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Flirting with Danger: Young Women's Reflections on Sexuality and Domination (Qualitative Studies in Psychology) Paperback – November 1, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0814766583 ISBN-10: 0814766587

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Product Details

  • Series: Qualitative Studies in Psychology
  • Paperback: 253 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (November 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814766587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814766583
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #787,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Shows how far feminist theory has come and how far it has yet to go. . . . Avoiding simplistic dichotomies, Phillips eloquently negotiates the tricky terrain between female pleasure and male accountability. A brilliant demonstration of how social constructionist theory can serve as a framework for social activism."

-Rhoda Unger,Montclair State University

"Flirting with Danger is well worth the read and is likely to stimulate lively discussion in the classroom. Phillips has a good ear for narrative and a keen sense of the uncertainties and competing forces that shape heterosexual relationships for contemporary young women."

-Psychology of Women Quarterly,Vol. 26

"Based on narrated experiences of thirty young women, Lynn Phillips takes us up close to their sexual encounters as they ‘flirt with danger,' naming abuse, patriarchy, and female victimization only when they discuss other women, never themselves, although many of those interviewed have been raped and/or in otherwise abusive situations with men. The educative possibilities in Phillips' work are stunning—all those interested in working toward a world in which men and women interact in healthy ways, both sexually and otherwise, must read this book."


"The first book to take seriously teenagers' sexual agency and desire in an era where sex has become synonymous with sexual victimization, and fear and anger have clouded over the possibility of delight and sensuality. Phillips leads the way among bright new theorists who work with Latina, African-American, and white voices together to bring to the fields of psychology and gender studies a fresh analysis that preserves the complexity of their hopes and realities surrounding sex."

-Sharon Lamb,author of the New Versions of Victims: Feminists Struggle with the Concept

"A fascinating study of the ways young women of diverse backgrounds interpret heterosexual relations. Phillips, a feminist psychologist committed to research that reveals and resists domination, grapples here with the surprising paradoxes and contradictions expressed in young women's fears, fantasies, beliefs, and desires. Based on careful research and clear analytic argument, Flirting with Danger is a remarkably wise, compassionate, and useful book."

-Sara Ruddick,author of Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace

About the Author

Lynn M. Phillips is the author of The Girls Report: What We Know and Need to Know about Growing Up Female, commissioned by the National Council for Research on Women, and Planned Parenthood's Unequal Partners: Exploring Power and Consent in Adult-Teen Relationships. She teaches media and gender studies in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Hugo Schwyzer on March 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Lynn Phillips has written a marvelously important book! One of the most salient reasons why my young women students reject the label "feminist" is because they associate it with victimhood. The desire to not be a victim, but to be a powerful agent, is enormously strong among all of us -- but it is particularly pointed among today's college-age women.
Phillips bases her book on a series of interviews with an ethnically, culturally, economically and sexually diverse group of female college students. Her book provides extended quotations from these young women on the subject of sexuality, desire, and victimhood. The overriding point is that these young women are forced to embrace some profound contradictions: to be both "good girls" (demure, pleasing to men and/or families) and "together women" (in control of their own sexualities, autonomous, and definitely NOT victims).
These young women often report longing for emotional intimacy, physical pleasure, and connection -- but the sexual encounters they recount rarely provided that for which they were searching. Despite living in an age of liberation, a generation removed from the 1960s, these young women, according to Phillips, are profoundly ambivalent about their sexual freedom. The ambivalence is rooted in a couple of areas: first, a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" mentality; they are convinced that no matter what sexual choices they make, they will disappoint someone. Secondly, Phillips notes that these young women often report with pride their "mastery of the male body". But most are aware that there is a colossal distinction between developing a skill set that enables them to "soothe" men sexually, and actually enjoying sex with these young men for its own sake.
A sure-fire discussion starter, this book is excellent for use in gender studies or sexuality courses.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Colin Grover on December 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
I tend neither to write Amazon reviews nor respond to them, but Siddique's afore posted review is itself 'damaging.' The purpose of the book is not self-help, or to give readers a warm fuzzy feeling- it is but a glimpse into these women's realities.

The author does not project *any* blame onto the interviewees. She states explicitly in the second chapter (by means of her discourses) that it is society that puts the onus of victimization on the women. The women are, Phillips argues, trapped in an inescapable cultural system and are socialized to take the blame onto themselves, though in truth are merely products of an unequal environment.

If you want a light at the end of a tunnel, there are many books written with the intention of that final "feel-good" release of dramatic tension. No, this book doesn't have a clean, fix-all solution for the women in this book. What it does have is candid insight into what is a horrifying, silenced reality for many, many, many women in modern society.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this book to see if it would be appropriate for my Sociology of Gender course. I immediately ordered it. The book is readable (actually, it is more than that, it is masterfully written in clear and powerful language); it is fascinating (including accounts of young women's sexual subjectivities); it is conceptually and theoretically sophisticated and groundbreaking (without being jargony or heavy handed). I am impressed with how it demonstrates the importance of empirical research in illuminating issues confronting feminists. Finally, the author confronts the signficance of the empirical findings (in particcular, that young women's sexual subjectivites reflect the ambiguities, complexities and contradictions of our cultural discourses)for feminist projects of empowering women. She acknowledges the dangers in revealing the messy phenomenology of sex in a world in which both conservative and feminists deal in clear dichotomies of coercion/consent, etc. I eagerly anticipate teaching from this book because it embodies the best in both feminist politics and social science, without compromising either.
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By EM on May 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has so many complex concepts but the language is so simple and self-explanatory that one can follow.
It was definitely an eye opened on issues of power asymmetries and the struggles that women go through to make sense of the conflicting messages they get about femininity.
I definitely recommend this book to everyone.
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