Sexuality And The Female Body

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Sex. A lot of people have it, a lot of people want to have it, and it is generally considered a pretty great thing, but why are there so many taboos surrounding sex? Particularly, there seems to be a lot a taboos pertaining to women and their relationship with sex. Society has always been uncomfortable with women expressing their sexuality and often downplays women’s capacities for sexual pleasure. Our literature reflects this. Women in literature do not often express their sexuality openly, or if they do, they are vilified. If the women are not vilified, the book will often be banned (like several of the books we’ve read in class, like Mrs. Warren’s Profession and Chéri). Peggy Orenstein’s article When Did Porn Become Sex Ed? illustrates…show more content…
In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Maggie’s own husband can’t stand her and she is constantly berated by her in-laws. In Mrs. Warren’s Profession, the eponymous Mrs. Warren is rejected by her own daughter because she is a former prostitute. While Maggie is one of the most likeable characters in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, she certainly isn’t well liked by the other characters. She and Mae clearly have a rivalry and Brick, not being sexually interested in her aside, can’t stand her. Throughout the course of the book, his resentment of her becomes clearer. From the beginning of the play he’s already been looking at Maggie in a way that “[freezes her] blood,” (p. 26) a clear sign of resentment and he doesn’t even know he’s doing it. Even if Brick is gay, or even if he isn’t, Maggie being portrayed negatively just shows how uncomfortable society is with women pursuing sex. In the first scene Maggie drops some less than subtle hints about wanting sex and then spends the rest of the play being resented by Brick and all but tormented by the rest of her extended family. While Brick may not be interested in her because of his sexuality, he offers no clarity and thus appears extremely indifferent to his wife and how negatively this has affected her. She nearly breaks down at the beginning of the play because she’s gone through a “hideous transformation” (p. 26) after years of an unfulfilling marriage and tries to tell Brick how lonely she is, how lonely he makes her feel, and his only response
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