W S 203 Chapter Intro: Notes for Sex and Sensibility Introduction

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Iowa State University
Women's Studies
W S 203
Alissa Kristine Stoehr

Notes for Sex and Sensibility-pp. 1-22 (Introduction) • Compulsory heterosexuality-default sexual orientation; heterosexuality can be adopted by people regardless of their personal sexual preferences; heterosexuality is set forth by the dominant culture (patriarchal society); being a lesbian, you subvert the dominant culture; example-treating "lesbianism" as a mental disease • Is this definition problematic? Lesbian feminism-cultural movement and critical perspective, most influential in the 1970s and early 1980s, that encourages women to direct their energies toward other women rather than men, and often advocates lesbianism as the logical result of feminism Identity-conception, qualities, beliefs, and expressions that make a person or group different from others Daughters of Belitis-1 national lesbian organization (1955-1969) • Founded by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon • The Ladder-original journal of the Daughters of Belitis (1955-1995) Lesbian Connection-founded in 1974; longest continuously running lesbian magazine in existence today • Essentialism-view that for any specific entity/identity, there is a set of attributes which are necessary to its identity and function; sex is seen as a basic biological mandate that must be kept in check by society; belief that things have a set of characteristics and they are what they are; example-butch femme identity or "Born this way" ideology • Social constructionism-examines the development of jointly constructed understandings of the world; describes the intersections between lesbian and gay identity and experience and other social or cultural domains; society is created and constructed by people; example-any "ism" By the 1970s, lesbia
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