• Tuesday, December 07, 2021

The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century : Book Review

The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century : Book Review
on Oct 05, 2021
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This is a set of well researched and articulated essays on feminism within the twenty-first century. Srinivasan sheds light on several topics including rape, abuse, pornography, sex and on the grey areas that are often overlooked. A highly thought-provoking and powerful read. . Reading Srinivasan write on desire is quite like reading someone write on wine when they’ve never had a glass. Instead they’ve minutely researched the history and sort of wine-making methods and sat right down to theorise - not knowing that craving and savour and drunkenness exist. So this book is strongly focuses on explaining how sexual desire is shaped by cultural and political forces, but weirdly doesn’t take into account how craving takes hold of the body, how it can overcome the rational person who’s been shaped.  The prose reads like it’s written by an interested app, and sometimes this hyper-rational approach draws out some good and timely insights, not surprising since the author is an analytic philosopher. Srinivasan assumes, fashionably, that sexual desire/preference is just about an issue of social construction - instead of being socially constructed to an outsized extent (there’s a difference). It’s a sort of gloomy error that pervades the whole book and leads to weird omissions and accidental comedy. I wonder how the author wants a person , for instance , to conjure his (usually involuntary) erections when faced with a body that doesn’t appeal to him, simply because he’s dutifully scrutinised the social-political forces that have influenced his preferences. Saying that, this is good philosophy. It just isn’t great non-fiction. The writing is obvious and cadenced but lacks variety and texture and an instinct for narrative.  

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