The search term, “Literary exploration of lesbian desire” yields three pages of results for pornography, erotica, and sexually explicit pictures. This perception of lesbianism as erotic extends throughout mainstream society, with images of lesbianism targeted to heterosexual men in advertising, film, and pornography. Lesbianism in literature has long served either as the pornographic subject of male voyeurism or subjects to be condemned by heterosexual authors—and in many cases, both. The genre lesbian realism is one that arises out of the revolutions of the 1960s in an attempt to combat pulp fiction narratives. Fundamentally, these works must take on a perverse meaning; their foundation in traditional literature style, even simply being a
The erotic has been a source of major discussion within queer and feminist theories. Indeed, much of the discussions surrounding homosexuality or queerness in general focus on ideas of sexuality and the erotic. It has been recognized as of late as a major force in people’s lives, something that permeates nearly every aspect of their lives. However, with the rise of discussions surrounding the erotic, the concept of the nonerotic has been left by the wayside, so to speak. There are many discussions surrounding the erotic that give no space for those who may not identify with the erotic in any way. This is seen in a variety of theories concerning the erotic. This work will identify some groups which may not embrace or experience the
One aspect of ‘Lolita’ that may deem it unacceptable as being part of the literary canon or having any canonical value is its subject matter; a middle-aged man’s obsession with a twelve-year old girl. On the surface, this seems disgusting and creates a feeling of repulsion within the reader. But under the surface, there are connotations of deep, sincere love from both Humbert and Lolita. “…and I looked and looked at her and knew clearly as I know I am to die, that I loved her more than anything I had ever seen or imagined on earth, or hoped for anywhere else.” Nabokov’s poetic elegance turn Humbert’s mentions of love into sweeping statements of an emotion that seems to be deeper than love. In a way, even after Lolita has left him at the end of the novel, Humbert writes his memoirs as if to ensure that
During the Renaissance period, sexuality impacted how people, both men and women, were treated and how they behaved. The lives of women were completely defined by the ideals of sexuality that were enforced during that time. Every area of a woman’s life from birth was influenced by outside influences rather than by they themselves. It took a particular type of woman to break past the clearly defined description of what a “Renaissance woman” should be.
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
In contemporary 21st century thought, sexual liberty is at the forefront of the feminist movement. Women are taking their bodily autonomy back, and ascribing a sense of ownership back to themselves. This movement to gain bodily and sexual liberty, however, are not new concepts. Philosophers and literary greats tackled these issues prior to the 21st century. Both Edith Wharton’s novel The Age of Innocence and Kate Chopin’s short story, At the ‘Cadian Ball and which were written prior to the 21st century and its third wave of feminism. portray women’s sexuality throughout their texts. However, in both novels, the sexuality that is portrayed is confined within boundaries that are prescribed by the men in the story. By writing the female sexuality this way, they are exposing the problematic nature of being able to express a woman’s sexuality, and the lack thereof. Through the focalisation of the narrative as well as plot development of the female characters and their lack of freedom and autonomy in other aspects of their life, the authors make their points clear about women and their freedom, sexual and otherwise.
Throughout time, there has been a battle present in which females try to rise above the power of men and the hold they have on women. Whether the battle be for the equal treatment of both sexes or simply establishing a level of respect and understanding from the opposite sex, the meaning stands the same in which there is an ever-present power struggle that is continuously ongoing between the sexes. No matter the intentional meaning of the work, women suppression by men are seen when one looks beyond the simple statements given and examines the female characters in great detail to better understand the struggle she endures daily due to men. One author in particular that allows an interesting viewpoint into the mind of a blossoming woman is Susan Minot. Minot demonstrates in her story “Lust” how the female narrator is influenced and altered by her male sexual partners. Through each sexual encounter, the reader is able to see the changes these encounters have on the young woman emotionally and other affects a man has on her as she grows up in a male dominated world. This can all be determined by observing closely the figurative language used in the story, the fluctuations in emotions seen in the female character, and the thoughts the woman has about men throughout the story.
