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By Denise Thompson

A serious research of feminist writings on sexuality from a thorough feminist and lesbian feminist point of view. A must-read for any severe feminist philosopher.

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Additional resources for Reading between the Lines: A Lesbian Feminist Critique of Feminist Accounts of Sexuality

Example text

But ‘cross-cultural comparisons’ have serious problems. To the extent that they emphasise differences, they set up a ‘them and us’ dichotomy. While it is true that arrangements for the ordering of human existence are many and various, even within the same culture, that fact alone is at best irrelevant to the experiential reality of the ways those arrangements are lived. At worst, comparisons distort and trivialise those arrangements, patronise them as quaint oddities. Because they are so different from and other than ‘our own’, they do not seem real.

READING BETWEEN THE LINES 21 She also argues that the ‘core gender identity’ of masculinity, the subjecthood of male supremacy, is more conflictful and problematic than that of femininity, because the male must divest himself so completely of his original identification with his first lover and caretaker, his mother. She says that both sexes need to separate from the mother if they are to develop a sense of autonomous selfhood, but males must develop a complete repudiation of all things feminine/female.

Logically, acceptance of the theory implies that all feminists should be lesbians, or, at the very least, abandon heterosexuality. That has indeed been argued by the early radical feminists and lesbian feminists, and more recently by Sheila Jeffreys (Jeffreys, 1990), the British revolutionary feminists (Only women Press, 1981), and lesbian separatists in general. Once lesbianism became an alternative for women, heterosexuality ceased to be one in any way that could be justified in feminist terms.

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