The history of sexuality Essay Example

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The History of Sexuality: Feminism and the Sex Wars

  1. On what basis did Campbell argue, in 1980, that it is heterosexual women who feel the biggest outcasts within feminism?

In this essay about feminism and ‘sex wars’ I discuss Campbell’s 1980 argument that it is heterosexual women who feel the biggest outcasts within feminism.

According to Campbell (1), there was dissatisfaction among celibate, lesbian and heterosexual women with regards to women’s liberation movement of 1980 but the greatest outcast feeling was experienced by the heterosexual women. Campbell (1) feels that the movement was not legitimately concerned with heterosexual women as part of the feminist movement because heterosexual women interacted more with men; the masculine overbearing sexuality that the movement was attempting to fight (Vance 443). After all, the women’s liberation movement had initially resulted from small, awareness-creating groups of women that wanted to organise ideas about their sexual practices together exclusive of men. Heterosexual women were therefore “sleeping with the enemy” (Campbell 3).

Also the women liberation movement was constructed on the basis of letting women engage in sex beyond the reproduction purpose, and avoid dangerous sex (Rich 10). Heterosexual women were likely to form marital relationships with men whose aim were to procreate, or had little choice on birth control, thus digressing from the movement’s goal (Campbell 5). In addition, heterosexual relationships resulted to improper interpretation of women’s sexual issues. Whereas the movement wanted recognition of better, satisfying sex for women, heterosexual women remained in relationships in which men would refer to them as frigid or cold when they fail to enjoy the sex (Campbell 4). Thus, sexual satisfaction or achieving orgasm for women depends on the involvement of both men and women, unless the women’s liberation movement was only targeting lesbians (Campbell 16).

In summary, the heterosexual women felt as the biggest outcasts in the women liberation movement. This is because feminism targeted ways for women to have better sex without considering the importance of the role of men in heterosexual relations.

Works Cited

Campbell, Beatrix. ‘A Feminist Sexual Politics: Now you see it, Now you don’t’. Feminist Review, 5 (1980):1-18.

Rich, Adrienne, C. ‘Reflections on ‘Compulsory Heterosexuality’. Journal of Women’s History, 16.1 (2004): 9-11

Vance, Carole S. ‘Negotiating Sex and Gender in the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography.’ The gender/sexuality reader: Culture, history, political economy, ed. Roger N. Lancaster, Routledge: New York (1997): 440-452.