I have already noted that the consciousness-raising novels were often seen derogatively as owing more to ideas generated by the Sexual Revolution than the feminist movement, and when it came to the massive success of writers like Erica Jong it was assumed that the titillating content of her work drew in the mass readership, rather than any new insights she may have had on feminism and contemporary relationships. Novels such as Fear of Flying were launched more noisily than the mad housewife novels at the turn of the decade; whatever Jong’s feminist or writerly credentials, Fear of Flying was also being aggressively marketed for its ‘sex appeal’. Lisa Alther’s Kinflicks was similarly marketed as a sexually explicit exploration of female desire and, given the huge success of Fear of Flying, it was inevitable that Alther’s novel would be branded similarly and that the publishers would be attempting the twin aim of marketing the novel both as a ‘woman’s book’ (a category feminism had made most lucrative for mainstream publishing) and one which could be read by both sexes as a thrilling take on the new sexual freedoms available to young people.
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