Monday, October 14, 2019
What Is A Sexual Revolution?
What Is A Sexual Revolution? Answer: Sexual revolution is a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationship throughout the Western world from the 1960s into the 1980s. At the end of the Second World War, Wilhelm Reich introduced American readers to some of his earlier writings under the title The Sexual Revolution (1945). Explaining that this revolution went to the roots of human emotional, social, and economic existence, he presented himself as a radical (from Latin radix: root), i.e. as a man who examines these roots and who then fearlessly speaks the truth that sets humanity free. The truth, according to Reich, was that Western civilization had made people sick by imposing on them an unnatural, destructive sexual morality. However, thanks to various modern social and scientific upheavals, the natural human life functions were finally awakening after a sleep of thousands of years. The future would restore sexual health and, for the first time, bring full human autonomy. In 19th-century France and Germany several new small revolutions tried to speed up the process of modernization and to expand individual rights, but they failed. Repressive marriage and family laws and the denial of suffrage kept women in their place. Literary censorship hampered the free flow of ideas and kept the public sexually ignorant. Nevertheless, when technological progress made the mass production of condoms possible, many men and women began to plan the size of their families and thus quietly started a contraceptive revolution. As a result, they gained at least some measure of sexual self-determination, even if it remained unrecognized by the state. Eventually, however, the gap between traditional ideology and practical reality grew so wide that a drastic readjustment was all but inevitable. This readjustment was brought about by the First World War which announced the collapse of the rigid old political order. In 1917, when the revolution came to Russia, it expressly inclu ded equal rights for women and universal sexual freedom in its program. Thus, for the first time, a sexual revolution became official government policy. By the same token, in the bourgeois, capitalist societies of the West which are dedicated to individual freedom, the sexual revolution continues. The right to sexual self-determination is considered as important as ever, and, indeed, various sexual liberation groups are working hard to extend it. In the United States, the struggle for an Equal Rights Amendment, legal abortion, the repeal of sodomy, prostitution and obscenity laws, and an end to discrimination against homosexuals are perhaps the best known current examples. At the same time, more and more people also take advantage of those sexual rights that have already been granted. Thus, the movement toward sexual emancipation is still gaining in strength. It is this change in attitude, more than anything else, that amounts to a revolution. Instead of blindly following inherited customs, we now decide for ourselves what sexual activity is proper. Therefore, even if our overt behavior remains the same, it now has a different meaning. We have learned that there are alternatives, that there is nothing eternal or sacred about our sexual morality. We no longer submit to blanket taboos or suspend our judgment. In short, we have become used to questioning the legitimacy of our traditions. At least in this sense, the talk about a sexual revolution is fully justified. We have to remember that significant social changes occur not only when people change what they do. It may be enough that they change the way they think about it. It may be enough that different behaviors become defensible, that moral options develop which did not exist before. The old sexual standards seemed unassailable as long as they were taken for granted. However, today radical changes of all sorts have become conceivable and even plausible to many formerly uncritical men and women. Thus, past and present are no longer reliable guides to the future. Religious dogmas have been replaced by scientific hypotheses, certainties by doubts. At the same time, our choices and responsibilities have increased. There is cause for great joy as well as for great anxiety, in the area of sex, as in so many other areas of life, virtually anything seems to have become possible. b) Why do societies control peoples sexual behavior? Answer: Human sexual activities or human sexual practices or human sexual behavior refers to the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality. People engage in a variety of sexual acts from time to time, and for a wide variety of reasons. Sexual activity normally results in sexual arousal and physiological changes in the aroused person, some of which are pronounced while others are more subtle. Sexual activity also includes conduct and activities which are intended to arouse the sexual interest of another, such as strategies to find or attract partners (mating and display behavior), and personal interactions between individuals, such as flirting and foreplay. Human sexual activity has psychological, biological, physical and emotional aspects. Biologically, it refers to the reproductive mechanism as well as the basic biological drive that exists in all species and can encompass sexual intercourse and sexual contact in all its forms. Emotional