This introduction presents the various lived scenarios addressed by authors in this collection, in which women across diverse geopolitical sites confront questions of sexuality, gender and power. Each scenario involves different narratives of women’s sexuality being constructed by and about women. The chapter presents the central questions that each of the authors addresses in her analysis of these narratives of sexuality.
What do the narratives reveal about the tensions and contradictions in constructions of women’s bodies and sexualities? In these varying contexts, what scope exists for women to change repressive norms and conceptions of heterosexuality? The collection’s main focus is on the ways in which heterosexual women are themselves affected by normative heterosexuality and how women act to try and change the norms involved.
The chapter begins with an analysis of sexual politics in terms of the relations between heteronormativity and sexualities, followed by an exploration of the ways in which women’s empowerment has been conceptualised with regard to sexualities. The significance of context and change are highlighted before examining the ways in which diverse representations of sexuality, in different realms, may be understood as narratives.