Sex as Power

Throughout the reading, the theme of “sex as power” continues to be prevalent. In the encounters Jess has with the male football team and the several police officers, the men that rape her do so in a mocking way, a way to show their control of not only her body but of her . Each of these groups, the male football team and the police officers are seemingly at the highest position of power in their “field”, the boys don’t receive any repercussions from their actions even when the football coach walks by, and police in society are seen as those that are supposed to  enforce justice not work against it. Who is there to reprimand those that are supposed to do the reprimanding? It seems that their rape of Jess, the outsider, the one that goes against their sets of “knowns” and “ideals” of what society should look like, is their way of trying to restore their position of power and order as they see it. Jess acts as a threat to their “world”; a place where everything is how they believe it should be, she is the unknown. Their rape is a way to exude power over this unknown and try to control it for it seems that the sex in itself is more of an action (as Jess describes) than only for the purpose of pleasure by these men, emphasizing the theme of “sex as power”. This theme is also shown in Jess’s encounter with Monique. She doesn’t see Jess as anything more as a mean’s to and end, and Jacqueline describes her use of sex as her use of her power and control, again emphasizing this reoccurring theme.

  1. Do you think if Jess’s parent’s had been more accepting, Jess would have quit school?
  2. The scene in the psychiatric ward is mentioned but only briefly, what do you think is the significance of the other characters that are introduced?

One thought on “Sex as Power

  1. I wanted to talk about this in relation to another blog post about why Feinberg wrote this novel. And I think that her target audience was honestly people who weren’t necessarily as familiar or well read in queer literature. I think this because one of the biggest takeaways I got from Stone Butch Blues revolved around the “sex as power” motif, especially with the cops. I was painfully unaware of how abusive authorities were to the queer community.
    In regards to your first question, I don’t think that if her parents had been more accepting that she would have stayed in school, because i think it goes beyond just being heard. the fact that no one really did anything about it, outside of her parents even, is indicative of how life would be regardless in school.


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