(Re)Claiming the Discourse of Desire: An Analysis of Women’s Erotic Texts

Amanda J. Swygart-Hobaugh M.L.S., Ph.D., Georgia State University


Upon critiquing MacKinnon and Dworkin’s (Dworkin 1981; MacKinnon 1986, 1987; MacKinnon and Dworkin 1997) stance against “pornography,” discussing the theoretical and linguistic obstacles besetting women’s sexual expression, and reviewing research literature examining romance novels, I then explored erotic short-stories written by women—or women’s “erotica”—as surfaces for the (re)clamation of women’s desire. Drawing from my analyses of fourteen erotic tales from two separate collections, I concluded that the selected corpus of women’s erotica demonstrates the multiplicity of women’s sexual voices and combats the hegemony of a male-centered discourse of desire.