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Learning to Speak about the Controversial issues Essay (Book Review)

Vance’s Vision of Sex and Gender Issues: Pornography as a Means to Commercialize Man-and-Woman Relationships

In her book, Carole Vance makes the audience stand in the shoes of a woman and consider the issue of pornography from a perspective of a feminist and a woman’s rights protector. The author offers a new insight on the problem and provides a description of the legal case with the help of which the author proves her point concerning the humiliating and abusive implications of pornographic materials and explains the messages that the given materials send to the audience.

Taking the case of the attorney’s general commission on pornography, Vance conveys the idea that the latter has the most deplorable impact on people and their social behavior. Offering a considerable shift in gender roles and implying women humiliation, pornography was viewed by the author as a way to make efficient use of women’s vulnerability. In addition, it is quite peculiar that the issues of gender and sexuality were brought together in the given case.

According to the results of the case, the pornographic materials were considered to be the means that gradually led to insulting women and making them feel inferior to men. It is also worth noticing that the issue of degradation was viewed by the author from different angles, i.e. the social one and the cultural one.

On the one hand, the issue is obvious indeed, since the doubtless aim of pornographic materials is to humiliate women and offer the public an image of a submissive female and an object to satisfy men’s desire for lust. Thus, Vince’s idea that pornography should be banned and considered an anti-social and potentially dangerous phenomenon must be admitted as rather reasonable one.

On the other hand, though, it is important to mark that pornography has often been viewed as a social vault, the way for people to indulge into observing sexually explicit imagery instead of conducting the acts of violence against women in reality, which raises the question whether it is reasonable to prohibit the use and production of pornographic materials.

Therefore, it can be considered that the issue of pornography is more complicated than it seems. Despite the fact that pornographic materials are completely hideous and amoral for most people, the social function of pornography cannot be denied, which means that the elimination of pornography can have rather negative effects on the safety of society.

Nevertheless, pornography still must be taken as a serious threat to people’s sexual and emotional health. Since watching pornography is already considered a deviation from norm, people who indulge into watching the corresponding materials should definitely consider their sexual behavior and the probable complexes.

With regard to the above-mentioned, there can be no possible doubt that, with the help of Vance’s impressive work, the dreadful effect of pornographic materials has become obvious, which, in its turn, gives the reasons to believe that women abuse can be stopped. Moreover, the problem of gender and sexuality has become explicit. In addition, the scale of the problem, which has literally gained worldwide importance, has been stated.

Therefore, it can be suggested that the given work offers a deep insight on the issue of pornography and explains its key social effects, making it clear that the issue in question is an obvious threat to the social health, women’s safety and normal gender relationships.

Non-Heterosexual Relationships: A Point of View. Jeffery Weeks and His Unorthodox Ideas

Despite the fact that homosexual relationships are no longer an issue to be debated over and over again in the XXI century, Weeks marks that there are still certain misconceptions concerning the gay culture that need to be clarified.

Even though considerable time has passed since the homosexual relationships were considered abnormal and gays were viewed as specimens of abnormality in the sphere of sexual relationships, there are certain restrictions for gays in the modern world. Among the most notorious and the ones mentioned most frequently, the problem of gay families, namely, the fact that at present, homosexual people cannot make families in most countries, is brought into view.

According to the author, there can be no possible doubt that, with the advent of tolerance towards homosexual people, cultural changes took place and gay people obtained certain rights; however, Weeks mentions, the given rights are not enough to feel a part of the society.

Offering an extensive and all-embracing study of homosexual relationships, Weeks provides the proof that gay people can make families as well as the heterosexuals, which means there should be a chance for the homosexuals to build their own families.

It is remarkable that Weeks applies to the law and states that, according to the Constitution, people’s rights are equal and inalienable. Therefore, the gay people must be acknowledged as the ones who are capable of making strong, lifelong bonds and, therefore, creating their own families.

It is important that the author provides a detailed overview of the existing sources and portrays the relationships between gay couples rather honestly. Thus, Weeks makes it clear that, apart from the sexual relationships, there are very few differences between a heterosexual and a homosexual couples. Therefore, there should not be any restrictions as for the homosexual marriages, Weeks argues.

In addition, it is rather unexpected that the author embraces every single aspect of a family as a phenomenon, considering the social, the personal and even the political one.

Moreover, the author embraces not only the opinions of the Americans, but also the ideas that the African America population has concerning the issue, which is extremely important. Weeks makes his research an all-embracing study, thus, making the results of this research rather impressive and reliable for the further steps to be based on.

Apart from encouraging new researches, Weeks also conveys several essential ideas concerning gay couples and gay marriages. Explaining the homosexual idea of a family, the author ruins a number of prejudices efficiently, helping gay couples to be recognized as the phenomenon worth existing.

Despite the fact that the given study is really vats and impressive, there are certain constraints that should be talked over. First, it is obvious that Weeks could not embrace the entire number of gay couples and convey a full study.

Therefore, a number of essential details concerning gay couples have been left out. In addition, it is evident that Weeks takes a certain position concerning the issue. Thus, the judgments of the author cannot be viewed as independent and objective.

Nevertheless, the work made by the author is worth appreciation and must be considered as a solid proof to the fact that gay couples should have the same rights as the heterosexual ones.

Sheff Takes the Veil off the Phenomenon of Polyamorous Women: A Deeper Insight on the Issue

It cannot be argued that the modern society does not approve of women having several experiences of relationships with men, which is mainly due to the historical development of the social roles of men and women.

