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Desiring Revolution Second-Wave Feminism and the Rewriting of Twentieth-Century American Sexual Thought

ISBN-10: 023111205X

ISBN-13: 9780231112055

Edition: 2001

Authors: Jane Gerhard

List price: $32.00
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Description:

There was a moment in the 1970s when sex was what mattered most to feminists. White middle-class women viewed sex as central to both their oppression and their liberation. Young women started to speak and write about the clitoris, orgasm, and masturbation, and publishers and the news media jumped at the opportunity to disseminate their views. In Desiring Revolution, Gerhard asks why issues of sex and female pleasure came to matter so much to these "second-wave feminists." In answering this question Gerhard reveals the diverse views of sexuality within feminism and shows how the radical ideas put forward by this generation of American women was a response to attempts to define and contain female sexuality going back to the beginning of the century. Gerhard begins by showing how the "marriage experts" of the first half of the twentieth century led people to believe that female sexuality was bound up in bearing children. Ideas about normal, white, female heterosexuality began to change, however, in the 1950s and 1960s with the widely reported, and somewhat shocking, studies of Kinsey and Masters and Johnson, whose research spoke frankly about female sexual anatomy, practices, and pleasures. Gerhard then focuses on the sexual revolution between 1968 and 1975. Examining the work of Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer, Erica Jong, and Kate Millet, among many others, she reveals how little the diverse representatives of this movement shared other than the desire that women gain control of their own sexual destinies. Finally, Gerhard examines the divisions that opened up between anti-pornography (or "anti-sex") feminists and anti-censorship (or "pro-sex") radicals. At once erudite and refreshingly accessible, Desiring Revolution provides the first full account of the unfolding of the feminist sexual revolution.
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Book details

List price: $32.00
Copyright year: 2001
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 4/12/2001
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 244
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

Jane Gerhard is lecturer in history and literature at Harvard University.

Preface
Introduction: Sex and the Feminist, 1970
Modern Women and Modern Marriage: Reinventing Female Heterosexuality
Between Freudianism and Feminism: Sexology's Postwar Challenge
Politicizing Pleasure: Radical Feminist Sexual Theory, 1968-1975
Desires and Their Discontents: Feminist Fiction of the 1970s
Cultural Feminism: Reimagining Sexual Freedom, 1975-1982
Conclusion: Negotiating Legacies in the Feminist Sex Wars, 1982
Notes
Index