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

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Thrilling, sharp, and deeply humane, philosopher Amia Srinivasan's The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century upends the way we discuss—or avoid discussing—the problems and politics of sex. How should we think about sex? It is a thing we have and also a thing we do; a supposedly private act laden with public meaning; a personal preference shaped by outside force Thrilling, sharp, and deeply humane, philosopher Amia Srinivasan's The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century upends the way we discuss—or avoid discussing—the problems and politics of sex. How should we think about sex? It is a thing we have and also a thing we do; a supposedly private act laden with public meaning; a personal preference shaped by outside forces; a place where pleasure and ethics can pull wildly apart. How should we talk about sex? Since #MeToo many have fixed on consent as the key framework for achieving sexual justice. Yet consent is a blunt tool. To grasp sex in all its complexity—its deep ambivalences, its relationship to gender, class, race and power—we need to move beyond yes and no, wanted and unwanted. We do not know the future of sex—but perhaps we could imagine it. Amia Srinivasan’s stunning debut helps us do just that. She traces the meaning of sex in our world, animated by the hope of a different world. She reaches back into an older feminist tradition that was unafraid to think of sex as a political phenomenon. She discusses a range of fraught relationships—between discrimination and preference, pornography and freedom, rape and racial injustice, punishment and accountability, students and teachers, pleasure and power, capitalism and liberation. The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century is a provocation and a promise, transforming many of our most urgent political debates and asking what it might mean to be free.


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Thrilling, sharp, and deeply humane, philosopher Amia Srinivasan's The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century upends the way we discuss—or avoid discussing—the problems and politics of sex. How should we think about sex? It is a thing we have and also a thing we do; a supposedly private act laden with public meaning; a personal preference shaped by outside force Thrilling, sharp, and deeply humane, philosopher Amia Srinivasan's The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century upends the way we discuss—or avoid discussing—the problems and politics of sex. How should we think about sex? It is a thing we have and also a thing we do; a supposedly private act laden with public meaning; a personal preference shaped by outside forces; a place where pleasure and ethics can pull wildly apart. How should we talk about sex? Since #MeToo many have fixed on consent as the key framework for achieving sexual justice. Yet consent is a blunt tool. To grasp sex in all its complexity—its deep ambivalences, its relationship to gender, class, race and power—we need to move beyond yes and no, wanted and unwanted. We do not know the future of sex—but perhaps we could imagine it. Amia Srinivasan’s stunning debut helps us do just that. She traces the meaning of sex in our world, animated by the hope of a different world. She reaches back into an older feminist tradition that was unafraid to think of sex as a political phenomenon. She discusses a range of fraught relationships—between discrimination and preference, pornography and freedom, rape and racial injustice, punishment and accountability, students and teachers, pleasure and power, capitalism and liberation. The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century is a provocation and a promise, transforming many of our most urgent political debates and asking what it might mean to be free.

30 review for The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    I admire Srinivasan greatly, but I have to say, this book wasn't particularly mind-blowing for me. I wonder if I was necessarily the target audience. Each essay offers a wonderful introduction to contemporary feminist issues regarding sex, including incel culture and student-teacher relationships. The issue is, as someone who had already been exposed to thorough commentary on each of these issues, I didn't find that the essays offered any new insight for me. I think that for someone who is new t I admire Srinivasan greatly, but I have to say, this book wasn't particularly mind-blowing for me. I wonder if I was necessarily the target audience. Each essay offers a wonderful introduction to contemporary feminist issues regarding sex, including incel culture and student-teacher relationships. The issue is, as someone who had already been exposed to thorough commentary on each of these issues, I didn't find that the essays offered any new insight for me. I think that for someone who is new to this field, this book would be a brilliant read. I, on the other hand, craved more detail, more of a firm stance on each issue. I obviously don't know Srinivasan personally, so I won't make any claims on her passion for the subjects she discusses – clearly, the time and dedication required to research and craft a book like this indicates some level of commitment. But at the same time, many of her essays lacked a sense of urgency, an indication of having personal stakes in each issue, which I believe make social commentary most powerful. Indeed, the essay I enjoyed most was 'On Not Sleeping with Your Students', a chapter where Srinivasan's own teaching experience and personal pedagogy showed through again and again. I thought that the other essays lacked this sense of personal involvement. Additionally, I was often frustrated by the lack of detail given in many parts of the text. Again, I think this goes back to my observation that I do not seem to be the target audience for this book – for someone just beginning to learn about these topics, too much information would be overwhelming. But since I already had a decent grasp on each of these topics, I question why Srinivasan is so hesitant to offer details into the potential solutions for them. For example, why is it that she only briefly mentions alternatives to carceralism that are already beginning to be implemented at the end of her essay 'Sex, Carceralism, Capitalism', on the penultimate page of the entire book? Why is it that more space is not given not only to recognising the issues of the present day, but to concrete paths to a better future? This is a response I have to many books on feminist issues, and maybe I am being too demanding of Srinivasan and authors like her. Or perhaps the issue is that this book is borne of academia, sensitive to but many levels detached from the very real material needs of the vulnerable people it discusses. And maybe there is a discomfort with that observation that I do not yet know how to articulate fully.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jiaqi

