What we are given . . . is abundant evidence of a masculine ideal that directs and reinforces behavior; one which, by posing as a norm, impels adaptation to a constructed situation. . . . Sexual difference should not be seen as a function of gender . . . but as a historical formation, continually produced, reproduced and rigidified in signifying practices.

Kate Linker, “Representation and Sexuality”

CURRENT INTELLECTUAL FASHION dictates an automatic distrust of the historical record as it has been (falsely) constructed by dominant culture. Still, history, simply by repeating itself, can teach us how hard it is to learn from our mistakes. The past is constantly being revived or reinterpreted; variations of the same tale, told over and over again. And what is this story about, this idea that never loses its interest for us? It’s about power and control, often enacted through sex, understood

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