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In the Epilogue, I discuss whether or not the policies of each regime impacted the various authors’ interpretations of sigheh. I posit that the female body and sexuality, in the context of sigheh, has been politicized under both the Pahlavi and Islamic regimes. I also discuss, in response to the fact that men have produced almost all literary and cinematic works about sigheh women in this book, whether male-dominated writing or directing promotes a more realistic characterization of the female protagonists, suggesting instead the importance of women writing themselves and their bodies and discuss the ways that the “body politics” is related to women’s writings. Through their writings, women challenge male-dominated society and culture, literature, and language. Using a new language for the expression of their lived bodily experiences that rejects the phallocentrism of the dominant discourse, women disrupt the dominant male-centered language reclaiming and asserting their sexuality. I examine the flourishing women’s writing in the 1980s (and onward) when women began writing their lived experiences, their bodies, their thoughts, and their lives.
This chapter consists of a literature review of girls’ and young women’s crime and deviance from a long-term perspective. It shows how certain themes have dominated European discourses and realities of female juvenile delinquency across several centuries and up until the present day, and how these various threats and transgressions have been countered by recurrent strategies. In assessing sexual misconduct, theft and vagrancy – three crime categories that were prevalent among prosecutions of young women – it identifies powerful and enduring narratives centering on concerns about girls’ sexuality and independence. Finally, in comparing responses to female juvenile crime and deviance across Western Europe since the eighteenth century, certain ‘solutions’ have proven dominant and very enduring: institutional confinement of criminal and problem girls on the one hand, and the pathologisation of female (juvenile) crime on the other.
The Introduction presents the reader with the methodology and theoretical structure of the book, a general historical overview of sigheh marriage in Iran, literary productions of the Pahlavi era, and the cinematic productions of the Islamic Republic; and discusses the importance of each work briefly in its historical context with a chapter breakdown at the end.
Chapter 2 examines Morteza Moshfeq-e Kazemi’s Tehran-e Makhuf (Horrid Tehran), which portrays the corruption of the sociopolitical structure of the country and its impacts on female sexuality, particularly in the context of sigheh and sex work, at the end of the Qajar and early Pahlavi eras. In this novel, we hear the life stories of four female sex workers, among whom two, Ashraf and ‘Effat, reference their sigheh marriages. I argue that Moshfeq-e Kazemi pushes back against the political and social system that supports the practice at that time. By foregrounding the vulnerable socioeconomic status of women, Moshfeq-e Kazemi illustrates the ways that sigheh marriages stigmatize women and allow society to exploit them. I postulate that while these sigheh/sex-worker women are socially marginalized and stigmatized, they occupy a significant space in the social imaginary of Iran that points toward their symbolic and sexual power. I focus on the ways the female body can be a subject of reclaiming power and countering discourses of oppression. Through the embodiment of these sigheh/sex workers, I explore how the female body simultaneously fluctuates as an object of power, a site of social inscription, and a threat to the status quo concerning women’s subjectivity and autonomy.
Chapter 1 focuses on the sociopolitical and cultural background of Iran with respect to sigheh marriages and female sexuality from the final years of the Qajar era to the Islamic period. I trace the sociocultural impacts of the gender-based reforms under each regime and discuss the fluctuating value of sigheh marriages during each period and how the disequilibrium of these reforms influences prevailing discourses on female sexuality, sigheh marriages, and further stigmatization of sigheh women.
Public opinion on later-life sexuality affects older people’s sexual health, behaviour, and satisfaction. In this study, we explored public opinion on later-life sexuality by participants’ responding to an open-ended question rather than rank their level of agreement or disagreement with different statements about older people’s sexuality. Responses from 135 men and women reflecting on how sexuality changes in older age were thematically analysed. Five themes emerged, varying from positive to negative perceptions of later-life sexuality. Older people’s sexuality was described as declining, non-existent, conservative, narrow, tedious, and boring, but also as encompassing more emotions and feelings; being better and more “complete”. This study provides qualitative data and an opportunity to gain insights on valuable opinions on what young and middle-aged people think about later-life sexuality. Assessing what people think about later-life sexuality is the first stage in instilling more liberating views about the diversity of sexual expressions in old age.
