In this paper I want to discuss an issue which has generated a great deal of feminist discussion and some profound disagreement. The issue arises as follows. One of the most important targets of feminist action and critique has been male sexual violence and control of women, as expressed in rape and other forms of violent or aggressive sexual acts, and as represented in much pornography. Pornography itself has been the subject of major and sometimes bitter disagreements among feminists, especially (...) around the issue of censorship. But it is not that with which I am concerned here. The issue which I want to discuss involves the question of sexual desire and fantasy, and their apparent potential incompatibility with political and ethical principles. This is by no means, of course, an issue of exclusively feminist concern; but I shall focus on some recent feminist argument, since it is that with which I am most familiar. (shrink)
Comprising essays focusing on the representation of women's bodies in historical and contemporary cultures, this book compares the two different approaches to the body adopted by a soft-porn magazine, For Women, and Cosmopolitan.