bell hooks on sexuality

Frances Bolton (PHI) fbolton at
Sat Dec 26 13:19:53 PST 1998

On Sat, 26 Dec 1998, Sam Pawlett wrote:

> This long quote comes from bell hooks_Feminist Theory_ SouthEnd
> 1984,p149ff. A very insightful book written before Ms. Hooks wandered
> off into the mists and bogs of the various post-isms.
> " However, this is not a culture that affirms real sexual freedom...The
> focus on "sexual liberation" has carried with it the assumption that the
> goal of such effort is to make it possible for individuals to engage in
> more and/or better sexual activity. Yet one aspect of sexual norms that
> many people find oppressive is the assumption that one "should" be
> engaged in sexual activity. This "should" is one expression of sexual
> coercion. (SNIP))

Sam, I'm curious as to why you were quoting this... In the early 70s there was a group of femisit theorists, all heterosexual, I believe, who argued that het women should be celibate because there was no way to have an equitable sexual relationship with a man. Hooks' point here is a pretty old one--Dana Densmore wrote a similar thing in the early 70s. Quote: "Sex is everywhere. It's forced down our throats. It's the great sop that keeps us in our place. The big lift that makes our dreary worlds interesting." I'm quoting her from Mary Daly's *Beyond God the Father*. THe paper, "Freedom from the Sexual Revolution" was published in *Notes from the Third Year: Women's Liberation* as well as *Radical Feminism*. Densmore worked for NASA in the mid sixties and was a part of Cell 16 or the Redstockings, not sure which--I think the former (bothwere early 70s radical feminist groups). She also opened the first woman-run martial arts studio in the US and wrote a brilliant book on Newton's *Principia*.

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