A Discussion Of Feminism And Lesbianism Essay

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A Discussion Of Feminism And Lesbianism Essay, Research Paper During the 1970s and 1980s, much lesbian theory turned towards the questione most influential, and also controversial writers was Adrienne Rich, whose work of a lesbian history, and why it has been covered up for all this time. They began to consider that women’s subordination under men, and the necessity for men to preserve the institution of heterosexuality by whatever means available (this ranges from marriage and romantic literature to domestic violence and rape), was where the answer to this question lay. One of th on “Compulsory Heterosexuality” (1980), became the foundation for the subsequent lesbian separatist movement. This movement was based on the premise that if heterosexuality was an institution

that exists to perpetuate the subordination of women, then it must be avoided at all costs. It naturally followed that heterosexual women were ‘collaborating with the enemy’ and therefore could not be called feminists, as they themselves were helping to safeguard men’s position as oppressor. Oppression of women is the main distinguishing feature of heterosexuality in the opinions of such feminists. Many see heterosexual intercourse as nothing more than the “eroticisation of women’s subordination”, with others implying, as bell hooks notes, that “all genital contact between women and men is rape”. Such theorists would suggest that this violence is perpetuated through methods such as pornography, which pushes women into a role of masochism and, …widens the range

of behaviour considered acceptable from men in heterosexual intercourse. Adrienne Rich is very critical of Susan Brownmiller, who in her work “Against Our Own Will: Men, Women and Rape” attempts to remove the concept of rape from its sexual sphere, suggesting that “rape is violence, intercourse isof sexuality”. Rich, along with MacKinnon, suggests that rather than seeing rape as a form of violence, one should instead look at it as a natural part heterosexuality, as something that is made normal by men’s oppression of women. As such theorists believe that women are being oppressed by men in a heterosexual relationship, and that the heterosexual relationship legitimates and perpetuates this oppression, many of them suggest, therefore, that ideally heterosexuality should

cease to exist. After research on sexuality found that only an approximate 30% of women reach orgasm during penetrative sex, feminist literature on the subject began to imply that the women who is in control of her sexuality would avoid penetrative sex. This moved on to the point, however, where certain lesbian feminist writers began to, …challenge and oppose any feminists who seek to legitimate those sexual practices and preferences which are detrimental to all women. Jane Egerton informs the heterosexual feminist that they do not always know what is best for them, and that heterosexuality and feminism do not go hand in hand, we have merely, …internalised male sexual values to the extent where we ‘enjoy’ and gain pleasure from being humiliated. Indeed, this idea is

picked up on by Bell Hooks, who is critical of the way that many lesbian feminists believe that, …the woman who is emotionally and sexually committed to an individual man is necessarily incapable of loyal woman-identified political commitment. It can be seen, then that to many feminists, in particular Kitzinger and Wilkinson, the heterosexual woman is not suitable to be called a feminist, The qualifier ‘heterosexual’ is, at best, an embarrassing adjunct to ‘feminist’; at worst, it seems a contradiction in terms. It has been suggested that these feminists show more signs of man-hating than of rational theoretical belief, and indeed, most of such theorists are very disparaging about men. Sheila Jeffreys suggests that the majority of men are incapable of “political