PHIL 224
The Philosophy of Sex and Domination Spring 2010
Division II Writing Skills Exploring Diversity Initiative
Cross-listed WGST 223 / PHIL 224
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Why are so many of women’s actions affected by the desire to be considered sexually desirable? In order to understand the complexity and conflicted nature of women’s sexuality, one must ask which social practices have shaped it. While pornography is a common focus for inquiry into woman’s sexuality, this course aims to examine the more subtle and embedded effects of patriarchy on sex and sexuality. We will discuss the works of theorists such as Sandra Bartky and Catherine Mackinnon to understand the philosophical questions concerning the social meaning of sex/sexuality and its actual practice. These questions range over seemingly uncontroversial gender differences, such as why women cross their legs, to more explicit questions, such as why the number of sexual occurrences is determined by male orgasm. We will then look at particular examples of the effects of male domination on sex/sexuality in daily life, including examples such as women’s beauty standards and the continual desire to protect against sexual violence, and compare them to social images about sex, including sexually explicit images. This comparison will allow us to investigate the relation between woman’s sexual powerlessness and social meanings of sex. The goal is to better understand the deeper, more steadfast impressions of patriarchy on sex. This course aims to refine students’ critical thinking and to engage them dialogically in controversial social issues.
The Class: Format: lecture/discussion
Limit: 19
Expected: 7-10
Class#: 3829
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: several short papers, final 8- to 10-page paper, regular attendance and participation
Prerequisites: none
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Exploring Diversity Initiative
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGST 223 Division II PHIL 224 Division II
Attributes: WGST Feminist Theory Courses

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