    "on not sleeping with your students" is for sure the strongest essay, and "sex, carceralism, capitalism" is the second strongest. i agree with some others that srinivasan's tone still feels too measured and respectful, even when it comes to people/ideas that she explicitly wants to condemn. the fact that catherine mackinnon is undoubtedly the most-cited thinker in this book but that srinivasan doesn't really go into/confront mackinnon's anti-sex worker stances feels like an intellectual failure "on not sleeping with your students" is for sure the strongest essay, and "sex, carceralism, capitalism" is the second strongest. i agree with some others that srinivasan's tone still feels too measured and respectful, even when it comes to people/ideas that she explicitly wants to condemn. the fact that catherine mackinnon is undoubtedly the most-cited thinker in this book but that srinivasan doesn't really go into/confront mackinnon's anti-sex worker stances feels like an intellectual failure when the entirety of this book is about considering/exploring, and then countering, ideas in feminism that srinivasan disagrees with. i also think that, as a UK-based cis feminist, she should have been more clear about who in her citations is trans-exclusionary (eg what is the point of simply name-dropping julie bindel -- whom srinivasan lists as an "anti-prostitution feminist" and leaves it at that?). overall, i felt that srinivasan spent a little too much time describing/summarising and a bit less time engaging in thorough critique - I would have loved to hear more of her very interesting ideas and point of view. for instance, in the porn essay, srinivasan perfunctorily mentions chinese yaoi (which is called danmei, actually) being "porn by women for women" yet completely fails to mention that the porn DEPICTS MEN, which you'd think would actually be very interesting to her arguments on the depiction of women in porn - if she didn't want to get into it, then why mention it in the first place? anyway, perhaps the smaller flaws/issues are an editorial fault rather than srinivasan's. i really enjoy and respect her work and i look forward to reading more from her

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Schulman

    By reviving long lost debates central to our contemporary self-concepts, and juxtaposing them with diasporic Asian feminisms, Amia Srinivasan reveals both the material opportunities and dead-ends of a century long conscious trajectory towards female empowerment. The Right to Sex reminds us of the foundational complexities to Women's Liberation ideas and why we are still grappling with them. This gathering of evidence invites readers to create new knowledge. By reviving long lost debates central to our contemporary self-concepts, and juxtaposing them with diasporic Asian feminisms, Amia Srinivasan reveals both the material opportunities and dead-ends of a century long conscious trajectory towards female empowerment. The Right to Sex reminds us of the foundational complexities to Women's Liberation ideas and why we are still grappling with them. This gathering of evidence invites readers to create new knowledge.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pe

    an uncommonly brilliant book, achieves the feat of being staunchly feminist without resorting to lazy dogma or moral hectoring

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sohum

    will have many words later, but Wow!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sharad Pandian

