Introduction / Saskia E. Wieringa and Evelyn Blackwood -- Sapphic shadows : challenging the silence in the study of sexuality / Evelyn Blackwood and Saskia E. Wieringa -- The politics of identities and languages : lesbian desire in ancient and modern India / Giti Thadani -- Lesbians, men-women, and two-spirits : homosexuality and gender in Native American cultures / Sabine Lang -- "What's identity got to do with it?" : rethinking identity in light of the Mati work in Suriname / Gloria Wekker -- Let them take ecstasy : class and Jakarta lesbians / Alison J. Murray -- Women in Lesotho and the (western) construction of homophobia / Kendall -- Tombois in West Sumatra : constructing masculinity and erotic desire / Evelyn Blackwood -- Desiring bodies or defiant cultures : butch-femme lesbians in Jakarta and Lima / Saskia E. Wieringa -- Negotiating transnational sexual economies : female MÄhÅ« and same-sex sexuality in "Tahiti and her islands" / Deborah A. Elliston -- How homosexuality became "un-African" : the case of Zimbabwe / Margrete Aarmo -- Women's sexuality and the discourse on Asian values : cross-dressing in Malaysia / Tan beng hui -- Sexual preference, the ugly duckling of feminist demands : the lesbian movement in Mexico / Norma Mogrovejo.
"Evelyn Blackwood and Saskia Wieringa have compiled thirteen essays from a group of historians, sociologists, and anthropologists who discuss same-sex desire among women outside the West, exploring female eroticism in such societies and cultures as India, Polynesia, Latin America, Native North America, and southern Africa. Female Desires offers compelling evidence against the commonly accepted notion that non-Western women are generally passive victims of male domination and compulsory heterosexuality. It also dispells the idea that same-sex female desire is rooted in Western neo-imperialist culture: contributors show non-Western women to be active agents of their own sexual identities. Essays include Giti Thadani on lesbian desire in ancient and modern India, Saskia Wieringa on butch-femme social types in Indonesia and Peru, and Norma Mogrovejo on the lesbian movement in Mexico. In a larger sense, the essays attempt to look past the ethnocentric categories in which sexuality, identity, and culture are often considered."--Publisher description.