Gayle Rubin’s article “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality” describes the idea of the “charmed circle”. Referring to sexuality Rubin begins to illustrate her idea of the “charmed circle” by challenging sexual essentialism (the idea that sex is a natural force) by saying that it is or can be socially created and that it is not transhistorical or eternally unchanging. This idea of the “charmed circle” creates certain ideas of femininity through advertising and movies, and puts great pressure and impact of the lives of people who do not fall into the “circle”. In this paper I will discuss how the media reinforces Rubin’s idea of the “charmed circle” through magazines such as Vogue or Glamour and through
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In movies like Sleeping Beauty we are taught that women need to be saved making them vulnerable and completely helpless. The “charmed circle” is also reinforced through the binary opposition assumed between white women and women of colour. In the next photo this woman of colour is not portrayed as the other women by not being seen as silent, or passive. Women of colour are seen as being outside the ideas of the “charmed circle” and femininity so they are often portrayed as sexually predatory and animalistic. In order for the “charmed circle” to be properly supported women can’t be seen as sexually aggressive or predatory.
These ideas of femininity and the “charmed circle” have damaging and sometimes even life threatening consequences for those that fall outside of these ideals. These ideals can cause a severe lack of self-esteem as a result of being constantly ostracized, and often subjected to violence. In Rubin’s article she points out that sodomy is still considered against the law in some states and people can be sentenced for up to 20 years. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) describes many of the acts that lie outside of the “charmed circle” such as transsexuality and exhibitionism as mental disorders and only recently removed homosexuality from the list. Through ideas such as this the “charmed circle” puts restrictions on those that lie outside of the