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Sensational FleshRace, Power, and Masochism$
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Amber Jamilla Musser

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479891818

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479891818.001.0001

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Specters of Domination

Specters of Domination

Patriarchy, Colonialism, and Masochism

(p.31) 2 Specters of Domination
Sensational Flesh

Amber Jamilla Musser

NYU Press

This chapter explores the relationship between masochism and white male privilege as articulated in feminist debates about patriarchy and lesbian sadomasochism. These debates revolved around the place of patriarchy in structuring female desire. For instance, feminist discourses argued that sexuality was being used to oppress women. Overt displays of sexuality such as pornography and sadomasochism were deemed especially pernicious because of their ties to masculinity and patriarchy. As such pornography and sadomasochism exacerbated the power imbalance between the sexes and reinforced the notion of passive femininity. Though these debates respond to radical feminist proclamations of sexual liberation, their ideology echoes this historical linkage between masculinity and sexual desire.

Keywords:   masochism, white male privilege, patriarchy, lesbian sadomasochism, pornography, sexual desire

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