Distinguished psychoanalyst and author Louise Kaplan scrutinizes the world of sexual perversions and exposes the misconceptions behind them in her masterful study, Female Perversions
. Her effort earned the book a nomination for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Kaplan's general thesis is that perversions are as much a function of gender role identity as they are of sexuality. Her thesis also maintains that the predominantly male medical profession has created and perpetuated many of the myths of perverse female sexual behavior. The book outlines various types of perverse behavior--fetishism, voyeurism, exhibitionism--and then analyzes each type outside of society's traditional perspective. As she expounds on her theory, Kaplan invokes Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary
. She sees many parallels between the plight of Emma Bovary and the perception of female perversions in society today. Kaplan writes lucidly, offering an enlightening insight into the provocative and complex issue of female erotic expression to a range of readers.
From Publishers Weekly
Foot fetishist Gustave Flaubert preferred his mistress's slippers to her body. For the heroine of Madame Bovary , the sexually thwarted novelist created an adulterous provincial housewife who seems as burdened by gender conventions as Flaubert himself. Kaplan sees Emma Bovary as a woman enslaved by social stereotypes, her successive love relationships a series of dominance/submission games. A psychoanalyst and co-editor of the journal American Imago , the author of this hefty tome uses Flaubert's novel, the love lives of George Sand and Edith Wharton, and numerous clinical case studies to illustrate her thesis that perversions (sadomasochism, fetishism, cross-dressing, voyeurism, kleptomania, etc.) are gender-identity disorders. In Kaplan's view, women's perversions parody feminine gender ideals of innocence and submission, while men's perversions express forbidden and shameful feminine impulses. This masterful study breaks new ground in our understanding of sexuality, gender roles and the way modern society trivializes erotic expression.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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