    Amia Srinivasan is clearly an excellent analytic philosopher, combining analytical prowess with clarity. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to mirror other reviews on this site and suggest that perhaps I wasn't the proper audience for the book: for all their sophistication, the essays' conclusions and complications will likely seem pretty unsuprising for someone plugged into events and discourse around gender in the last few years in the Anglo-American sphere. I share her basic political sympathie Amia Srinivasan is clearly an excellent analytic philosopher, combining analytical prowess with clarity. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to mirror other reviews on this site and suggest that perhaps I wasn't the proper audience for the book: for all their sophistication, the essays' conclusions and complications will likely seem pretty unsuprising for someone plugged into events and discourse around gender in the last few years in the Anglo-American sphere. I share her basic political sympathies: to be internationalist, socialist, and radical over affluent-centric, Anglo-American, and carceral, but maybe because of this agreement, I simply didn't get much out of it. Brief overview of the essays: The best essay for me was probably the mid-book Coda made out of 88-bullet points critically discussing the fallout and responses over her LRB essay (also reproduced), because the relatively unpolished style presents a fascinating view of a keen mind working in real time in the midst of fire from all sides. Talking to my Students about porn makes the fascinating case that the anti-porn feminists weren't wrong, just ahead of their time: their arguments seem prescient only now when porn has become ubiquitious, even authoritative. The Conspiracy Against Men starts with the startling "I know two men who were, I am fairly confident, falsely accused of rape", before going to more traditional points about how women being disbelieved is far more common. Sex, Carceralism, Capitalism wrestles with standard questions about how a careceral feminism might not be in the interests of all women. The weakest essay for me was probably On Not Sleeping With Your Students: she make the point that the usual targetting of female students by male teachers inhibits their pedagogical trajectory in a culture that already teaches men and women to interact with and interpret authority and aspiration differently. However, this seems a little too clean, an uncharacteristic unwillingness to recognize more disordered and unpredictable narratives about what the erotic and pedagogy consist in: her engagement with Jane Gallop, for example, deals superfically with Gallop's notion of "transference", leaving out her fascinating (if wildly utopian) arguments about how proper sexual harrassment has to be seen as a form of sex discrimination (otherwise it's just anti-sex), about the difficulty of assuming the intellect and sex are completely distinct and separate (especially for women's studies), about how she used sex to humanize people who intimidated her intellectually, and how there's a dialectic between feminists who stress women's vulnerability and those who stress liberation. Instead, Srinivasan assumes sex (reduced now to the act, instead of Gallop's more expansive eroticism) can only be only distraction from teaching, with instruction now transformed into a sombre professional, hierarchical activity with strict boundries that cannot admit transgressive play of any kind. Which is fine as policy defense, but in the midst of her other more expansive essays, falls somewhat limp and unsatisfying.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Georgie Malone

    This is a book I’ve desperately wanted - in parts - and desperately needed - in others - to read since I was about 16. Srinivasan’s work cuts through contemporary feminist debates with an inspiring precision. For me, she does philosophy close to perfectly.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Palash Srivastava

    Ñot a bad book per se, but if one is looking for some deep insights or interventions into feminist theory, this book would feel quite underwhelming. Its a great book to introduce someone to contemporary feminist issues (although even there social reproduction theorists are conspicuously missing).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    I liked this collection! Srinivasan's LRB essay got me interested in her work, and this has that and more essays in the same vein. The LRB essay is still probably one of my top 2, but the rest of these really shape out her view of intersectionality and ideals. This note from the preface got me thinking about how activism should feel: "Feminism envisaged as a 'home' insists on commonality before the fact, pushing aside all those who would trouble its domestic idyll. A truly inclusionary politics I liked this collection! Srinivasan's LRB essay got me interested in her work, and this has that and more essays in the same vein. The LRB essay is still probably one of my top 2, but the rest of these really shape out her view of intersectionality and ideals. This note from the preface got me thinking about how activism should feel: "Feminism envisaged as a 'home' insists on commonality before the fact, pushing aside all those who would trouble its domestic idyll. A truly inclusionary politics is an uncomfortable, unsafe politics." "On Not Sleeping with Your Students" is my favorite new essay, and this part of the ending was so tender. "I simply mean that my students are so very young. I didn't know, when I was in their place, how young I was, and how young I must have seemed even to those professors who were kind enough to treat me like the fully fledged intellectual I mistakenly thought I was. There are plenty of people my students' age, most of them not in university and will never be, who are adults in ways that my students simply aren't. My students' youthfulness has much to do with the sort of institutions at which I have taught, filled with the sort of young people who have been allowed, by virtue of their class and race, to remain young, even as many of their peers have been required to grow up too quickly." This is a pretty dense read so expect that. Some of Srinivasan's ideas truly changed my worldview on desire and rights forever so it's worth it! She presents all viewpoints and counterarguments so fully that I sometimes wish the writing were more sensational and just hammered her ideas lol. With your brain on though, these are the nuanced takes that will spurn many new thoughts and discussions.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    I listened to this on audio, and found the narrator, Adia Winslow, RIVETING. She was fantastic in every way. And I think she was the main reason I powered through this relatively short book in just a day or so. Although much of the information felt new to me (I learned about some books, feminists and scholarship I hadnt known about before), I am not sure what I am meant to walk away with. Or rather. My main takeaway from this book is that people should be prioritizing Black women in their feminis I listened to this on audio, and found the narrator, Adia Winslow, RIVETING. She was fantastic in every way. And I think she was the main reason I powered through this relatively short book in just a day or so. Although much of the information felt new to me (I learned about some books, feminists and scholarship I hadnt known about before), I am not sure what I am meant to walk away with. Or rather. My main takeaway from this book is that people should be prioritizing Black women in their feminisms. The book, with a few sections devoted to Asian women, was overwhelmingly filled with examples of Black people. This book is exceedingly well researched, but I felt it was much heavier when looking at the work of Black thinkers amd activists. So now I simply want to read books by and about Black feminists, though I was fascinated by the white women she cited earlier in the novel (the first half of the book is devoted to porn, and feminists really rallied around porn in the 70s). So maybe I will read those books? So I recommend this book on audio, which is on Scribd right now. And if you're interested in sex and what feminist thinkers have said about sex, patriarchy and all that jazz.

