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Willis, Ellen. Toward a Feminist Sexual Revolution
1982, Social Text, 6: 3-21.
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Added by: Emma Holmes, David MacDonald, Yichi Zhang, and Samuel Dando-Moore
Abstract: In this essay I argue that a sexual liberationist perspective is essential to a genuinely radical analysis of women's condition. Much of my argument centers on the psychosexual dynamics of the family, where children first experience both sexism and sexual repression. This discussion refers primarily to the family as it exists - actually and ideologically - for the dominant cultures of modern industrial societies. Clearly, to extend my focus backward to feudal societies or outward to the Third World would require (at the very least) a far longer, more complex article. I strongly suspect, however, that in its fundamentals the process of sexual acculturation I describe here is common to all historical (i.e., patriarchal) societies.

Comment (from this Blueprint): Willis describes the double binds women are in: between being too good – boring, frigid, a sexual failure, a cold bitch – and being bad – easy, insatiable, demanding. Willis argues that the only way to solve this is to end the association between sex and badness. This presents an answer to Bartky's dilemma: we should choose to eradicate sexual shame, rather than our desires.

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