Calls for Submissions
New feminist quarterly THE RADICAL NOTION calls for women to come together in discussion and debate for the development of a contemporary feminist class politics. If you would like to add to the breadth of voices and experiences in these pages, please consider sending us your work.
We welcome book, TV or film reviews; interviews and conversations; journalism and current affairs; personal essays or speculative reflections; creative works, art and photography, satire, poetry and fiction; papers and articles; short pieces of analysis and long reads. We will also be delighted to publish your responses to previous articles. Lastly, we warmly invite pieces of writing for our Regular features (detailed below).
We ask that authors write in an accessible style, bringing non-experts with you into your knowledge. Submissions may, of course, bridge the personal and the political. They may be controversial, as long as they are respectful, honest and thoughtful. Women of all nationalities, classes, backgrounds and ethnicities are invited to submit their contributions, from any subject area that touches on women’s lives, our cultural and social projects, and our rights. The editors especially encourage words and images with an international scope, from women living outside Europe and North America, and from women of colour.
Please share this call widely
There are no particular length restrictions, though texts are usually between 650 and 6500 words. Send your submissions as attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org, including your name or pseudonym and a 100-word biography. Please see our Style Sheet for contributors for more information about our house style and formatting guidelines.
– Desire –
Desire can be one of the ways that reality can pierce through politics.
In the world of hot, it’s natural to focus on friction, which is what produces heat. Sex becomes bump-and-grind; the friction produces the heat, and the heat makes the sex good. What if our sexual activity — our embodied connections — could be less about heat and more about light?
That deep and irreplaceable knowledge of my capacity for joy comes to demand from all of my life that it be lived within the knowledge that such satisfaction is possible
Sexuality is a dimension of social life. Our sexual practices and desires can reinforce gender and other norms, just as they can become a site of resistance and liberation. While queer theory seeks to dismantle taboos, one age-old sexual norm — male dominance and female submission — is not going anywhere. Male supremacy continues to be heavily eroticized, not just in sadomasochistic sex acts but also with representations of women in positions of doe-eyed fragility or hypersexualized enslavement.
Women’s own desires are turned against us by a society which seeks to distort and control those desires then sell them back to us through a ‘choice feminism’ in which oppression is understood only as a lack of choice and choices to collude with patriarchal sexuality repackaged as liberation. Outfitters of desire such as the pornography industry can then rely on what Andrea Dworkin calls “the pervasive, self-congratulatory, indolent, male-supremacist assumption that the use of women in pornography is the sexual will of the woman, expresses her sexuality, her character, her nature.” But necessity is not liberation: true consent is an expression of positive desire, an index of a woman’s own want.
Repackaging patriarchal sexuality as agency avoids the challenge of how to formulate and express positive, non-dominating desire between ourselves and others. We also need to return to Audre Lorde’s ‘Uses of the Erotic,’ which frees sexual energy from the bedroom, revealing it as a profound and replenishing inner resource that brings fulfilment and satisfaction to those women who dare to harness it. This version of the erotic is a deep knowing; a feeling of rightness; the flourishing creativity of women living, working, enjoying themselves, alone and in community. With this capacity for joy comes power. “Women so empowered are dangerous,” proclaims Lorde.
Within this broad theme, the editors encourage you to interpret Desire as widely as possible. We welcome your suggestions for topics, as the following are by no means comprehensive:
- Why is sex such a central issue for feminist politics?
- Sex and male dominance: sadomasochism; BDSM; control; violence; the ‘rough sex’ defence. The critique of pornography.
- What is sexual trauma? What aspects of women’s sexual experience are traumatizing and why? Is sexual coercion more damaging than other forms of coercion? If so, why?
- Trauma responses: addiction, depression, anorexia, dissociation, self-effacement, self-harm.
- Is heterosexual sex inherently traumatizing for women? Dworkin’s Intercourse, the metaphysics of penetration.
- Male entitlement; masculine responsibility for owning their desire. Rape, sexual harassment, possession, jealousy and envy, incels.
- Rape culture. Conservative ways of naturalizing male sexual dominance. Religion. Psychoanalysis. Evolutionary psychology?
- Being desired vs. desiring? Are women so oriented to male desire that we often don’t know what we want ourselves? The male gaze.
