Hollibaugh's essays deal with so many things I always wanted to bring up in my women's and queer studies classes. She talks about actual people having...moreHollibaugh's essays deal with so many things I always wanted to bring up in my women's and queer studies classes. She talks about actual people having actual sex! Crazy! The essays and conversations in this collection touch on desire, class, sex work, monogamy and sexual jealousy, children's sexuality, the importance of reproductive freedom to the queer liberation movement and the importance of queer liberation to feminism, lesbianism and AIDS, race, drag queens, power in sex... oh, so many crucial, interesting questions and observations, presented in a clear and personal way. Hollibaugh's got activist credentials out the wazoo, but she never comes across as preachy. And as a woman who dated woman and is now dating a dude, I really relate to her struggle with her high femme desires and identity, is that weird? Oh, and this book also has two things that mean I will automatically love it: photo inserts and Gayle Rubin. "My Dangerous Desires" was just what I needed to inspire me to read and write and THINK after a year of WGS withdrawal. (less)
I can't really disagree with a lot of the criticism leveled against this book. I find Baumgardner's thesis to be valuable and enlightening, but it is...moreI can't really disagree with a lot of the criticism leveled against this book. I find Baumgardner's thesis to be valuable and enlightening, but it is largely based on her own sexual and romantic experiences, which were largely dysfunctional, it seems: she seems to simultaneously give more weight to relationships with men while contending that women make better partners and much better lovers.
I was drawn to this book because my sexual history is, on paper, pretty similar to Baumgardner's, and, although I have not come to the same conclusions she has about those genders, this personal connection is what makes me love it. She says a lot of things that you really don't hear in the everyday public discourse on sexuality, which in my experience is just, "you are who you fuck now, therefore you either realize you're really a lesbian or that was just a phase and now you are a hasbian." This dilemma is why it makes sense that Baumgardner focuses on women--male bisexuality is lived very differently, and that book should be written by a bisexual man.
Baumgardner offers a lot of ways that bisexuality could be used politically, which is awesome. One argument here that really resonated with me is that bisexuality is useful precisely because many of us do tend to be "invisible" and thus can't claim to be oppressed in the same way (although there are bisexual butches out there, etc.). This is something I struggle with and often an excuse for me not coming out as bi-or-whatever, because I don't want to sound like I'm claiming a marginal status that I don't actually share. But I digress.
Hey, if you slept with Amy Ray, you'd write about it in every chapter, too. (less)
as a polemic about sexual ethics, this book is awesome (and self-consciously utopian and cheesy). it's also fairly good at the concrete how-tos: rathe...moreas a polemic about sexual ethics, this book is awesome (and self-consciously utopian and cheesy). it's also fairly good at the concrete how-tos: rather than just saying, "you should really communicate" (which, duh), Dossie & Catherine give you strategies for doing so which could be useful for poly people and monogamous people too. the part about fighting is especially practical, although I don't know if I will ever schedule a fight.
plus it's hilarious to read a book about dating written before OKCupid even existed.
of course, The Ethical Slut does feel like it caters to people who are fairly extroverted and socially out & about, and sometimes makes it seem like it's easy to find people who will want the same kind of relationship you do, and easy to start those conversations. I am willing to concede that if one does not find these things easy, it may have more to do with internalized scripts for dating & gender roles & social interaction in general and with shame & the culture's sex negativity than with inherent personality type, and D&C do address these issues, even if nobody can really tell you how to get over them. (less)
I enjoyed this book, but I wanted more memoir and less polemic. Yeah, yeah, humans aren't monogamous, marriage oppresses women, our preconceived notio...moreI enjoyed this book, but I wanted more memoir and less polemic. Yeah, yeah, humans aren't monogamous, marriage oppresses women, our preconceived notions of the relationship between sex and love are whack.... Jenny's the preacher, I'm the choir. But what about the sordid goings-on in her Stepfordesque planned community? And on a more sober note, more detail would flesh out the practical details of the arrangement, although we've got other books for that. For example, Block often makes oblique references to conflicts within her marriage and her other relationships, but often glosses over their genesis and resolution, like how one of the first time she brought a girl back to her hotel room on a business trip, the girl freaked out: why? and then she would also obliquely references threesomes she had with her friends, but didn't really explain. Fleshing this out would have explained more about how nonmonogamy works. But her project was more apologia than autobiography, which is fair.
On a nuts and bolts level, I was distracted/bothered by the proofreading issue other readers have mentioned. Plus the general style of the book, which was very women's magazine, was off-putting to me. (less)
Admittedly, I skimmed it, but this is one of the best works of literary criticism I've read all semester: lucid, original, theoretically grounded but...moreAdmittedly, I skimmed it, but this is one of the best works of literary criticism I've read all semester: lucid, original, theoretically grounded but sure of Linzie's own voice. American scholars should be ashamed that Swedes understand and elucidate our literature so much better than most of us do. Will be invaluable for the paper I'm writing on The Book of Salt by Monique Truong. (less)
I'm always down for experimental literary criticism, especially when it involves love letters and someone trying to make sense of Djuna Barnes. A++ wo...moreI'm always down for experimental literary criticism, especially when it involves love letters and someone trying to make sense of Djuna Barnes. A++ would read again. (less)
the more I think & write about this book, the more I realize how rad/ical it is. Gopinath breaks down the distinction between home and diaspora, p...morethe more I think & write about this book, the more I realize how rad/ical it is. Gopinath breaks down the distinction between home and diaspora, private, public and counterpublic, finding "impossible desires" & their queer expressions within the home nation (for her purposes, usually India). she places female subjectivity, desire and pleasure at the center of her inquiry, focusing on how hyperbolic femininity in Bollywood films encodes femme homoeroticism, challenging the closet paradigm with its rhetoric of visibility as the only way to enact queerness/queer critique. I am really not doing justice to the fascinating, iconoclastic cultural criticism and theorizing Gopinath does here. my only real quibble is that I think more focus on the everyday use of these cultural productions and performances, on the public/audience side of the equation, would strengthen her arguments considerably. (less)