RE-MAKING LOVE: The Feminization of Sex by Barbara; Elizabeth Hess & Gloria Jacobs Ehrenreich

RE-MAKING LOVE: The Feminization of Sex

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The sexual revolution"" conjures up an image of Hugh Hefner rather than Shere Hite, according to the authors. And this isn't the first time men have taken credit for a female innovation. Re-Making Love is an attempt at setting the record straight while reflecting upon where this revolution has taken women and where it will lead. From the clinical sex manuals of the 1950's to Helen Gurley Brown's Sex and the Single Girl and The Joy of Sex, the authors offer an intelligent chronicle of women's sexual repressions, struggles and triumphs. Ironically, the authors cite Brown--""a woman whom many feminists would be loath to claim as one of their own""--as the first spokeswoman for the revolution. They even go so far aa to claim Brown's book was more radical than Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, published the same year, 1962. While Friedan proposed a ""new life plan for women,"" which included both motherhood and career, Brown went further: ""With revolutionary simplicity, Brown explained that the number one reason for a single woman to start an affair was because 'her body wants to.'"" Even in Brown's ""gushy guide to self-improvement,"" she was the first to assert: ""You may marry or you may not."" While the authors celebrate the sexual independence women have achieved, they also acknowledge the ambivalence and anxiety that comes with it. ""If sex is 'free,' then so, potentially, are men; and women are left to fend for themselves in an economy that still drastically undervalues women's labor."" This book is a call to feminists to link women's liberation with sexual liberation: ""Just as you cannot have sexual liberation without social equality for women, you cannot have equality in every other domain and an unacknowledged ritual of male domination in the bedroom."" While not offering any specific insights on what to do, this theoretical work will certainly help rectify the image of Hefner as the sexual revolution's generalissimo.

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 1986
ISBN: 0385184999
Publisher: Anchor Press/Doubleday