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This book will no doubt endure as a chronicle of and commentary on the social context of sexuality. (Verta Taylor, professor and chair of sociology, University of California at Santa Barbara Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society)
So I am reading along, ho hum, waiting for this rather dry textbook like approach to the topic to pick up steam, when I come to this sentence on page 26: "Humans do not generally desire cows or horses (with, perhaps, the exception of Catherine the Great, the Russian czarina who purportedly came to her demise while copulating with a stallion)."
Well, thank you, Pepper and Virginia, for bringing to my attention "one of the most virulent myths in modern history" as a quick Google search soon revealed. Given that this book was published in 1998, perhaps in the days before a quick Google search could cover most sins of the lazy fact checker, perhaps we could relegate this single sentence to the dustbin of innocent/ignorant mistakes.
Yet this repetition of a classic technique to undermine the position of a strong woman via obscene sexual slander appears within a series of texts designed to highlight the work of "feminist sociologists", and in a particular text written by two women, one a professor of Sociology at the University of Washington, in what was no doubt thought at the time to be a cutting edge look at the gender of sexuality.
I remain doubtful this text is worth reading beyond page 26.
I guess I can thank Dan Savage, who must filter the projected fantasies and women-hating tendencies of the those who pen letters he receives in his capacity as sex advice columnist for honing my cynicism on this one. Next time someone tells you about the degrading sex a woman they know enjoys... think twice, like the alert third wave feminists I am sure we have all become.
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