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Heterosexuality: A Feminism & Psychology Reader

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0803988231
ISBN-10: 0803988230
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Editorial Reviews


`Both psychology and, for the most part, feminist theory, have tended to assume heterosexuality as "a given". Heterosexuality needs to become a "serious target for analysis and political action", because, quoting Adrienne Rich, heterosexuality is `a political institution which disempowers women'. These arguments provide the explicit and powerful rationale for focusing an entire issue on the attempt to theorise heterosexuality... this volume graphically recognises and registers the need to address heterosexuality as a political institution which oppresses women. In doing so, it represents an opportunity to address the continuing difficulties of understanding and criticising heterosexuality over and beyond our sexual and domestic arrangements' - Trouble and Strife

`A unique and exciting reader... Wilkinson and Kitzinger, as lesbian feminist psychologists, are in an interesting position from which to view heterosexuality. From the vantage point of "the other" they are able to disentangle the experiences of heterosexual feminists from what is the, until now, unexamined normative existence of the `Generic Women'... an important addition to feminist scholarship about women's sexuality. Within an historical context where early books on oppressed groups were written by members of dominant groups, we find it refreshing to see two lesbian feminists taking the lead with heterosexuality and feminism and recruiting heterosexuals to bring "unexamined heterocentricity" into the light' - Contemporary Psychology

`A bold and innovative collection of essays that deposes heterosexuality from its dominant, assumed status and treats it as a problematic category in need of examination and explanation... It is a book that challenges the reader to examine their beliefs and assumptions, as well as to think critically about a typically assumed and therefore silent identity. Heterosexuality has spawned a plethora of questions in my mind and left me with an insatiable appetite to know more. Perhaps this, better than anything, is a successful measure of the provocative and innovative nature of this project' - Archives of Sexual Behavior

`a marvelous blend of autobiography and theory, the story and the story unravelled - the readers, like the authors, will confront the taken-for-granted and grow from the experience' - Barbara Katz Rothman, City University of New York and author of Recreating Motherhood

`This innovative and challenging volume makes a new space for exploring heterosexuality. We learn how heterosexuality is more than sex and how it permeates, or constrains, our intellectual as well as our personal and political practice' - Jill Morawski, Wesleyan University

`One of the book's great strengths is that it comes from women's own understanding of their lives and their sexuality... All are strong, articulate women who enhance our awareness of our own feelings and experiences' - Maggie Humm, University of East London and Co-Chair of British Women's Studies Association

`a brave project. The material is very rich. Heterosexuality and heterosexism are highlighted from many angles cross-cutting racial, ethnic and class boundaries. Many women will love to read this. It confronts heterosexual women with the implications of an identity they otherwise take for granted' - Philomena Essed, University of Amsterdam

`a provocative, infuriating, inspiring and challenging set of essays and revelations! I heartily commend this volume to anyone who is interested in the remarkable range of human sexualities, and in confounding the dualisms of gender and the dualisms of sexuality that plague and divide us ' - Carol Tavris, author of The Mismeasure of Woman

`An exciting exploration of the `choice' of heterosexuality and its implications for women's lives and feminist politics - developing theory at the cutting edge' - Shere Hite, author of The Hite Reports


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd (April 14, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803988230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803988231
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,888,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Heterosexuality is a male system similar to imperialism: it objectifies, controls, and exploits the less powerful as in women and in nations. It includes sexual orientation to a degree, but it is perhaps the most hegemonic institution of male supremacy with marriage, prostitution, rape, pornography, domestic violence constituting a few of its coercive forces.

To a greater or lesser degree all women are locked into heterosexuality. Political lesbians undoubtedly live the furthest from its center, and thus serve as a model for all women who protest its existence. Adrienne Rich wrote that such women are part of the continuum of lesbianism. But this may not mean that even radical lesbians are more “advanced” than “heterosexual” women who are consciously and consistently (along with their male counterpart) opposed to heterosexuality as an institution.

In any case, to approach the subject of heterosexuality directly and in depth seems almost verboten--as is evident in many of the contributions of heterosexual feminists to the first section of “Heterosexuality” (Kitzinger/Wilkerson) many of which seemed more coaxed than voluntary, and often suggest avoidance, defensiveness, and disinterest. In fact, the politics of heterosexuality, which the editors very effectively introduce to the readers and by assumption to the volume’s participants, seemed to be skirted by appeals to the psychological, to the strictly personal and private, or to some other change in focus.
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