aspects deal with the int ense personal bonds and emotions generated between sexual partners by a sexual activity. Physical issues around sexuality range from purely medical considerations to concerns about the physiological or even psychological and sociological aspects of sexual behavior. In some cultures sexual activity is considered acceptable only within marriage, although premarital and extramarital sex are also common. Some sexual activities are illegal either universally or in some countries, and some are considered against the norms of a society. For example, sexual activity with a person below some age of consent and sexual assault in general are criminal offenses in many jurisdictions. c) How does sexuality play a part in social inequality? Answer: sexuality play an important part in the social inequality such as interpersonal behavior. Day-to-day interaction between women and men perpetuates male dominance. Gender differences in conversational patterns reflect differences in power. Womens speech is more polite than mens. Women end statements with tag questions (dont you agree? you know?). Men are more direct, interrupt more, and talk more, notwithstanding the stereotype that women are more talkative. Males typically initiate interaction with women; they pursue, while females wait to be asked out (Eitzen, 2000:260). Of the issues discussed in this chapter (prostitution, teen pregnancy, pornography, sexual violence and abortion) which do you think is the most important for Malaysian society today? Why? Answer: From the sex video created by Umno to topple Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim right down to the MACC officer caught watching smut in office, Malaysian news now only have one major point to highlight: sex and pornography The production and distribution of pornographic movies are economic activities of some importance. The exact size of the economy of pornography and the influence that it plays in political circles are matters of controversy. In many countries it is legal to both produce and distribute pornography featuring performers age 18 or older; however there are often restrictions placed upon such material. If we were to stop for a moment and take the time to properly assess the community impact of internet pornography, it would soon become clear that internet pornography is not the height of evil which do-gooder parliamentarians and parental groups profess. Indeed, it is probably one of the main factors contributing to a Professor Damato suggests there are two predominant reasons why an increase in the availability of pornography has led to a reduction in rape. First, using pornographic material provides an easy avenue for the sexually desirous to get it out of their system. Second, Damato points to the so-called Victorian effect. This dates back to the old Victorian era where people covered up their bodies with an immense amount of clothing, generating a greater mystery as to what they looked like naked. Damato suggests that the free availability of pornography since the 1970s, and the recent bombardment of internet pornography, has de-mystified sex, thus satisfying the sexually curious. You may well ask while this positive correlation between an increase in pornography (specifically internet pornography) and a reduction in rape has been demonstrated in the United States, do the statistics in Australia present a similar positive correlation? Ana Mendieta and Jenny Saville: Compare and Contrast Essay Ana Mendieta and Jenny Saville: Compare and Contrast Essay Compare and contrast the work of two contemporary women illustrators or artists. Situate their work in a social and historical context and examine how their work addresses questions of gendered identity. In this essay, I will examine the work of Ana Mendieta and Jenny Saville, two contemporary women artists from two separate movements in history; The Womens Movement of the 1970s, and The Britart Movement of the 1990s. I will compare and contrast the different approaches they take on female subjectivity, and then conclude with whom raises questions of gendered identity the most effectively. Jenny Saville was sprung into the art world when Charles Saatchi famously discovered her work and set her up in a studio to paint more pictures for him to buy. She joined the ranks of other young British artists to be part of the movement known as Britart, an explosion which culminated from media and political hype at that time, namely Cool Brittania. Saville read extensively on the subject of feminist theory, with particular interest on why, as feminist art historian Linda Nochlin pointed out, there have been no great women artists. Her paintings are often compared to old masters Rubens and Courbet, but most usually to contemporary painter Lucien Freud. As such, she is typically described as a New Old Master based on the technical aptitude and sheer scale of her female nudes which are implicitly related to the male-dominated art history. Unlike those male predecessors, Saville paints from a starkly female point of view. Her figures are not the idealised stereotype of beauty painted with the male gaze in mind; their flesh takes on all manner of mottled tones and their bodies are far from erotically posed.The history of art has been dominated by men, living in ivory towers, seeing women as sexual objects. I paint women as most women see themselves. I try to catch