  11. 5 out of 5

    johanna ☆

    This is not a bad book per se, but it is not what it was advertised as, aka a ‘treatise’ on sex, society, and feminism. The only essay that feels like a fully formed polemic is ‘On Not Sleeping With Your Students’ (and for this it is of course easily the best one) - everything else feels more like a primer, an introductory guide to whatever particular aspect of modern sexuality and sexual dynamics is being discussed. Srinivasan presents a nuanced and balanced overview of the debates over the mea This is not a bad book per se, but it is not what it was advertised as, aka a ‘treatise’ on sex, society, and feminism. The only essay that feels like a fully formed polemic is ‘On Not Sleeping With Your Students’ (and for this it is of course easily the best one) - everything else feels more like a primer, an introductory guide to whatever particular aspect of modern sexuality and sexual dynamics is being discussed. Srinivasan presents a nuanced and balanced overview of the debates over the meaning of sex, but in almost all cases she pulls back just before the end of the essay, reluctant to propose any kind of resolution. It’s like she takes your preconceived ideas, makes a point that disrupts them, but instead of continuing on and articulating her own position just leaves you with a ‘makes you think, doesn’t it?’ and a wink. Which is fine for a textbook, or a primer, but not for supposedly rigorous sociological-philosophical analysis.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    made me think deeply; offered up more questions than answers though. agree with some of the other reviews that i am interested in srinivasan’s own answers to some of her questions eg around porn and carceralism / rape, to which she never fully arrives. adding it to my favourites though because it was incredibly thought provoking and weaves an alternative vision to some of the incredibly divisive and dichotomous approaches around some the most contentious issues in feminism the past several decad made me think deeply; offered up more questions than answers though. agree with some of the other reviews that i am interested in srinivasan’s own answers to some of her questions eg around porn and carceralism / rape, to which she never fully arrives. adding it to my favourites though because it was incredibly thought provoking and weaves an alternative vision to some of the incredibly divisive and dichotomous approaches around some the most contentious issues in feminism the past several decades and gave me new ways of seeing some of these issues. my favourite essay was “the right to sex” and it’s “coda”.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Eepp

    So, I think I'm not the intended audience. This is a general audiences book and so I found it a little shallow and short on theses. [edit: this might not be wholly fair. the first essay is v much about the inadequacy of rights talk, and the reasons not to be into carceral feminism run through the book. the theses are not signposted the way they would be in academic work, so they're a little vague or obscured, rather than lacking.] That said, this is a good catch up on modern feminism (after the d So, I think I'm not the intended audience. This is a general audiences book and so I found it a little shallow and short on theses. [edit: this might not be wholly fair. the first essay is v much about the inadequacy of rights talk, and the reasons not to be into carceral feminism run through the book. the theses are not signposted the way they would be in academic work, so they're a little vague or obscured, rather than lacking.] That said, this is a good catch up on modern feminism (after the dark days of buzzfeed feminism, and the gamergate digression). It serves that purpose well, and whilst not a history of feminism, it has a lot of historical context for certain controversies. If you want to learn more about what questions modern feminists are asking, this is a good book. If you're already in your uni campus feminist or lgbt society, you're probably already having these conversations at the pub but Srinivasan's formulation and insights are very much worth reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Annayah Prosser

