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J Homosex. 1985 Summer;11(3-4):1-17.

Breaking the mirror: the construction of lesbianism and the anthropological discourse on homosexuality.


This essay reviews the anthropological discourse on homosexuality by examining the assumptions that have been used by anthropologists to explain homosexual behavior, and by identifying current theoretical approaches. The essay questions the emphasis on male homosexual behavior as the basis for theoretical analysis, and points to the importance of including female homosexual behavior in the study of homosexuality. Cross-cultural data on lesbian behavior are presented and the influence of gender divisions and social stratification on the development of patterns of lesbian behavior are broadly explored. The article outlines suggestions for examining the cultural context of lesbian behavior as well as the constrains exerted on women's sexual behavior in various cultures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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