their identity, their skin, their hair, their heat, their leakiness. I do have this sense with female flesh that things are leaking out. A lot of our flesh is blue, like butchers meat. In history, pubic hair has always been perfect, painted by men. In real life, it moves around, up your stomach, or down your legs. (Independent interview, 1994) Plan, 1993, a 9ft high nude self portrait, towers above the viewer like a mountain of flesh. The figures arm is drawn across both breasts in a gesture which suggests negativity while the scale of the canvas and perspective makes the body look gargantuan; the contours of the flesh are marked as if Saville is on a hospital trolley waiting for her fat to be sucked out by a cosmetic surgeon. Alison Rowley asks if Saville worries about her size in an article on scale. it would be possible to read as signified by the size of the canvas for Plan Savilles figuration of the psychic dimensions of her own body, as it is constructed at the intersection of her physical body with all those discourses, of the fashion and cosmetics, the diet, health products and plastic surgery industry, that operate to produce the sign desirable feminine body for this culture as something other than her size and shape. The composition of the figure within the frame strengthens this signification: not only does it n eed a canvas 9 x 7 to accommodate it but even then its a squash to get it in. As I understand it, Saville addresses her gender through challenging the expectations placed on women to look good in a male-dominated society. She herself admits I havent had liposuction myself but I did fall for that body wrap thing where they promise four inches off, or your money back. and she states beauty as being the male image of the female body. (Independent Interview, 1994) She frequently uses herself in her images but the exaggerated folds of flesh speak volumes in an age where we are obsessed with our bodies. The standard reaction, particularly from a male view point is to recoil in disgust, prompting us to question how the media has so effectively brainwashed a society to think plastic surgery is normal; when in fact the horrifying reality is that women now feel a desperate sense of urgency to have their bodies prodded, probed and sliced in the name of beauty. By materializing the abject female body, Saville reveals what lurks in the feminine imagination. That is to say, by representing a specific idea of femininity, she speaks to the disparity between the way that many women feel about their bodies and the reality of how those bodies are perceived by others. Michelle Meagher. Jenny Saville and a Feminist Aesthetics of Disgust. Page 34 Jenny Savilles monumental paintings speak up for women with a strong political message for the age we live in. She pushes her brilliant and relentless embodiment of our worst anxieties about our own corporeality and gender Nochlin, Linda 2000. Floating in Gender Nirvana. Art in America 88. Page 97) with shocking reality and is a testament to how history and society has shaped us. In the series Closed Contact, Saville took a diversion from paint to collaborate with fashion photographer Glen Luchford. The resulting grotesquely distorted self-portraits were achieved via manipulation of the flesh upon a plane of perspex. The same strikingly similar effects were created in a work entitled Glass on Body from 1972 by the artist Ana Mendieta. She, as Saville, manipulated her face, breasts, hips, thighs and buttocks against a sheet of glass, thus interpreting her body as sculpture to provocative effect. Saville refers to her body as a prop, saying in an interview with Elton John Its like loaning my body to myself. So the flesh becomes like a material. In the photographs the flesh was like paint. Those pictures all came out of my exposure to plastic surgery. I worked with this plastic surgeon in New York for quite a few months, and I saw all of this manipulation of flesh and liposuction and surgeons fists moving around inside breasts. (Interview. Elton John. October 20 03.) I think a reference to Mendietas manipulation of her own malleable flesh against the glass and the resulting carnivalesque perversion of her once recognizable figure turn body art toward such feminist issues as the normative construction of beauty and the female body as monstrous other. Blocker, Jane Where is Ana Mendieta? Identity, Performativity, and Exile (Durham: Duke University Press, 1999) P.11 is an equally appropriate understanding of Savilles art. Anna Mendieta emerged during the womans art movement of the 1970s. Being exiled from her native country of Cuba when she was 12 years old resulted in feelings of displacement, and she addressed issues of cultural identity as well as her gender through performance and body art. Unlike Saville, who traditionally uses paint in a realist sense, Mendieta explored these relatively new mediums when she realized my paintings were not real enough for what I wanted the image to convey and by real I mean I wanted my images to have power, to be magic. (Ana Mendieta: Pain of Cuba, Body I Am Kaira M. Cabanas Womans Art Journal, Vol. 20, Page 12) While dealing with taboo subject matter she could directly change the male gaze from one customarily of desire and give a voice to the female nude that for centuries before did not have one. In a performance in 1972, Mendieta had a male friend shave off his facial