Study Guide

You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down Sexuality

By Alice Walker

Sexuality

In You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down, it's the women who are capable of deep, emotional relationships, not the men. That's because Alice Walker sees women as more complicated and nuanced than men. These women are emotional, they're adventurous, and their needs—psychological and sexual—often can't be fulfilled by one person.

Walker's female characters need to express their sexuality on their own terms. They don't want to be hurried or forced into conventional molds. They do NOT want to be objectified. These strong women aren't willing to compromise their needs in the long run, even if they start off by choosing unsuitable partners. They know they need to make corrections if they're to live authentic, fulfilling lives.

Questions About Sexuality

  1. How are the female characters' relationships complicated by the presence of or their partners' use of porn?
  2. How does abortion affect Imani's sexuality or her thinking about sexuality?
  3. How does Walker portray sex within marriage?
  4. How is female sexual expression different from male sexuality in Walker's stories?

Chew on This

Walker's female characters view sexuality as something that belongs to the men in their lives; friendship belongs among women.

Pornography often relies on images of female enslavement to appeal to male sexuality—which is why Walker's women are so repulsed by it.

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