Affective Dynamics and Young Women’s Sexual Subjectivity: The Case Study of the Israeli Practice of “Attacking”

Rachel Levi Herz, Miri Rozmarin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although young women’s sexual body is often objectified by cultural practices, analysis of their affective responses highlights various possibilities of sexual subjectification. This paper uses the case study of “attacking”—a common Israeli heterosexual practice—to address the emergence of young women’s sexual subjectivity, using affect theory to reveal the gap between affective responses, self-perceptions, and the perceived normativity of the practice. We address vulnerability as an affective pattern of the encounter of bodies with power formations, which also enables transformation. Drawing on interviews with 39 young Israeli women, we demonstrate how “attacking” evokes affective dissonance that illuminates their need to negotiate social meanings and self-perceptions, revealing new forms of collectivity and action that enable sexual expression even when facing vulnerability. This approach challenges the objectification–subjectification dichotomy and expands theorization beyond the focus on autonomy and control of sexual pleasure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-516
Number of pages18
JournalYoung
Volume31
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s).

Keywords

  • affective dissonance
  • affective responses
  • sexuality
  • vulnerability
  • young women
  • “Attacking,” sexual subjectivity

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