Little is commonly said about sexuality in black and Asian British creative production, although diverse and often contradictory expressions of non-normative desire are easily traced throughout the twentieth century in the writing of, among others, McKay, Dawes, and Naipaul as well as Kureishi, Smartt, and Agbabi. Ranging across various literary forms to look at writers such as Kei Miller, Bernadine Evaristo, Diriye Osman, Neel Mukherjee, Thomas Glave, Jay Bernard, and Adam Lowe, this chapter raises questions about the interrogation, blurring, and translation of racial and sexual identities across a range of orientations and generations. It examines how texts have redefined and questioned the powerful stereotypes surrounding representations of black and Asian bodies, sexualities, and gendered identities. In so doing, it charts the uneven evolution and heterogeneous quality of queer black writing, framing it against Stuart Hall’s ‘refusal to represent the black experience in Britain as monolithic, self-contained, sexually stabilised and always “right on”’.
This article considers sexuality in older adults and the associated stereotypes and stigmas that lead to this area being underappreciated. Normal physiological changes in ageing are discussed and how they can cause sexual dysfunction. The elderly population has a higher burden of comorbid physical illness and this review considers evidence on the interplay between physical health and sexual health. Mental illness is also strongly linked with sexual functioning and is discussed, as is the evidence on psychotropics and sexual side-effects. Attitudes on sexuality in long-term care settings are highlighted and approaches to managing sexual disinhibition are included.
The meaning and value of religious liberty in the United States is changing dramatically, under the weight of both short-term legal pressures and long-term cultural shifts. Over the last few years, a sharply escalating solicitude for “sexual minorities” has confronted and diminished religious liberty in the law for the millions of Americans who adhere to traditional views about the nature of marriage and the morality of sexual activity. Over the last several decades, Americans have come to understand their own religious convictions through the mediating lenses of subjective experience and individual spirituality, so much so that “religion” has come to be an aspect of personal “identity.” Now it seems that “religious liberty” is one subset among many of an encompassing right of self-definition, which also includes sexual identity. And where these two sides of the “identity” coin come into conflict, “religious liberty” is more often than not the loser. This development is potentially momentous, for what was long described as Americans’ “first freedom” has, in fact, been an axiom of the political culture and a strategic linchpin of the whole of constitutional civil liberties.
Mark Twain often transgressed the sexual limits of his Victorian era, pushing the boundaries of sex and sexuality in his writing. Although he generally was more reticent in his public writing, deferring to the taste of his age, he had private writings that explored sexual and taboo topics. Throughout his writing career, he played with themes of cross-dressing, often couched in comedy, but revealing an interest in the fluidity of gender roles. In his later unpublished writings, he wrote more frankly about sex and sexuality, topics that clearly fascinated him.
This chapter focuses on dramatizations of what John Marshall identifies as the central issue of the early Enlightenment, religious toleration, also a crucial pillar of Whig ideology. Addison and Steele were both advocates of toleration, and their fellow dramatists were no less enthusiastic. I analyse John Hughes’s The Siege of Damascus (1718), a play that remained widely popular through the century, famous for its tense scene of religious testing. The play was based on the work of pioneering Arabist Simon Ockley and offers an object lesson in the way a respectful account of Arab history was put into wide circulation. Other plays that used Near Eastern settings, such as Aaron Hill’s Zara (1735) and James Thomson’s Edward and Eleonora (1739) shared Hughes’s tolerationist agenda. By contrast, I also present plays with a much more conservative perspective on religious difference, including John Brown’s Barbarossa (1754).
Critics have tended to dismiss Wharton’s depictions of children as victims of their parents’ misbehavior (Paul Marvell of The Custom of the Country) to optimistic symbols of the future (Nettie Struther’s baby in The House of Mirth), failing to take into account the complexity of children as characters. In fact, Wharton’s novels are populated with children – typically girls – marked by suggestions of gender queerness; transgression, seduction, and aggression; age-impropriety; and ethnic ambiguity. From “The Valley of Childish Things” (1896) to “A Little Girl’s New York” (1938), Wharton emphasizes the absence of childhood innocence and the resistance of children to linear development. Wharton’s children are rarely innocent, frequently knowing, and resistant to narratives of linear development. Concentrating on the novels The Reef (1912) and The Children (1928), and touching on other works by Wharton, I demonstrate how this theme flows throughout the author’s corpus.
