Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Review: The Feminist Porn Book


Oh, porn. One of my favorite topics here at the Unlaced Librarian. And today I present to you one of my new favorite books on porn. The Feminist Porn Book: the politics of producing pleasure.  This book is a fantastic blend of academic and personal essays on feminist porn.

The four editors are diverse and powerful in their individual work: Feminist pornographer, educator, and host of “Sex Out Loud” Tristan Taormino, Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara Constance Penley, Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara Celine Parrenas Shimizu, and Associate Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara Mireille Miller-Young. Each editor also contributes an essay to the collection.

The essays include a fine spectrum of voices that tackle topics including race, trans perspectives, queer representations, anti-pornography rhetoric, teaching and studying porn, body identity, and “Knowing Dick.”

I will admit a couple of the essays helped me fall asleep at night but most of them were wonderfully engaging.

My area of expertise is disability and there was an essay regarding disability and porn (Out of Line: The Sexy Femmegimp Politics of Flaunting It by Loree Erickson). While I was so happy to see it included and loved reading it, I feel this area is still impoverished. While most other body identities and perspectives had more than one essay, our femmegimp was lone in her perspective.

I can understand this for a plethora of reasons, one being the stigma surrounding porn in general. But also, porn performance is hard work – there are definitely things I can’t participate in at kink events because of the limitations of my body and from my perspective, having sex on camera requires certain things that would be difficult for most disabled bodies. Not to mention the societal setbacks regarding sex and disability that would limit interest or desire to pursue a role in porn production. There are other reasons of course, but I don’t wish to get off track. I believe that there is a fantastic potential for disability in porn and I am so excited to see the seeds of this potential begin to take root.

In the spirit of the Feminist Porn Book, I am empowered by my body and my sexuality. And I also find erotic imagery, art, and porn empowering. There’s still uncharted territory. But with a little drive, a little lace, and my little library I hope you will join me and people like the contributors in this collection as we venture there and beyond.

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