Falling in Lust: Sexiness, Feminism, and Pornography

In Mari Mikkola (ed.), Beyond Speech. Oxford: (2017)
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Caffeine makes you sexy! This absurd slogan can be seen in the shop windows of a popular Brussels coffee chain – its bold pink lettering indicating how they are mainly targeting female customers. It is one of the silliest examples of something that is both very common and very worrisome nowadays, namely, the constant call on women to look ‘hot’ and conform to the standards of sexiness as they are projected in the media, entertainment industry, and advertising. But what exactly is wrong with this state of affairs and what can be done about it? In a recent essay Sheila Lintott and Sherri Irvin take up this issue and make an elaborate case for what they call a ‘feminist reclamation’ of sexiness. This chapter investigates the merits and shortcomings of their proposal, presents an alternative account, and considers how pornography may be part of the problem but also part of the solution in this matter.

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Hans Maes
University of Kent


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