hair as she applied the pieces to her face, thus assuming the symbols of male identity. Savi lle addressed the same issue with Passage, 2004, which features a transvestite between genders.Thirty or forty years ago this body couldnt have existed and I was looking for a kind of contemporary architecture of the body. I wanted to paint a visual passage through gender a sort of gender landscape. (Saatchi Gallery) Although both artists focus on the female body, Mendieta used her own for every art piece she created and, unlike Saville, she took her work out of the studio. Her Siluetas series combined issues of race and identity when she left imprints of her body in the landscape. These earth-body sculptures were created with natural materials such as flowers, earth, fire and blood and, as with most of her works, were linked to the rituals of Santeria, a religion that grew out of the slave trade in Cuba and which Mendieta studied to get back to her roots. The Siluetas seem to change form and shape from one to the other, and some take on the exaggerated appearance of a vagina, the uniquely female thing that appears central to most feminist art. by creating a fusion with nature, Mendieta affirms, through their common fertility, a feminine specificity. The Earth-mother in this respect constitutes an all powerful, truly mythical generality, in which Mendietas body literally melts, and in a certain s ense becomes lost; the affirmation of a collective identity so clearly implying the dissolution of personal identity. Creissels, Anne From Leda to Daphne, Sacrifice and Virginity in the Work of Ana Mendieta in The Sacred and the Feminine, Imagination and Sexual Difference, ed. By Griselda Pollock and Victoria Turvey Sauron (London: I.B.Tauris, 2007) p. 183 The problem is that women working with nature is regarded as a uniquely feminine approach and has the disadvantage of contributing to the perpetuation of a system of domination founded on the opposition of the sexes. Creissels, Anne From Leda to Daphne, Sacrifice and Virginity in the Work of Ana Mendieta in The Sacred and the Feminine, Imagination and Sexual Difference, ed. By Griselda Pollock and Victoria Turvey Sauron (London: I.B.Tauris, 2007) p. 183 An earlier work from 1973, Rape Scene, was a performance in which Mendieta smeared herself in blood and tied herself face down on a table to be discovered by colleagues she had invited to her apartment. It dealt with violence against the female body and aimed to expose the violence and control that can lie behind the (male) gaze, which for them (us) is neither novel nor escapable. (Where is Ana Mendieta? Jane Blocker. Page 15) A photograph documenting the scene appears remarkably as if intended to look like forensic evidence. Blood was frequently used in Mendietas performances to spark controversy. A Self-portrait from 1973 shows Mendieta with blood running down her face as she looks down into the lens of the camera. This compares with a piece by Saville entitled Reverse, in which the artists head is shown sideways on a reflective surface. Both Mendietas and Savilles faces look bloodied and brutal, as though they had been beaten up. The eyes in both are empty and listless. Lips are parted. The depiction of Savilles face in Reverse as swollen and scabbed actually comes from her fascination with plastic surgery and the women who underwent such operations. However, she would never call her paintings self-portraits as she is not interested in the outward personality. I dont use the anatomy of my face because I like it, not at all. I use it because it brings out something from inside, a neurosis. (Under the skin, The Guardian, Suzie Mackenzie, 22/10/2005) Ana Mendieta and other artists involved with the womans art movement did accomplish a lot by breaking the boundaries and bringing to light the injustices women have to bear just for being female thus establishing a place for womens art. The visual language raised by Mendieta in her performances had an ethereal poignancy reflecting her traumatic childhood experience. However, as other female artists of the era were creating art with their bodies while spiritually bonding with nature it was easy to term them as Goddess Artists Edelson, Mary Beth, Male Grazing: An Open Letter to Thomas McEvilley in Feminisim-Art-Theory, an Anthology 1968-2000, ed. By Hilary Robinson (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2001)P.593 a category they vehemently objected to, but nonetheless, creating giant vaginas and frolicking naked in the leaves can detract from the serious feminist angle. Jenny Savilles art cannot be taken anything but seriously. Her uniquely female perspective of nude women which have historic ally been painted by men for centuries begs the question, has a patriarchal art history defined beauty? The expectations placed on women to look a certain way are crushingly everywhere. The female form is nothing but an object of desire for the very men that moulded this ideal and the women who desire that unattainable ideal. In a society where women are controlled via a visual media which has evolved from pictures made by man, Saville has opened my eyes to the rituals I perform in the upkeep of being female. In contrast, Mendietas ritualistic performances, although captivating and thought provoking, seem more about self-cleansing and embedded in the spiritual to compete with men in a patriarchal art world.