    This book is a great read for anyone looking at mainstream feminism and wanting something *more*. The author took on really difficult topics with clarity, confidence and poise, and I’ve finished this book with so much more clarity on my own politics and how to argue with others about it! It’s a bit dense in places, but I really liked how much it discussed sociological and political theory throughout. A great read overall!!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jon Paul Roberts

    over six essays srinivasan writes insightfully on the 'conspiracy' against men, pornography, incels, desire, student-professor relationships, and capitalism/carceral punishment. this is the only contemporary book on sex and feminism i've read recently that feels like it will become a classic/essential text to sit alongside the work of angela davis and audre lorde etc. with the aim of dismantling systems of oppression. such a great book! over six essays srinivasan writes insightfully on the 'conspiracy' against men, pornography, incels, desire, student-professor relationships, and capitalism/carceral punishment. this is the only contemporary book on sex and feminism i've read recently that feels like it will become a classic/essential text to sit alongside the work of angela davis and audre lorde etc. with the aim of dismantling systems of oppression. such a great book!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eric Hollen

    Lots to think about in this one. A fairly accessible but deep dive look into feminism in the twenty-first century, with topics touching on professor-student relationships, the "false rape accusation" argument that many men make, pornography, intersectionality, and feminism in the wake of #Metoo and George Floyd, particularly in relation to the carceral state. My mind's still buzzing a little bit from this - might be one of those books that, for me, is worth a second-read through. Highly informat Lots to think about in this one. A fairly accessible but deep dive look into feminism in the twenty-first century, with topics touching on professor-student relationships, the "false rape accusation" argument that many men make, pornography, intersectionality, and feminism in the wake of #Metoo and George Floyd, particularly in relation to the carceral state. My mind's still buzzing a little bit from this - might be one of those books that, for me, is worth a second-read through. Highly informative with plenty of food for thought.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Cunningham

    8/10 I will echo what many other reviewers have already said for the reason this book was an 8/10 instead of a 10/10 for me: information in some of the essays was not new to *me* but would serve as an excellent primer for those who aren't regularly engaged in critical conversations about 21st century feminism. I greatly admire Srinivasan's commitment to honoring nuance in her essays. This collection eschews the aphorisms popularized by mainstream feminism in favor of honesty, and she manages to m 8/10 I will echo what many other reviewers have already said for the reason this book was an 8/10 instead of a 10/10 for me: information in some of the essays was not new to *me* but would serve as an excellent primer for those who aren't regularly engaged in critical conversations about 21st century feminism. I greatly admire Srinivasan's commitment to honoring nuance in her essays. This collection eschews the aphorisms popularized by mainstream feminism in favor of honesty, and she manages to make those critiques work without sounding antagonistic. In one example, she discusses the influence of carceral feminism's inclination to punish without thinking of who is typically the target of an empowered police state. However, she makes this argument without losing empathy for those who - understandably - want to see their abusers punished. Likewise, I was most engaged in the discussion in The Right to Sex when Srinivasan discusses our sexual desires and how they are shaped by our politics; can we deliberately shape those desires, too? Should we? It would be easy to be frustrated by the lack of answers in this short collection of brilliant essays, but I think that the author's analysis is enhanced by our collective acknowledgment of the grey area. Feminism as a political project can (and must!) highlight the contradictions and work collectively towards a real political freedom.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chiara Pistillo