Indeed, according to what Elisabeth Sheff claims, even in the XXI century, when the boundaries of sexual relationships have shifted greatly, polyamory still remains one of the tabooed issues that are considered a social abnormality. Opening new horizons for the readers and the researches of the given problem, Sheff offers an exhaustive exploration of the issue.

One of the first details that strike the eyes is the approach undertaken by the researcher. Basing her study on solid methodology and offering considerable overview of the existing data concerning polyamory, Sheff makes it clear that the relationships between a woman and several men are quite possible and, therefore, acceptable.

Among the other details, the specific method chosen by the author deserves a specific attention. Comprising her personal observations with interviews, Sheff created a solid research based on real life experience, which makes the results even more important.

As for the course of the research and the results, one must mention that the author relates polyamorous relationships to social subjectivity. To be more precise, the social constraints that women face in the modern world presuppose that a woman should give vent to her feelings in her intimate relationships with men.

Therefore, the author sees polyamorous relationships between a woman and several men as a logical and practically inevitable result of a woman’s social role. In addition, according to the social morals, a woman must keep with monogamist relationships and to have only one sexual partner. The latter is also a kind of a restriction that is likely to lead to polyamorous relationships.

Sheff also enumerates the social factors which make women enter polyamorous relationships. Therefore, the author implies that the relationships involving several partners are not typical for women. In addition, the author explores such issue as “gender bending,” explaining the fact that the established gender behavior and gender roles are merely stereotypes and that gender fluidity can be observed in a number of cases.

Although Sheff is certain about the fact that women can change their roles easily and choose polyamorous relationships as an alternative to the established single-couple relations, one must keep in mind that people might not be ready yet for the abrupt switch to different ideas.

In addition, when it comes to such delicate issue as sexual relationships, the society tends to be extremely conservative. Therefore, the radical change in the attitudes and the acceptance of polyamorous relationships between men and women will not be accepted soon.

Nevertheless, the author offers a peculiar research which explains a lot about female social roles and the social restrictions that women are to face in contrast to men. With the help of Sheff’s research, one can see the results of the unfair treatment women received for years.

Moreover, the author offers the way to eliminate the consequences of the above-mentioned treatment. Therefore, Sheff’s research proves an essential step in the feminist fight for women’s rights to live the life they want.

D’Emilio about the Phenomenon of Gay Culture: Homosexuality Is More than a Biological Peculiarity

The norm is something that goes beyond questioning, whereas every single abnormality is the reasons for another all-embracing research. Among the issues that raise most questions at present, the causes of homosexuality are the most frequently discussed issues.

It is worth mentioning, though, that the explanations for homosexuality range from biological to societal and even cultural, which gives enough reasons for another research. According to D’Emilio, there is more than meets the eye about the factors that cause homosexuality.

It is quite peculiar that the author not only offers his explanations for the phenomenon of homosexuality, but also shows why a certain explanation is accepted by the society and why certain theories appeal to the homosexual themselves. Therefore, the author researches the issue of homosexuality in depth.

It is also quite unexpected that among the factors that concern homosexuality, the author considers political issues. D’Emilio claims that at certain points, homosexuality can serve as a protection shield for the opponents, with the existing political correctness code. Respecting the feelings of the sexual minority, the opponents are likely to compromise. Thus, homosexuality can be used as a means to prove one’s point, which is not quite right.

Hence, D’Emilio states that homosexuality must be perceived in the society only as a specific feature of someone’s personality and character, but not as an excuse for certain actions or statements. The author makes a legit point, since nowadays, the boundaries between tolerance towards homosexuals and permissiveness for the gay culture are somewhat blurred.

However, the above-mentioned are only the “side effects” of the key point that D’Emilio makes. According to the author, the main thing is the question whether homosexual people are born gay or whether people start homosexual relationships because of certain reasons.

Depending on whether gay people simply cannot live any other way or whether they try to be special and, thus, achieve certain goals, the attitude towards gay culture may change. For example, making efficient use of the political correctness standards, the people who have become gay due to certain factors are allowed to act in the way and do the things that heterosexual people cannot.

Therefore, the key argument of the author is whether the people who display their homosexuality openly can be considered sincere or if these people are merely trying to reach certain goals with the help of their specific sexual orientation.

D’Emilio is obviously right about the fact that people must not use their homosexuality as the excuse for certain deeds. In addition, the author proves the idea that homosexuality is not predetermined biologically. Thus, D’Emilio explains that alternative sexual orientation is rather the result of the outer factors, which seems quite reasonable. However, as the author marks, the final decision is yet to be made.

The given work helps to understand the mechanisms of social behavior for the homosexuals and see the facets of the conflict between the homosexual and the heterosexuals. Despite a slight subjectivity, the paper is still worth considering for all those interested in the relationships between the homosexuals and the society.

Considering all the peculiarities of the homosexual culture, one can possibly understand the way homosexuals perceive the world around and the culture of the straight people. Perhaps, with the help of these measures, people will be able to understand each other and be more tolerant towards each others’ peculiar features.

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"Learning to Speak about the Controversial issues." IvyPanda, 29 Mar. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/learning-to-speak-about-the-controversial-issues/.

1. IvyPanda. "Learning to Speak about the Controversial issues." March 29, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/learning-to-speak-about-the-controversial-issues/.


IvyPanda. "Learning to Speak about the Controversial issues." March 29, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/learning-to-speak-about-the-controversial-issues/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Learning to Speak about the Controversial issues." March 29, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/learning-to-speak-about-the-controversial-issues/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Learning to Speak about the Controversial issues'. 29 March.

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