- The ‘Sex Wars.’ ‘Sex negativity’ and ‘sex positivity.’ Analysis and critiques of both sides. Is this framing helpful?
- Radical feminist critiques of male dominance sometimes slip into puritanism. How can we critique harmful sexual practices without being caricatured as conservative?
- Can we eroticize equality?
- Consent: problems with conceptual framing. Does affirmative consent do what we need it to do?
- ‘Choice feminism’ vs. critiques of harmful choices. What can we consent to? ‘Maintenance sex.’
- Should we exercise control over how our desires manifest themselves? The ethics of desire.
- Taboo sex. Bestiality, incest, paedophilia. Fetishes and paraphilias.
- What is desire? How do we understand the interaction of animality and culture in the formation of desire?
- ‘Born this way’ narratives of homosexuality. Political lesbianism. Conversion therapy.
- Shame and sexual repression.
- Queer-theory understandings of desire, and their critiques. Should we have sexual norms?
- Lacanian and Freudian psychoanalytic models of desire as lack.
- Positive and negative modes of desire. Positive and negative expressions of desire.
- Is there a difference between masculine and feminine modes of sexual pleasure? Are these cultural and/or biological?
- Sexuality and creativity. Creativity and women’s power.
- Feminist erotic fiction. What is the difference between pornography and erotica?
- What are the political implications of controlling and damaging women in their sexuality?
- Sexual practices and wisdom for women.
- Love and care. Desire, intimacy, dependency, vulnerability.
- Young lesbians today. Lesbian desire as a transformative political force.
- Detransitioners’ stories.
- Female bisexuality. Febfems.
- The clitoris: women’s anatomy. The myth of the vaginal orgasm?
- Sexual disorders. Erectile dysfunction. Vaginismus.
- Capitalism and the manufacture of desire. Media and social media. Advertising and beauty standards.
- ‘Opium of the masses’: sex and religion, desire and transcendence.
Please send your contributions, poems, art, or full written submissions to email@example.com by 15 January 2022.
‘Both/And’ is a semi-regular feature that aims to break down oppositional ‘Either/Or’ thinking in favour of the ‘Both/And’ thinking of difference and connection. It will stage contemporary feminist debates in this light, creating a space for differing and perhaps irreconcilable perspectives to co-exist.
• A View From
‘A View From’ is a regular feature which gathers impressions and analysis of the impact of trans ideology and its effect on feminism and women’s rights across the globe. We ask for contributions from our sisters everywhere in the world to recount the situation in their nation or nations, in any manner, from reporting to personal reflection, and everything in between.
• Feminist Toolkit
‘Feminist Toolkit’ is a semi-regular column created to offer short summaries of core feminist arguments, explanations of feminist theoretical or political terms, and brief histories of the global women’s movement. If you’d like to write a segment for us explaining an aspect of feminism in an accessible way, please get in touch.
• Feminists Ask Questions
In the spirit of open interrogation, we invite questions for the editors. Questions will be published and answered in this short regular feature, ‘FAQ.’ Quiz the editors about our editorial stance on issues you care about; get answers about things in feminist thought that don’t make sense; ask us for our understanding or analysis of current events.
The editors invite public letters from our readership. Please email letters as attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org, thereby giving consent for your letter to be printed in a forthcoming issue. Please include a name or pseudonym and, if possible, the country you reside in. Letters may be abridged or edited for publication.
‘Extra-Feminist’ is a semi-regular feature designed to introduce readers to concepts and methodologies developed outside feminist critical traditions that are useful in feminist projects. Knowledge, concepts and practical experience from fields as diverse as accounting, ecology, gardening, economics, politics, activism, psychology, history, law, linguistics, sport, computing and architecture can be brought to bear on feminist questions and activities. Contact us if you have expertise that you’d like to share with the feminist movement.
Do you run a woman-orientated business? Would you like the opportunity to advertise to the subscribers of THE RADICAL NOTION? We are looking for classified ads from women-focused and women-run services with a feminist ethos – from handywomen to feminist lawyers, from charities and non-profits to local, national and international businesses. One free classified ad per year available for annual subscribers. Please email email@example.com for more information.