Books

Gender Hurts

Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism

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In the 1990s, a political movement of transgender activism coalesced to campaign for transgender rights. Considerable social, political and legal changes are occurring in response and there is increasing acceptance by governments and many other organisations and actors of the legitimacy of these rights.  This provocative and controversial book explores the consequences of these changes and offers a feminist perspective on the ideology and practice of transgenderism, which the author sees as harmful. It explores the effects of transgenderism on the lesbian and gay community, the partners of transgenders, children who are identified as transgender and transgenders themselves and argues these are negative. In doing so the book contends that the phenomenon is based upon sex stereotyping, referred to as ‘gender’ – a conservative ideology that forms the foundation for women’s subordination. Gender Hurts argues for the abolition of ‘gender’, which would remove the rationale for transgenderism.

 

Man’s Dominion: The Rise of Religion and the Eclipse of Women’s RightsMan's Dominion

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Man’s Dominion is an incisive and polemic text that will be of interest to students of gender studies, religion, and politics.  Focusing on the three monotheistic religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam, this book examines common anti-women attitudes such as ‘male-headship’, impurity of women, the need to control women’s bodies, and their modern manifestations in multicultural Western states. It points to the incorporation of religious law into legal systems, faith schools, and campaigns led by Christian and Islamic organisations against women’s rights at the U.N., and explains how religious rights threaten to subvert women’s rights. Including highly-topical chapters on the burka and the covering of women, and polygamy, this text questions the ideology of multiculturalism which shields religion from criticism by demanding respect for culture and faith, whilst ignoring the harm that women suffer from religion.

 

 

The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex TradeThe Industrial Vagina

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The industrialization of prostitution and the sex trade has created a multibillion-dollar global market, involving millions of women, that makes a substantial contribution to national and global economies.   The Industrial Vagina examines how prostitution and other aspects of the sex industry have moved from being small-scale, clandestine, and socially despised practices to become very profitable legitimate market sectors that are being legalised and decriminalised by governments.  She argues that through these practices women’s subordination has been outsourced and that states that legalise this industry are acting as pimps, enabling male buyers in countries in which women’s equality threatens male dominance, to buy access to the bodies of women from poor countries who are paid for their sexual subservience.  This major and provocative contribution is essential reading for all with an interest in feminist, gender and critical globalisation issues as well as students and scholars of international political economy.

 

Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices in the WestBeauty and Misogyny

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In the 1970s feminists criticized pervasive beauty regimes such as dieting and depilation, but some ‘new’ feminists argue that beauty practices are no longer oppressive now that women can ‘choose’ them. However, in the last two decades the brutality of western beauty practices seems to have become much more severe, requiring the breaking of skin, spilling of blood and rearrangement or amputation of body parts. Beauty and Misogyny seeks to make sense of why beauty practices are not only just as persistent, but in many ways more extreme. It examines the pervasive use of makeup, the misogyny of fashion and high-heeled shoes, and looks at the role of pornography in the creation of increasingly popular beauty practices such as breast implants, genital waxing and surgical alteration of the labia.  This essential work will appeal to students and teachers of feminist psychology, gender studies, cultural studies, and feminist sociology at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and to anyone with an interest in feminism, women and beauty, and women’s health.

 

Unpacking Queer Politics: A Lesbian Feminist PerspectiveUnpacking Queer Politics

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Unpacking Queer Politics argues that the strong lesbian feminist movement of the 1970s, which was able to articulate a philosophy and practice that distinguished lesbian politics from gay male politics, was submerged in the 1990s beneath a gay male agenda called queer politics.   The new politics repudiated lesbian feminist ideas and celebrated ‘manhood’ as a goal for gay men. Practices which construct this ‘manhood’, such as sadomasochism, cutting and piercing, female-to-male transsexual surgery, and which are promoted in queer politics, need to be understood as forms of self-harm which result from the oppression of lesbians and gay men. The political agenda of queer politics is damaging to the interests of lesbians, women in general, and to marginalized and vulnerable constituencies of gay men.   The book concludes by arguing that precisely the commitment to equality in relationships and sex that has been excoriated in much of queer theory, should form the basis of a social transformation.

 

The Idea of ProstitutionThe Idea of Prostitution

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In The Idea of Prostitution, Sheila Jeffreys explores these sharply contrasting views. She examines the changing concept of prostitution from White Slave Traffic of the nineteenth century to its present status as legal. The book includes discussion of the varieties of prostitution such as: the experience of male prostitutes; the uses of women in pornography; and the role of military brothels compared with slavery and rape in marriage.  Sheila Jeffreys explodes the distinction between “forced” and “free” prostitution, and documents the expanding international traffic in women. She examines the claims of the prostitutes’ rights movement and the sex industry, while supporting prostituted women. Her argument is threefold: the sex of prostitution is not just sex; the work of prostitution is not ordinary work; and prostitution is a ‘choice’ not for the prostituted women, but for the men who abuse them.

 

 

The Spinster and Her Enemies

The Spinster and Her Enemies

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Sheila Jeffreys examines the activities of feminist campaigners around such issues as child abuse and prostitution and how these campaigns shaped social purity in the 1880s and 1890s. She demonstrates how the thriving and militant feminism of late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was undermined, and asserts that the decline of this feminism was due largely to the promotion of a sexual ideology which was hostile to women’s independence. The circumstances about which she writes are frighteningly familiar in the present political climate.

 

 

 

 

The Lesbian Heresy

The Lesbian Heresy: A Feminist Perspective

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The backlash against feminism has been documented powerfully by Naomi Wolf and Susan Faludi: within the lesbian community too, there has been a parallel backlash. A lesbian sex industry is now making a profit from women’s oppression, teaching lesbians to turn the pain of abuse and subordination into ‘pleasure’ and calling it liberation. Feminist theorist Sheila Jeffreys challenges the patriarchal and racist assumptions of the sex industry. In The Lesbian Heresy she advocates the continued creation of lesbian culture, community, friendship and ethics based on principles of equality and resistance. And for this call to freedom, lesbian feminists are deemed heretics.

 

 

 

Anticlimax

Anticlimax: A Feminist Perspective On the Sexual Revolution

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The sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s is remembered as a time of great freedom for women. But did the sexual revolution have the same goals as the Women’s Liberation Movement? Was it truly liberation for women or just another insidious form of oppression?  In this provocative book, Sheila Jeffreys argues that sexual freedom sometimes directly opposed actual freedom for women. Anticlimax traces sexual mores and attitudes from the 1950s to the 1990s, exploring the nature of both straight and gay relationships and offering original and compelling commentary on LolitaNaked Lunch, The Joy of Sex, the Masters/Johnson report, and other representations in the literature on sexuality.  At the root of sexual liberation, Sheila Jeffreys finds an increasing eroticisation of power differences within heterosexual, lesbian and gay communities. Her alternative vision of sexual relations based on equality is a major statement in the debates over sex and violence, that remain relevant in discussions over SlutWalk, sexualisation of girls and the pervasiveness of porn culture.

 

The Sexuality Debates

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First published in 1987. From the 1870′s to the 1920′s, feminists actively campaigned against men’s sexual abuse of women. This collection brings together the major articles which fuelled the feminist campaigns and helped to bring about significant reforms.