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The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade

Sheila Jeffreys – 2008

The industrialisation of prostitution and the sex trade has created a multibillion-dollar global market, involving millions of women, that makes a substantial contribution to national and global economies.
She argues that through these practices women’s subordination has been outsourced and that states that legalise this industry are acting as pimps, enabling male buyers in countries in which women’s equality threatens male dominance, to buy access to the bodies of women from poor countries who are paid for their sexual subservience.

This major and provocative contribution is essential reading for all with an interest in feminist, gender and critical globalisation issues as well as students and scholars of international political economy.

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Unpacking Queer Politics: A Lesbian Feminist Perspective

Sheila Jeffreys – 2003

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 excoriated in much of queer theory, should form the basis of a social transformation.

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Black cover with an image of a man holding a wallet full of credit cards and dollars. It reads "A corageous book that grapples with a profound contradiction at the center of feminism" - Janice Raymond (quote) by Spinifex Press

The Idea of Prostitution

Sheila Jeffreys – 1997

Sheila Jeffreys explodes the distinction between “forced” and “free” prostitution, and documents the expanding international traffic in women. She examines the claims of the prostitutes’ rights movement and the sex industry, while supporting prostituted women. Her argument is threefold: the sex of prostitution is not just sex; the work of prostitution is not ordinary work; and prostitution is a ‘choice’ not for the prostituted women, but for the men who abuse them.

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The Lesbian Heresy: A Feminist Perspective

Sheila Jeffreys – 1993

The backlash against feminism has been documented powerfully by Naomi Wolf and Susan Faludi: within the lesbian community too, there has been a parallel backlash. A lesbian sex industry is now making a profit from women’s oppression, teaching lesbians to turn the pain of abuse and subordination into ‘pleasure’ and calling it liberation. Feminist theorist Sheila Jeffreys challenges the patriarchal and racist assumptions of the sex industry. In The Lesbian Heresy she advocates the continued creation of lesbian culture, community, friendship and ethics based on principles of equality and resistance. And for this call to freedom, lesbian feminists are deemed heretics.

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Anticlimax: A Feminist Perspective On the Sexual Revolution

Sheila Jeffreys – 1990

“A rigorous, savvy contemporary intellectual history … Read this book.” – Andrea Dworkin

The sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s is remembered as a time of great freedom for women. But did the sexual revolution have the same goals as the Women’s Liberation Movement? Was it truly liberation for women or just another insidious form of oppression?

In this provocative book, Sheila Jeffreys argues that sexual freedom sometimes directly opposed actual freedom for women. Anticlimax traces sexual mores and attitudes from the 1950s to the 1990s, exploring the nature of both straight and gay relationships and offering original and compelling commentary on Lolita, Naked Lunch, The Joy of Sex, the Masters/Johnson report, and other representations in the literature on sexuality.

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