    *CONTENT WARNING: PORNOGRAPHY, ABUSE, RAPE, EXPLICIT LANGUAGE” Amia Srinivasan puts together a series of feminist essays about sex, declining the topic under different socio-political lenses. I’m not an activist but I would certainly describe myself as a feminist; Srinivasan made me question what kind of feminist I am, especially in relation to certain topics such as pornography and teacher-student relationships, where I thought there was no grey area and it was easy to define yourself as a femini *CONTENT WARNING: PORNOGRAPHY, ABUSE, RAPE, EXPLICIT LANGUAGE” Amia Srinivasan puts together a series of feminist essays about sex, declining the topic under different socio-political lenses. I’m not an activist but I would certainly describe myself as a feminist; Srinivasan made me question what kind of feminist I am, especially in relation to certain topics such as pornography and teacher-student relationships, where I thought there was no grey area and it was easy to define yourself as a feminist based on a yes or no approach. The Right to Sex won’t be a simple read, especially considering that might reveal some biases hidden inside even the most diehard feminist. No one’s perfect but everyone’s perfectible – that’s why we should read this book, and its sources, and their sources and so on, deeper and deeper inside feminism and all its meanings. The essays I appreciated the most are “Talking to My Students about Porn”, “The Right to Sex” and “On Sleeping with Your Students”, which I think are also the most challenging ones to read. A highly recommended read to start rethinking feminism and how we approach it in our day to day life. Some might not like how these essays will make you question yourself, but it’s good to doubt your beliefs sometimes, that’s how we grow.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vivek Mahapatra

    There is one instance in the book, where the views of a person are posited to be self-evident to them. It is helpful to live a life by your own morals through self-evident principles, many of which are evinced in these essays. It is helpful to have a book like this substantiate self-evident principles so I could explain to another person why these principles are clear and right to me. I hope having read this helps me be more clear minded in the future, when we come to the foggy crossroads in lif There is one instance in the book, where the views of a person are posited to be self-evident to them. It is helpful to live a life by your own morals through self-evident principles, many of which are evinced in these essays. It is helpful to have a book like this substantiate self-evident principles so I could explain to another person why these principles are clear and right to me. I hope having read this helps me be more clear minded in the future, when we come to the foggy crossroads in life, where principles need substantiation to be followed in a real sense. I wish I'd read this book earlier, I'm glad I did now.

  20. 4 out of 5

    J.lilley

    Excellent.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ray 노잠

    Hard to review but impossible to not recommend.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris Newens

    Among many other things, this is an excellent primer to intersectionality. Many will love it for setting out a clear intellectual scaffolding for a lot of complex ideas currently in the zeitgeist. It's also truly essayistic in tone unafraid to work through the difficulties and acknowledge contradictions in debates over topics such as whether or not to ban prostitution, pornography, and how we should relate to our individual desire. For me, the central essay -- also called "The Right to Sex" -- w Among many other things, this is an excellent primer to intersectionality. Many will love it for setting out a clear intellectual scaffolding for a lot of complex ideas currently in the zeitgeist. It's also truly essayistic in tone unafraid to work through the difficulties and acknowledge contradictions in debates over topics such as whether or not to ban prostitution, pornography, and how we should relate to our individual desire. For me, the central essay -- also called "The Right to Sex" -- was the book's most interesting, challenging chapter, with the "Coda" essay immediately following the most rigorous and persuasive. Finally, though, I'd have liked more in the way of anecdote, if only to acknowledge that desire is experienced in real life as more than ideology; that it's messy and subject to feelings which can seldom be unpicked politically as they are happening.

  23. 5 out of 5

    ØMVЯ

    Fits the niece of technically academic yet oriented around a common topic. Refreshingly clear book on pornography and violence, detailing the modern formation of feminism. Be prepared to sit and think after each chapter.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Flaubertscarrot

    took Srinivasan's course in feminist philosophy last year so this was kinda redundant for me. asks a lot of questions but doesn't offer any answers. would recommend as an intro however took Srinivasan's course in feminist philosophy last year so this was kinda redundant for me. asks a lot of questions but doesn't offer any answers. would recommend as an intro however

  25. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Williams

    Too short! For me there was little (but not no) new in concept but excellent crystallizing of ideas and showing how they apply in the real world. A lot of how these things work in practice were new to me. This book on feminism (broadly), contains excellent explanations of feminist concepts and how their rubber actually hits the road in the real world and across society. For people unfamiliar with these ideas it would probably be an amazing consciousness-raiser. For people already familiar with som Too short! For me there was little (but not no) new in concept but excellent crystallizing of ideas and showing how they apply in the real world. A lot of how these things work in practice were new to me. This book on feminism (broadly), contains excellent explanations of feminist concepts and how their rubber actually hits the road in the real world and across society. For people unfamiliar with these ideas it would probably be an amazing consciousness-raiser. For people already familiar with some or all of these ideas, it's still good to see them articulated so well.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Digvi Shah

