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Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk about Sexuality and Intimacy

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In a culture driven by sexual and racial imagery, very few honest conversations about race, gender, and sexuality actually take place. In their absence, commonly held perceptions of black women as teenage mothers, welfare recipients, mammies, or exotic sexual playthings remain unchanged. For fear that telling their stories will fulfill society's implicit expectations about In a culture driven by sexual and racial imagery, very few honest conversations about race, gender, and sexuality actually take place. In their absence, commonly held perceptions of black women as teenage mothers, welfare recipients, mammies, or exotic sexual playthings remain unchanged. For fear that telling their stories will fulfill society's implicit expectations about their sexuality, most black women have retreated into silence. Tricia Rose seeks to break this silence and jump-start a dialogue by presenting, for the first time, the sexual testimonies of black women who span a broad range of ages, levels of education, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Both brilliantly conceived and sensitively executed, Longing to Tell is required reading for anyone interested in issues of race and gender.


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In a culture driven by sexual and racial imagery, very few honest conversations about race, gender, and sexuality actually take place. In their absence, commonly held perceptions of black women as teenage mothers, welfare recipients, mammies, or exotic sexual playthings remain unchanged. For fear that telling their stories will fulfill society's implicit expectations about In a culture driven by sexual and racial imagery, very few honest conversations about race, gender, and sexuality actually take place. In their absence, commonly held perceptions of black women as teenage mothers, welfare recipients, mammies, or exotic sexual playthings remain unchanged. For fear that telling their stories will fulfill society's implicit expectations about their sexuality, most black women have retreated into silence. Tricia Rose seeks to break this silence and jump-start a dialogue by presenting, for the first time, the sexual testimonies of black women who span a broad range of ages, levels of education, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Both brilliantly conceived and sensitively executed, Longing to Tell is required reading for anyone interested in issues of race and gender.

30 review for Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk about Sexuality and Intimacy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I learned that if all women acknowledged a lot of the pain and suffering that they endured in their lifetimes, they would value themselves and their worth (for lack of a better word) so differently. Additionally, I learned that a lot of african american women from different generations are going through the same issues, if only we would talk to each other about it and talk to our daughters, then we can really start something.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Monique

    Tricia Rose turns academic research into a literary masterpiece. She interviewed 20 African American females with various ethnic backgrounds, broad range of age, and socioeconomic upbringing. Rose organized the real life commentaries on sex, intimacy, relationships, and race into a narrative that will carry you through a broad range of emotions. The women speak truth to situations that happen in every day life but are considered taboo in the African American community. Rose starts the book with Tricia Rose turns academic research into a literary masterpiece. She interviewed 20 African American females with various ethnic backgrounds, broad range of age, and socioeconomic upbringing. Rose organized the real life commentaries on sex, intimacy, relationships, and race into a narrative that will carry you through a broad range of emotions. The women speak truth to situations that happen in every day life but are considered taboo in the African American community. Rose starts the book with a discussion about the negative stereotypes in regards to sex and intimacy that are portrayed about the African American female in the media. The purpose of the book was developed as an attempt to answer the question, "how has the history of race, class, and gender inequality in this country affected the way that black women talk about their sexual lives?" Rose answered this question and much more. Longing to Tell is a mirror image of African American female sexuality in contemporary society as well as an oral history that serves as a vibrant presentation for everyday readers and scholars alike. The stories are captured and categorized into three different areas: Through the Fire; Guarded Heart; and Always Something Left to Love. The women, whose names and locations have been changed to protect their anonymity, openly discuss their sexual history; how they learned about sex, masturbation, orgasms, and experience of first menstruation, virginity, pregnancy, and motherhood; sexual abuse, rape, sexism, sexual fantasy and sexual orientation. Some of the tales in the book are horrendous such as incest, rape, domestic abuse and sexual harassment but while knocked down these women were not knocked out. Many tell about the love from friends, family and at times even the smiles of strangers brought them back from the depths of despair. The stories are all different and engaging as their experiences were dynamic while thought provoking. Does your definition of sexuality characterize how you live life? Longing To Tell is an extraordinary account on how African American women survive despite the incredible odds against them. As an adjunct professor of African American Studies, I highly recommend this book as a study into the mind of black women. As an avid reader, I strongly encourage you to read this book as a motivational guide on finding your way out of the struggle. African American women are the cornerstones of modern society and this book proves that!

  3. 5 out of 5

    T.

    I really wanted to love this book. However, I felt like most of the stories sounded exactly alike, with the same "voice". I really wanted to love this book. However, I felt like most of the stories sounded exactly alike, with the same "voice".

  4. 5 out of 5

    J

    (FROM JACKET)In a culture driven by sexual and racial imagery, very few honest conversations about race, gender, and sexuality ever take place. In their absence, commonly held perceptions of black women as teenage mothers, welfare recipients, mammies, or exotic sexual playthings remain unchanged. For fear that telling their stories will fulfill society's implicit expectations about their sexuality, most black women have retreated into silence. In this groundbreaking book, Tricia Rose breaks the (FROM JACKET)In a culture driven by sexual and racial imagery, very few honest conversations about race, gender, and sexuality ever take place. In their absence, commonly held perceptions of black women as teenage mothers, welfare recipients, mammies, or exotic sexual playthings remain unchanged. For fear that telling their stories will fulfill society's implicit expectations about their sexuality, most black women have retreated into silence. In this groundbreaking book, Tricia Rose breaks the silence by presenting, for the first time, the in-depth sexual testimonies of black women. Spanning a broad range of ages, levels of education, and socioeconomic backgrounds, nineteen women, in their own words, talk with startling honesty about sex, love, family, relationships, body image, and intimacy. Their moving stories provide revealing insights into the many ways black women navigate the complex terrain of sexuality. Compelling, surprising, and powerful, "Longing to Tell" is sure to jump-start a dialogue and will be required reading for anyone interested in issues of race, gender, and sexuality.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jacquelyn Fusco

    Difficult to read, but important.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Saysha Wilson

    This book is not really a story,but a collection of stories and interviews from different women. I am really enjoying reading this! In between books that I am reading..I pick this one up

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tifanny Burks

    Although the concept of the book is really good the delivery was not all that. Seemed like I was re-reading the same story page after page. I would have to say, there was some pieces of the book that resonated and was affirming to read from other black women because a lot of times you go through trauma and you feel alone in your struggle. Overall, I think I would’ve been more engaged if I felt more of a connection with the story sharers. All names, locations and occupations were changed and afte Although the concept of the book is really good the delivery was not all that. Seemed like I was re-reading the same story page after page. I would have to say, there was some pieces of the book that resonated and was affirming to read from other black women because a lot of times you go through trauma and you feel alone in your struggle. Overall, I think I would’ve been more engaged if I felt more of a connection with the story sharers. All names, locations and occupations were changed and after awhile everything just started to bleed together.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nichelle

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nyasha Temples

  10. 5 out of 5

    Terrion

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  14. 4 out of 5

    Vaughan Frederick

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anton Dounts

  16. 4 out of 5

    Telesha Frazier

  17. 5 out of 5

    SOVEYM

  18. 4 out of 5

    beverly

  19. 4 out of 5

    Summer

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kelley

  23. 5 out of 5

    Arnita

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julia Bailey

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tashal

  28. 4 out of 5

    Justin

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Jones

  30. 5 out of 5

    Polly C Weiss

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