Nationalism has long been understood to be a deeply gendered phenomenon. This article provides an overview of some of the key concepts and literature in the study of gender and nationalism, including women; gender; the nation and the intersection of sexuality, race, and migration; and gender within nationalist imaginations. It offers some future research agendas that might be pursued in work on gender and nationalism—namely the gendered dimensions of populism or “new” nationalism.
Between 1870 and 1914, at least 266 Protestant ministers abandoned their posts, left their homes and families, and eloped with women who were not their wives. As critics of religion used these elopement scandals to discredit American Protestantism, those sympathetic to religion's hold on American morality attempted to dissuade the press from indulging in the sensational. Though initially hesitant to report on Protestant pastors' immoralities in this period, the press eventually came to an almost universal acceptance of scandal as a legitimate journalistic genre. As the public wondered what the proliferation of sex scandals among the Protestant elites might mean for religion in America, the press used the genre of ministerial elopement as an entrée into larger cultural debates about religion, marriage, and romantic love in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.
This article seeks to advance our understanding of how intimate relations and racial logics are co-constituted and matter – subjectively, culturally, materially, and politically – in our colonial present of economic inequalities, nationalist populisms, anti-migrant discourses and xenophobic hostilities. Addressing these crisis conditions is urgent, yet critical interventions indicate that prevailing accounts inadequately address the scale, complexity, and fluidity of racisms operating today. This article proposes to think racial logics ‘otherwise’ by drawing on interdisciplinary scholarship and intersectional analytics to produce a genealogy of state/nation formation processes, imperial encounters, and legitimating ideologies that illuminates how ‘intimacy builds worlds’.1 A deep history of political centralisation reveals that regulation of intimate, familial relations is a constitutive feature of successful state-making and crucial for understanding how modernity's ‘race difference’ is produced and how the racialisation of ‘Other’ (‘non-European’, undesirable) sexual/familial practices figures in contemporary crises. Locating intimate relations – ‘family’ – in (birthright) citizenship, immigration regimes, and political-economic frames helps clarify the amplification of global inequalities and the power of stigmatisations to fuel nationalist attachments and anti-migrant hostilities. Foregrounding intimacy and integrating typically disparate lines of inquiry advances our analyses of today's often opaque yet intense racisms and their globally problematic effects.
While scholars have long noted that the “Children of Adam” cluster – and its depiction of women’s sexual desires – was the main cause of controversy over Leaves, that information has yet to open out to a revision of the history of women’s sexuality and Whitman’s position in that history. Building on feminist readings of Whitman, this chapter asks what it is about Whitman’s verse that provoked such specific outrage about women readers, women’s bodies, and sexual desire, all of which together led Whitman to be the epitome of “offenses against purity.” If the queerness of the “Calamus” cluster was so hard to see because its poems treated the unspeakable, there was already in place a “speakable” (and thus policeable) heterosexual identity already coalescing around white women, a discursive consolidation we can trace through the outrage over Whitman’s “Children of Adam” poems.
Focusing on a pocket-size edition of Whitman’s poems from the early twentieth century provides an opportunity for thinking about what happens to poems we think we know well when they’re read in different published contexts. Building on the central insight from book historical studies about the inextricability of publication form and literary content, this chapter also engages aspects of the history of sexuality that likewise take shape through the practices of reading and writing. The Little Blue Book edition at this chapter’s heart juxtaposes Whitman’s poems with the writings of another figure in the long US history of sexual liberation: feminist and birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger. Reading Whitman alongside Sanger as the edition urges us to do uncovers unexpected intersections, and sometimes contradictions, at the sites of gender normativity, progressive political reform, and socialism, as well as the backlash against the progressive reforms to which Whitman and Sanger dedicated themselves.
Most previous discussions of Ezra Pound, gender and sexuality have focused on Pound’s poetic depictions of women and his relationships with women artists, patrons and muses. The fascinating biographical stories include such figures as the poet H. D., perhaps Pound’s first love; the pianist and patron Margaret Cravens, who took her life after playing a song Pound and Walter Rummel wrote for her; Pound’s wife, Dorothy (Shakespear) Pound; and his long-time mistress, Olga Rudge, a concert violinist. When critics focus on sexuality and Pound, the result tends to be ‘paranoid’ rather than ‘reparative’ readings, to use Eve Sedgwick’s famous formulation.