Appropriating Women's Bodies: The Form and Function of Men's Sexual Intimidation of Women

Linda LeMoncheck

in Loose Women, Lecherous Men

Published in print December 1997 | ISBN: 9780195105568
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852949 | DOI:
Appropriating Women's Bodies: The Form and Function of Men's Sexual Intimidation of Women

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One of the ways that individual women are punished for defying patriarchal models of feminine sexuality is by being denigrated to the status of “loose woman.” Moreover, so-called good girls acquire and maintain their good-girl status by acquiescing to the sexual intimidation of men—if not by appearing to submit to men's sexual persistence, then by actually relenting to ultimately coercive sexual advances. From this perspective, men's sexual harassment, rape, battery, and sexual abuse of women and girls are the visible exemplars of men's attempts to insure that women stay well within the boundaries of male-identified conceptions of women's “proper place.” This chapter analyzes women's sexual intimidation under patriarchy from the “view from somewhere different,” a perspective that provides a viable context and legitimacy for the diversity of voices within feminist debates over women's sexuality. This perspective requires that we recognize not only the ways in which gender politicizes sexuality under conditions of male dominance but also the ways in which sexuality informs gender with liberating strategies for women's (and men's) sexual pleasure, agency, and self-definition.

Keywords: women; sexual intimidation; sexuality; gender; sexual pleasure; sexual harassment; sexual abuse; patriarchy

Chapter.  35419 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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