Female Perversions

Louise J. Kaplan, Author
Louise J. Kaplan, Author Nan A. Talese $24.95 (580p) ISBN 978-0-385-26233-0
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
Foot fetishist Gustave Flaubert preferred his mistress's slippers to her body. For the heroine of Madame Bovary , the sexually thwarted novelist created an adulterous provincial housewife who seems as burdened by gender conventions as Flaubert himself. Kaplan sees Emma Bovary as a woman enslaved by social stereotypes, her successive love relationships a series of dominance/submission games. A psychoanalyst and co-editor of the journal American Imago , the author of this hefty tome uses Flaubert's novel, the love lives of George Sand and Edith Wharton, and numerous clinical case studies to illustrate her thesis that perversions (sadomasochism, fetishism, cross-dressing, voyeurism, kleptomania, etc.) are gender-identity disorders. In Kaplan's view, women's perversions parody feminine gender ideals of innocence and submission, while men's perversions express forbidden and shameful feminine impulses. This masterful study breaks new ground in our understanding of sexuality, gender roles and the way modern society trivializes erotic expression. (Jan.)
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