The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century (Hardcover)
Thrilling, sharp, and deeply humane, philosopher Amia Srinivasan's The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century upends the way we discuss—or avoid discussing—the problems and politics of sex.
How should we think about sex? It is a thing we have and also a thing we do; a supposedly private act laden with public meaning; a personal preference shaped by outside forces; a place where pleasure and ethics can pull wildly apart.
How should we talk about sex? Since #MeToo many have fixed on consent as the key framework for achieving sexual justice. Yet consent is a blunt tool. To grasp sex in all its complexity—its deep ambivalences, its relationship to gender, class, race and power—we need to move beyond yes and no, wanted and unwanted.
We do not know the future of sex—but perhaps we could imagine it. Amia Srinivasan’s stunning debut helps us do just that. She traces the meaning of sex in our world, animated by the hope of a different world. She reaches back into an older feminist tradition that was unafraid to think of sex as a political phenomenon. She discusses a range of fraught relationships—between discrimination and preference, pornography and freedom, rape and racial injustice, punishment and accountability, students and teachers, pleasure and power, capitalism and liberation.
The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century is a provocation and a promise, transforming many of our most urgent political debates and asking what it might mean to be free.
About the Author
Amia Srinivasan is the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at All Souls College, Oxford, where she works on and teaches political philosophy, feminist theory and epistemology. She is a contributing editor at the London Review of Books. Her essays and criticism—on animals, incels, death, the university, technology, political anger and other topics—have also appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Harper’s, The Nation and TANK.
“Amia Srinivasan is an unparalleled and extraordinary writer—no one X-rays an argument, a desire, a contradiction, a defense mechanism quite like her. In stripping the new politics of sex and power down to its fundamental and sometimes clashing principles, The Right to Sex is a bracing revivification of a crucial lineage in feminist writing: Srinivasan is daring, compassionate, and in relentless search of a new frame.”
—Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror
“Amia Srinivasan reveals both the material opportunities and dead-ends of a century-long conscious trajectory towards female empowerment. The Right to Sex reminds us of the foundational complexities to Women's Liberation ideas and why we are still grappling with them. This gathering of evidence invites readers to create new knowledge.”
—Sarah Schulman, author of Let the Record Show
“From its luminous beginning words, Amia Srinivasan’s magnificent first book announces itself as a classic. Already one of our most superlative philosophers and stylish essayists, Srinivasan shows that concern for the plight of the most oppressed is never disconnected from general explorations of and movements for free lives for everyone, and the renovated social order our common future requires.”
—Samuel Moyn, author of Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War (forthcoming)