Conventional sexual normative values for males typically include an emphasis of attributes that include self-reliance, dominance, assertion, and a healthy appetite for heterosexual behavior. By contrast, those that apply to females usually include a submissiveness and dependency that is all too oftentimes easily exploited by men. In this respect, the body of literature analyzed within this paper--Sandra Cisneros' "Bien Pretty" and "Anguiano Religious Articles" in Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories, as well as Junot Diaz's "Drown" and "Aguantando"--is demonstrative of these truths as an examination of the characterizations and storylines readily demonstrates. However, what is most noteworthy about Cisneros and Diaz's tales is that these authors also have a penchant for deliberately subverting the typical gender roles associated with each sex, particular those of male characters. In these instances, male characters forsake their traditional assertiveness and dominance and become objectified in ways that are usually reserved for female characters and women in general. In these instances, the authors present a fascinating dichotomy that appears incongruent in its depiction of manhood, for the simple fact that these portraits of male characters combine conventional male attributes with an objectification that is usually reserved for women.
Castration, crime, evil, heretics, all those terms used to be linked with sexuality in the past centuries. Humans achieved their sexual liberty only in the 70’s with a sexual revolution based on the progression of medias and the regression of a restricting presence known as religion. Before that, especially in the first half of the 20th century, there were differences in the expression of sexuality between genders. The Stone Diaries, by Carol Shields, illustrates the life of Daisy Goodwill, daughter of Cuyler and Mercy Goodwill, from her creation to her death. In the first chapter “Birth 1905”, Shields portrays the differences between men and women in society by looking at differences between Cuyler’s raging sexuality and Mercy’s repressed sexuality. There is certainly a contrast in their sexual needs and the author uses imagery to show how Mercy is seen as an object in Cuyler intense sexuality.
The year is 1979, 15-year-old Jamie (played by newcomer Lucas Jade Zummerman) is reading an excerpt from “Our Bodies Ourselves”, one of his newly acquired feminist essays to his mother Dorothea (cinema’s matriarch Annette Bening). He proclaims every line about the politics of the female orgasm with pride and satisfaction in regards to the rapid pace of his maturity. After excitedly finishing the last paragraph, his mother looks at him and says with tender anguish “Do you think you know more about me from reading that?”
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 essay “Gonad the Barbarian and the Venus Flytrap: Portraying the Female and Male Orgasm” by Anne McClintock, argues that the portrayal of male and female sexual pleasure varies between the two. Not only are they portrayed in different ways, but the way that they’re seen socially and historically is also different (McClintock). McClintock argues that the denial of orgasms for women is not because they lack the ability to, but because of views of gender. McClintock wants to expose the reader to the cultural phenomena of the denial of female sexual pleasure. I will be analyzing how McClintock argues the idea that women are denied sexual pleasure by giving historical background of female orgasms, and personal experiences.
Freedom, opportunities, and information are some features of this modern society. Clearly, humans are now having a very different life compared to the past. Along with this well-developed world, people get more chances to express how they think, do what they want, and love who they love. Especially young people, they become more independent and are capable of living their own lives. However, while society provides people a lot of benefits, it actually makes their lives even more complex at the same time by leaving them pressures and confusions of who they really are. In her essay, “Selections from Hard to Get:Twenty-Something Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom,” Leslie Bell mentions that while in this new-in between developmental period American twenty-something women have more freedom and opportunities about their sexual lives than previous generations, they are struggling with the paradoxes of their relationships and desires. Bell suggests that social expectations and culture guidelines, which are conventions of female sexuality and stereotypes of being a good girl, prevent these young women from pursuing their sexual desires and limiting their relationships with men. However, even these women have chosen the way they live and what kind of sexual life they want in order to be bad girls to break those old rules, they ended with losing their identities. In general, female sexuality is impacted more by establishing a women’s identity rather than clinging on
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
Vladimir Nabokov, one of the 20th century’s greatest writers, is a highly aesthetic writer. Most of his work shows an amazing interest in and talent for language. He deceptively uses language in Lolita to mask and make the forbidden divine. Contextually, Lolita may be viewed as a novel about explicit sexual desire. However, it is the illicit desire of a stepfather for his 12-year old stepdaughter. The novel’s subject inevitably conjures up expectations of pornography, but there in not a single obscene term in Lolita. Nabokov portrays erotic scenes and sensual images with a poetic sensibility that belies the underlying meaning of the words. The beautiful manipulation of language coerces one to understand Humbert’s interdict act of