Thursday, December 1, 2016

Book Review: Women, Sexuality and the Political Power of Pleasure

'Women, Sexuality and the Political Power of Pleasure' by Susie Jolly, Andrea Cornwall, and Kate Hawkins
is a book aimed to correct a social unbalance - well exemplified by the fact that in many parts of the world, it is almost impossible to imagine women enjoying themselves.  And we have the  suppression  of  pleasure  in  some
domains, and its commodification in others, both of these, quite suiting for a patriarchal society. This is, what is leading to women's need for more opportunities to speak openly about
pleasure  and  to  better  understand  the  potential  of  a  pleasure-focused approach.
This book shows why we should work with pleasure, and how we can do so in ways that change people’s lives, both on individual and collective levels. It also shows how pleasure can contribute to empowerment.
The authors of this book explicitly  argue  that  a  pleasure-based  approach  can  radically undermine patriarchal control of women.

To make their points clear, the book quotes many examples. Like the customs in rural Turkey of girls being slapped across the face when they first menstruate, or being  punished  for  knowing  or  inquiring about  sex.

The contributors to this book bring a forceful argument to fore, that pleasure  can  be empowering not just for women but for young people, people with disabilities, marginalized groups more broadly, and for society as a whole.
I think the book misses an important point. How women became a suppressed lot? Quite right the author is, when, at the beginning of the book itself 'suppression of pleasure' is identified as the significant retardant of women's  progress and empowerment. The author is again right when a pleasure-based approach is identified for its correction. I wish the authors pondered further, about the society's(say males) apprehensions about women's enjoyment. How else this could have become part of the society's(males') agenda, had it not been for the mortal fear about pleasing women.