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Heterosexuality
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Heterosexuality
A Feminism & Psychology Reader

Edited by:

May 1993 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"Heterosexuality is 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." --Angela M. L. Pattatucci in Archives of Sexual Behavior What is heterosexuality and why is it so common? What is the nature of heterosexual sex? How does heterosexual activity affect a woman's life? Her relationships with other women? Her political beliefs? Heterosexuality is generally taken for granted, seldom explicitly addressed. In this group of articles, leading feminists, psychologists, and activists explore the personal and the political implications of their own heterosexuality as an institution. They consider the extent to which feminism and heterosexuality are compatible and the complex interrelationships among sexual behavior, categories, and identities. Acknowledging the interactions between heterosexism and other oppressions, they point to the contradictions between heterosexual desire and heterosexual coercion, and between heterosexual privilege and women's traditional roles within the family. Both academics and students in psychology, women's studies, gender studies, human sexuality, and sociology will find this volume a fascinating and valuable resource. "This book is 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

Abridged ContentsPauline B Bart
Protean Woman
The Liquidity of Female Sexuality and the Tenaciousness of Lesbian Identity

 
Sandra Lee Bartky
Hypatia Unbound
A Confession

 
Sandra Lipsitz Bem
On the Inadequacy of Our Sexual Categories
A Personal Perspective

 
Mary Boyle
Sexual Dysfunction or Heterosexual Dysfunction?
Loulou Brown
Heterosexual Celibacy
Allan Hunter
Same Door, Different Closet
A Heterosexual Sissy's Coming-Out Party

 
Carol Nagy Jacklin
How My Heterosexuality Affects My Feminist Politics
Kadiatu Kanneh
Sisters Under the Skin
A Politics of Heterosexuality

 
Susie Orbach
Heterosexuality and Parenting
Cindy Patton
`Safe by Nature'
Reconstructing Heterosexual Identity Under the Sign of AIDS

 
Julia Penelope
Heterosexual Identity
Out of the Closets

 
Caroline Ramazanoglu
Love and the Politics of Heterosexuality
Robyn Rowland
Radical Feminist Heterosexuality
The Personal and the Political

 
Janet Sayers
Retelling Myself
S P Schacht and P H Atchison
Heterosexual Instrumentalism
Past and Future Directions

 
Nira Yuval-Davis
The (Dis)Comfort of Being `Hetero'
FULL CONTENTS
EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION
Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson
Theorising Heterosexuality
 
SPECIAL FEATURE
HETEROSEXUAL FEMINIST IDENTITIES

 
THE PERSONAL AND THE POLITICAL

 
Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson
Editors' Introduction
Carol Nagy Jacklin
How My Heterosexuality Affects My Feminist Politics
Alison Young
The Authority of the Name
Halla Beloff
On Being Ordinary
Sandra Lee Bartky
Hypatia Unbound
A Confession

 
Mary Crawford
Identity, `Passing' and Subversion
Kadiatu G Kanneh
Sisters Under the Skin
A Politics of Heterosexuality

 
Susie Orbach
Heterosexuality and Parenting
Sandra Lipsitz Bem
On the Inadequacy of our Sexual Categories
A Personal Perspective

 
Nira Yuval-Davis
The (Dis)Comfort of Being `Hetero'
Sheila Kitzinger
Heterosexuality
Challenge and Opportunity

 
Hilary Lips and Susan Alexandra Freedman
Heterosexual Feminist Identities
Private Boundaries and Shifting Centers

 
Caroline Ramazanoglu
Love and the Politics of Heterosexuality
Mary Gergen
Unbundling Our Binaries - Genders, Sexualities, Desires
Shulamit Reinharz
How My Heterosexuality Contributes to My Feminism and Vice Versa
Rosalind Gill and Rebecca Walker
Heterosexuality, Feminism, Contradiction
On Being Young, White, Heterosexual Feminists in the 1990s

 
Janet Sayers
Retelling Myself
Robyn Rowland
Radical Feminist Heterosexuality
The Personal and the Political

 
Victoria Robinson
Heterosexuality
Beginnings and Connections

 
Alison Thomas
he Heterosexual Feminist
A Paradoxical Identity?

 
Elizabeth Mapstone
Against Separatism
Loulou Brown
Heterosexual Celibacy
 
ARTICLES
Nicola Gavey
Technologies and Effects of Heterosexual Coercion
S P Schacht and Patricia H Atchison
Heterosexual Instrumentalism
Past and Future Directions

 
Patricia Duncker
Heterosexuality
Fictional Agendas

 
Allan Hunter
Same Door, Different Closet
A Heterosexual Sissy's Coming-Out Party

 
Denise Thompson
Against the Dividing of Women
Lesbian Feminism and Heterosexuality

 
Jackie Gilfoyle, Jonathan Wilson and Brown
Sex, Organs and Audiotape
A Discourse Analytic Approach to Talking About Heterosexual Sex and Relationships

 
Mary Boyle
Sexual Dysfunction or Heterosexual Dysfunction?
Jenny Kitzinger
Sexual Violence and Compulsory Heterosexuality
 
OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTARIES
Christine Griffin
Fear of a Black (and Working Class) Planet
Young Women and the Racialisation of Reproductive Politics

 
Rose Croghan
Sleeping with the Enemy
Mothers in Heterosexual Relationships

 
Pauline B Bart
Protean Woman
The Liquidity of Female Sexuality and the Tenaciousness of Lesbian Identity

 
Doris DeHardt
Feminist Therapy with Heterosexual Couples
The Ultimate Issue is Domination

 
Cindy Patton
`Safe by Nature'
Reconstructing Heterosexual Identity Under the Sign of AIDS

 
Julia Penelope
Heterosexual Identity
Out of the Closets

 
Yvon Appleby
Disability and `Compulsory Heterosexuality'
Helen (charles)
A Homogeneous Habit
Heterosexual Display in the English Holiday Camp

 
Tamsin Wilton
Sisterhood in the Service of Patriarchy
Heterosexual Women's Friendships and Male Power

 

`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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