    Highly recommended. Read complete review here - https://www.arre.co.in/books/the-righ... Highly recommended. Read complete review here - https://www.arre.co.in/books/the-righ...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Incomplete

    Audiobook. I jumped into listening to the audiobook even before the book's actual release because of the impact Srinivasan's LRB essay had on me. And I'm thankful, extremely thankful that this collection didn't disappoint and left me thinking. My particular favourite was Coda and the end was rather powerful, too. I'd like to own the hardcover soon. Audiobook. I jumped into listening to the audiobook even before the book's actual release because of the impact Srinivasan's LRB essay had on me. And I'm thankful, extremely thankful that this collection didn't disappoint and left me thinking. My particular favourite was Coda and the end was rather powerful, too. I'd like to own the hardcover soon.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christine Hankinson

    Lost me at the start. Anyone (who isn't of the tiny .01% of humans who have undeveloped or hermaphroditic genitalia) states that their sex was 'assigned at birth' has been captured. It's a murdering of language and meaning. Lost me at the start. Anyone (who isn't of the tiny .01% of humans who have undeveloped or hermaphroditic genitalia) states that their sex was 'assigned at birth' has been captured. It's a murdering of language and meaning.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a quite short selection of essays that nevertheless packs a powerful punch. Some of the points I was familiar with, but was happy to see reinforced: “But in the case of rape, well-off white men worry that the growing demand that women be believed will cut against their right to be shielded from the prejudices of the law.” “Those who insist that men aren’t in a position to know better are in denial of what men have seen and heard. Men have chosen not to listen because it has suited them not This is a quite short selection of essays that nevertheless packs a powerful punch. Some of the points I was familiar with, but was happy to see reinforced: “But in the case of rape, well-off white men worry that the growing demand that women be believed will cut against their right to be shielded from the prejudices of the law.” “Those who insist that men aren’t in a position to know better are in denial of what men have seen and heard. Men have chosen not to listen because it has suited them not to do so, because the norms of masculinity dictate that their pleasure takes priority, because all around them other men have been doing the same.” Some I hadn’t considered before. I am in the camp of legalising sex work, because it is work, while also feeling uncomfortable that it has to exist and highly critical of the (mainly) men/people who buy it. I’m not sure how to square that circle; neither is Srinivasan, but she admits that, and poses some interesting questions. “How do we formulate a regulation that prohibits the sort of sex that is produced by patriarchy? Could the reason that this question is so hard to answer be that the law is simply the wrong tool for the job?” I think the lack of sex education is certainly a factor. The TV show Sex Education is probably doing more positive things for teens than anything else, but that responsibility shouldn’t be in Netflix’s hands, not alone because they could just as easily choose to promote far more harmful messages (as indeed some of their other shows do, because education is not their job). “I didn’t want the responsibility of shaping young minds. And yet thanks to this country’s nonfunctional sex education system and the ubiquitous access to porn by anyone with an internet connection, I have that responsibility anyway. Sometimes,’ [Stoya] went on, ‘it keeps me awake at night.’” “In their view, porn has the power to teach them the truth about sex not because the state has failed to legislate, but because the state has failed in its basic responsibility to educate.” I think this is a really good point: “Sex isn’t a sandwich, and it isn’t really like anything else either. There is nothing else so riven with politics and yet so inviolably personal. For better or worse, we must find a way to take sex on its own terms.” And this question really posed me. Like many other people, my desires are idiosyncratic and not particularly fair or rational. Srinivasan asks us whether actively trying to change them is the moral thing to do. I felt automatic revulsion for this concept, which suggests it is one I need to examine more closely. “The question posed by radical self-love movements is not whether there is a right to sex (there isn’t), but whether there is a duty to transfigure, as best we can, our desires.” I recently found out that it was a woman – of course – who invented the concept of ‘incels’. “ ‘I certainly don’t feel the right to Sex, nor do I feel the right to Love. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.”’ “Incels’ real complaint is that there are no women to offer them respite from the very system that their ideology – in its insistence on women as status-conferring commodities – props up.” The way Srinivasan approaches age-gap and power-gap relationships is new to me as well, and thought-provoking. “That women are allowed into the university to play the role not of student or would-be professor, but of sexual conquest, fawning girlfriend, emotional caretaker, wife, secretary? Is it a stretch to think that this practice represents not just a failure of pedagogy, but a reinforcement of patriarchal gender norms?” “[…] the essence of sex discrimination lies not in differential treatment but in treatment that reproduces inequality.” Srinivasan is critical of this campaign, but I think it sounds awesome: “[…] Wages for Housework campaign, begun in the early 1970s by Selma James and Mariarosa Dalla Costa, that calling something ‘work’ was the first step twoards refusing to do it.” Just including this quote because it’s so true. Baldwin: “The American delusion is not only that their brothers are all white but that the whites are all their brothers.” All in all, a very good book: one that would be of great use to men, I feel, if they would only read it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sirish

