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Unpacking Queer Politics: A Lesbian Feminist Perspective

ISBN: 978-0-7456-2838-7
184 pages
March 2003, Polity
Unpacking Queer Politics: A Lesbian Feminist Perspective (0745628389) cover image
Unpacking Queer Politics argues that the strong lesbian feminist movement of the 1970s, which was able to articulate a philosophy and practice that distinguished lesbian politics from gay male politics, was submerged in the 1990s beneath a gay male agenda called queer politics.


The new politics repudiated lesbian feminist ideas and celebrated ‘manhood’ as a goal for gay men. Practices which construct this ‘manhood’, such as sadomasochism, cutting and piercing, female-to-male transsexual surgery, and which are promoted in queer politics, need to be understood as forms of self-harm which result from the oppression of lesbians and gay men. The political agenda of queer politics is damaging to the interests of lesbians, women in general, and to marginalized and vulnerable constituencies of gay men.

The book concludes by arguing that precisely the commitment to equality in relationships and sex that has been so important to lesbian feminists, and so excoriated in much of queer theory, should form the basis of a social transformation. In this way lesbians should be seen as the vanguard of social change.

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Acknowledgements.

Introduction.

Chapter 1: Gay Liberation and Lesbian Feminism.

Chapter 2: Queer theory and Politics and the Lesbian Feminist Critique.

Chapter 3: Public Sex and the creation of a queer sex agenda.

Chapter 4: Gay Male Pornography.

Chapter 5: Self-Harm or Social Change? Sadomasochism, cutting and piercing in lesbian and gay culture.

Chapter 6: FTM Transsexualism and the Destruction of Lesbians.

Chapter 7: Lesbian feminism and Social Transformation.

References.

Index
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Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Melbourne
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Written by Sheila Jeffreys, author and activitist in the field of lesbian and feminist politics for over 25 years.

Jeffreys argues that when queer politics developed in the 1990s the interests of lesbians were submerged beneath a gay male agenda called queer politics.

Suggests that practices which construct this agenda, such as sadomasochism, cutting and piercing or female-to-male transsexual surgery need to be understood as forms of self-harm which result from the oppression of lesbians and gay men.

Concludes that only the egalitarian principles of lesbian feminism can form the basis of a necessary social transformation.

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'An incisive and challenging critique of queer politics, with the radical clarity of vision characteristic of Jeffreys' work. It should be required reading on all Sexuality and Gender courses.' -- Professor Celia Kitzinger, Department of Sociology, University of York
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