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« Pop Feminist | Main | Book Review: Prude »

For Christmas this year, 19 boxes of obscenity

As I emerged from my local California post office, triumphant after dropping off another set of six 40 lb boxes full of books in what I can only describe as potentially the most epic transcontinental sex book relocation project undertaken thus far this century, a wave of appreciation washed over me.

Why, you ask? One would think that mailing 19 boxes (so far) of books to oneself in New York would be nothing but a royal pain in the ass. While my back is unlikely to forgive me for several months, my heart is nonetheless warmed to think of the years of incarceration I would be facing should I have attempted such a feat a mere century ago. (Or, you know, in another country today.)

The Comstock Act, enacted in 1873 (and declared unconstitutional in 1936 thanks to Margaret Sanger), aimed to cleanse America of vice through a restriction on the distribution of obscene material--including information about contraception--through the mail. While the contraception ban was declared unconstitutional, the remainder of the laws restricting the distribution of obscene material remain to this day. What has changed (and what keeps changing) is the definition of "obscenity".

Despite the persistent vestiges of this ludicrous act, I am nonetheless able to send these books (which span such topics as feminist theory, histories of sexuality, analyses of sexual behavior, and so forth) with little fear of the law. And for that, I am thankful.   


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*tear* mailing porn is indeed a great symbol of freedom.

"what I can only describe as potentially the most epic transcontinental sex book relocation project undertaken thus far this century"

IIIIII am officially 110% addicted to this blog.

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