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From the Editors

We are delighted to welcome you to the fourth issue of the Journal of Feminist Scholarship, which offers a selection of articles that focus on phenomena of immediate interest and concern for feminist scholarship and activism: an analysis of the rescue narrative that underpins public policies to eradicate sex trafficking, an examination of the recent global protest movement of SlutWalks, an analysis of a groundbreaking literary conceptualization of female desire, and a "Viewpoint" article on third-wave feminism's conflicting use of intersectional and poststructuralist epistemologies.

Carrie N. Baker, in "An Intersectional Feminist Analysis of US Sex Trafficking Discourses, Law and Policy," demonstrates how current US discourse on sex trafficking takes the form of a rescue narrative that reinforces stereotypes of gender, sexuality, and nationality. This narrative frames and fuels current antitrafficking policies with their dominant focus on the rescue of victims and the prosecution of perpetrators, which, as Baker argues, will not resolve the problem of sex trafficking. Instead, Baker suggests that public policies should address structural conditions—economic inequalities, poverty, the cultural devaluation of women and girls, and the commodification of sex—that produce vulnerable populations, and empower these populations to address the inequalities that lie at the foundation of trafficking.

In "Slut Shaming, Sexual Agency, and SlutWalks," Joetta L. Carr offers an analysis of the global protest movement of SlutWalks. The SlutWalks movement is a very recent phenomenon and thus far there has been little scholarly work examining its development, import, and the debates it has generated. Carr's article aims both to present a summary snapshot of the movement since its inception in 2011 and to interrogate its efficacy and potential as a strategy of resistance to patriarchal control of women's bodies and sexualities. Carr argues that the SlutWalk phenomenon at the same time revives some memorable and successful tactics of past women's and gay rights protests and reflects the unprecedented realities of twenty-first-century social and political environments around the globe.

Lauren Applegate's article, "Breaking the Gender Binary: Feminism and Transgressive Female Desire in Lucía Etxebarria's Beatriz y los cuerpos celestes and La Eva futura/La letra futura," explores the deconstruction and rejection of binary gender categories in the writings of this acclaimed contemporary Spanish writer. While subjecting to probing scrutiny apparent gaps and contradictions in Etxebarria's feminist discourse, Applegate argues that the character of Beatriz, protagonist of Etxebarria's award-winning 1998 novel, provides a new literary model of female desire, a desire that is free to choose its object regardless of gender and refuses to abide by any fixed notions of gender identity or sexual orientation.

The "Viewpoint" essay continues with our now established practice of providing space for discussion and commentary on feminist scholarship and engagement. Susan Archer Mann's contribution to our Viewpoint series, "Third Wave Feminism's Unhappy Marriage of Poststructuralism and Intersectionality Theory," offers a critical reflection on the uneasy coexistence of these epistemological perspectives within the third wave of feminist thought and activism. While intersectionality and poststructuralism share a great deal of common theoretical ground, as Mann elaborates, at the same time they rely on distinct conceptions of power and political praxis. Mann dissects the claims of "polyphonic" thinking, unconcerned with contradiction and paradox, by many third-wave authors and concludes that the "lived messiness" of their epistemological positioning threatens political effectiveness of contemporary feminist agency, potentially leaving us with "scattered forms of resistance marching to different drums."

ISSN 2158-6179

© 2016 Journal of Feminist Scholarship
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