Search - List of Books by Sheila Jeffreys
Sheila Jeffreys (born 1948) is a lesbian feminist scholar and political activist, known for her analysis of the history and politics of sexuality in Britain. She is a professor in Political Science at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Jeffreys's argument that the "sexual revolution" on men's terms contributed less to women's freedom than to their continued oppression has both commanded respect and attracted intense criticism. Jeffreys argues that transsexuals reproduce oppressive gender roles and mutilate their bodies through sex reassignment surgery. Some of Jeffrey's other controversial positions are that lesbian culture has been negatively impacted by emulating the sexist influence of the gay male subculture of dominant/submissive sexuality, and that women suffering pain in pursuit of beauty is a form of submission to patriarchal sadism.
Total Books: 20
In 1979, Jeffreys helped write Love Your Enemy? The Debate Between Heterosexual Feminism and Political Lesbianism, a pamphlet that offered a definition of a political lesbian: "We do think... that all feminists can and should be lesbians. Our definition of a political lesbian is a woman-identified woman who does not fuck men. It does not mean compulsory sexual activity with women." Jeffreys was one of several contributors to The sexual dynamics of history: men's power, women's resistance, an anthology of feminist writings about gender relations published in 1983 under the name "London Feminist History Group." Jeffreys wrote the last of this book's eleven chapters, Sex reform and anti-feminism in the 1920s.
Jeffreys's best known historical work is The Spinster and Her Enemies: Feminism and Sexuality 1880-1930, published in 1985. It challenges the view that the sexual puritanism of Victorian England was displaced by the scientifically enlightened ideas of sexologists such as Sigmund Freud and Havelock Ellis. It examines late 19th century and early 20th century feminist campaigns against child abuse and prostitution, identifying the New Woman vision espoused by spokesmen for sexology as a male backlash strategy. Jeffreys argues that these concepts were authoritarian and interpreted women's sexuality to conform to men's preferences. She traces later adaptations of these concepts made to fit changing social conditions: the New Woman was modified to accommodate wartime pro-natalist imperatives, and the sexually hedonistic Flapper Girl was invented to move women out of traditional male roles assumed by default during the World War I period, which had allowed them greater independence in paid work at home and at the front.
In Anticlimax: A Feminist Perspective on the Sexual Revolution, published in 1990, Jeffreys criticises popular prescriptions for women's sexuality from the 1950s on in key texts including pornography, sex manuals and surveys, and best-selling novels. Having spent most of her life in the United Kingdom, Jeffreys moved to Australia in the early 1990s.
The Lesbian Heresy was published in 1993. In it Jeffreys is highly critical of sadomasochistic practices that involved women. One author involved in sadomasochism cites Jeffreys' views in this book as an example of the "simplistic and dualistic thinking" among anti-sadomasochism campaigners, when she describes sadomasochism as "male supremacist", a reenactment of heterosexual male dominance and women's oppression, which glorifies violence and uses women's bodies as a sex aid, and as anti-lesbian and fascistic. The author points out that Jeffreys ignores that some heterosexual women may enjoy sex, and that 'tops' may be women who work hard to give their 'bottoms' pleasure, rather than the passive recipients of sex in the way she describes.
Jeffreys book The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade: The Industrial Vagina, was published in February 2009. The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade It describes the globalisation of the sex industry, and includes a controversial description of marriage as a form of prostitution; in her article on Jeffreys, Julie Bindel quotes her: "the right of men to women's bodies for sexual use has not gone but remains an assumption at the basis of heterosexual relationships", and explains that she draws out more obvious links between marriage and prostitution, such as mail-order brides, which she sees as a form of trafficking.
Jeffreys has received attention for her views on transgender, transsexualism and gender reassignment. In interview, Bindel explains that Jeffreys argues that transsexual surgery "is an extension of the beauty industry offering cosmetic solutions to deeper rooted problems", that in a society without gender this would be unnecessary. She describes 'transgender' surgeries as 'mutilation', and forced feminization pornography as portraying a view of women as less powerful.