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

Farrar. Sept. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780374248529. $28. SOC SCI
In this sharp and thoughtful collection of essays about attitudes towards sex, philosopher Srinivasan (social and political theory, Oxford Univ.) takes a step back and looks at the bigger picture regarding how these attitudes are formed and how they affect people’s lives. She draws on her experience, as a professor and an observer of feminist movements over time, to cover topics as wide-ranging as consent, incels, pornography, online dating, racial bias in dating preferences, punishment of sex crimes, and student-teacher relationships. Srinivasan doesn’t back away from uncomfortable moments and offers a reasoned, multifaceted analysis that may change the simplistic ways we sometimes view such issues. The attitudes she discusses are mostly rooted in Western mores, but she connects sex crimes, cultural norms, and gender violence to broader general systems of oppression. Ideas from other scholars, activists, and journalists are expertly woven into her essays, making for a rich and balanced narrative that is fascinating to read.
VERDICT This exceptionally well-written collection is among the most insightful works yet about sex in modern culture. It effectively merges academic analysis with lived experience in an accessible read that will interest readers from diverse professional and personal backgrounds.
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