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Right to Sex is so important, so accessible and so incredibly thoughtful that I have this extreme urge to shove a copy into the hands of everyone I know. The philosophical tools that Srinivasan gifts are so enriching that I'm filled with immense gratitude. Each of the six essays in the book deals with a contemporary problem (usually for Feminists, Progressives and even Liberals), sets the context, gives a historical brief and then lays out arguments from many angles. It is the highest kind o The Right to Sex is so important, so accessible and so incredibly thoughtful that I have this extreme urge to shove a copy into the hands of everyone I know. The philosophical tools that Srinivasan gifts are so enriching that I'm filled with immense gratitude. Each of the six essays in the book deals with a contemporary problem (usually for Feminists, Progressives and even Liberals), sets the context, gives a historical brief and then lays out arguments from many angles. It is the highest kind of scholarship that I've come across and not least because of its unputdownable readibility. I will try to give a brief of each essay, but I recommend you pick up the book and read it. 1. The conspiracy against men: On the #MeToo movement. And how so many men are freaking out that so many innocent men can be, are being, unfairly blamed and ostracized on Social Media. After setting out to disprove that specific claim with statistics, elaborating on the hierachy even in women (class, race, caste, sexuality etc.), she convincingly argues that men who're claiming that they assumed what they were doing was normal, and now have been caught unawares and are being punished retrospectively, are still evading responsibility and refusing to admit to their entitlement. She says it is impossible for most men to not know that what they were doing was wrong. They knew but they didn't care because there would be no retribution. And now what's changed is not them suddently realising that their actions were wrong but that they're being called out. 2. Talking to my students about porn: Super interesting. Because the target demographic of the problem is the generation after me, I didn't relate too much to it personally. Having said that, the arguments around banning/ allowing porn was very interesting and the analysis of how sites like PornHub, which like any major platform/aggregator, on the internet while being shaped by people's preferences also then start shaping people's preferences. 3. The Right to Sex: This and the next essay both confronted my self-proclaimed liberal sensibility. 4. Coda- The Politics of Desire: Somewhere in the middle of this essay, Srinivasan asks an amazing question: True liberalism is about consent and about individual choice, and while it forbids one from imposing one's desires on others, it also stays away from judging people for their desires (and Id've argued rightly so). But it must also be accepted that our desires are shaped by society. What then what shapes our desires? Why do we want what we want? What impact do the contours created by the majority, with each individual 'choosing as they wish', have on the minority, who for, ostensibly, no fault of their own, wish differently? 5. On not sleeping with your students: I felt she takes her strongest position in this essay. When dealing with male faculty members who have sexual relations with their female students, she again questions if consent is enough. Srinivasan's arguments regarding the role of the teacher, regarding the insitution of learning, and the implications it could have on the psyche of an individual who probably has internalised some notions of right behaviour and is acting consciously, or unconsciously, on them is an absolute masterclass. This is public philosophy on par with the best in the world. 6. Sex, Carceralism, Capitalism: This essays extends the Feminist movement to Capitalism and tries to show how it might not be possible to create a just world via Neoliberal Economics. The genius of the book is its refusal to reach simplistic conclusions and its willingness to complicate all matter political. The stellar achievement though is that that doesn't create nihilism nor escapism. It reinvigorates the mind and reminds us that the world is incredibly complex, most of our political posturing is so simplistic that it causes more problems that it resolves, and to fight against injustice, not only do we need empathy but also education and imagination. While I feel I have not done justice the book, my sincere hope is that my enthusiasm is communicated and makes you want to read the book yourselves.

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