male penis extracting power in society.
Throughout history, definitions of sexuality within a culture are created and then changed time after time. During these changes, we have seen the impact and power one individual or group can have over others. In the Late Nineteenth Century into the Early Twentieth Century, we see multiple groups of people and or authorities taking control over the idea of sex and how they believe society is being impacted by sex. At this point in time, society had groups of people who believed they had the power to control how society as whole viewed and acted upon sex. Those particular groups and ideas changed many lives and the overall definition of sexuality within that culture.