Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sexsual Politics by Kate Millett - short summary and overview

Sexsual Politics  is a feminist essay , written by Kate Millett , published in 1970  .Kate Millett explains that sexuality has a very often overlooked political aspect and is interested in how the patriarchal system influences sexual relations, highlighting the novels of DH Lawrence , Henry Miller and Norman Mailer . She argues that these authors view and discuss sexuality in their books in a patriarchal and sexist way. On the other hand, she applauds the more nuanced texts of Jean Genet , homosexual author. Other authors are studied including Sigmund Freud , George Meredith , John Ruskin and John Stuart Mill .

Sexsual Politics (French translation by Elisabeth Gille ) has become a feminist classic and has been touted as the first work of feminist literary criticism  and "one of the first feminist books to arouse male anger throughout the nation"  . Although, over the years, its status has declined , the male Policy remains an important theoretical reference for the second feminist wave of the 1970s .

Norman Mailer , whose texts, and mainly his novel An American Dream published in 1965, are criticized by Millet, wrote the article "The Prisoner of Sex" in Harper's Magazine in which he defended Miller and Lawrence.

Conversely, psychoanalyst Juliet Mitchell explains that Millet, like many other feminists, misread Freud and did not understand the implications of psychoanalysis for feminism . Literary critic Camille Paglia defines The Politics of the Male as "an atrocious book" which "reduces the complex artistic work to its political content" . She accuses him of being at the origin of what she sees as an excess of feminist studies, especially in the attacks against a supposed sexism by Western authors  .

The publisher Doubleday said the book is one of the ten most important books published during its hundred years of existence and included in the anthology published his birthday  .