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  • Susie Bright's Blog

    Here's a blog that gets me where I live...Much food for thought on a regular basis!

    -Susie Bright

  • In the debauched world of INDIEROTICA, the thin bra-strap of a line between the seductive and the obscene is torn, stripped, and ripped off so often that one can have difficulty differentiating between the exploitative and truly erotic. Here to help us connect the dots is the brilliant and sexy REBECCA, author of the clever blog, PORN PERSPECTIVES. "Examining the interplay between pornography, feminism, economics, and technology", it's possibly the smartest sex on the internet.

    -Jess, INDIEROTICA.com

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You need to have written to have writer's block--otherwise we all have it

Word to the wise: If you want to kill any ability to commit words to a page you plan to show the world, read yourself some of Camille Paglia's spine-tinglingly scathing book reviews (search by byline). Or perhaps read More, Now, Again, Elizabeth Wurtzel's account of how she managed to create one of the sharpest products of modern feminism, Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women. The latter book--one of my all-time favorites--apparently required thousands of Ritalin pills, a few pounds of cocaine, and four months of treatment in Connecticut followed by intense outpatient treatment in New York.

One should read all the above regardless, but be warned.

Book Review: Prude

I’ve made little headway into Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!), and I already hate it. 

Which is tragic. I’d had high hopes for this one, what with its provocative (to me, at least) title. You see, in many circles I’d be considered a “prude.” My mother would agree, as evidenced by our somewhat overdue birds and bees sex talk when I was 18 in which she advised that I “loosen up a bit.”

My hope was that this book would be the smart feminist critique I’d been craving of drunk sorority girls, UGG boots with mini skirts, and Lindsay Lohan. I had hoped it would expand Ariel Levy’s progressive (and interestingly borderline conservative) argument in Female Chauvinist Pigs. I don’t know whether to blame the author or the publisher who I’m sure anticipate big bucks from the Christians, but there is no excuse this waste of paper. 

Prude spends the first few chapters citing example after example after example of scandalous behavior among juveniles. WE GET IT. Young girls are giving blowjobs at heretofore unforeseen levels. Yes, how terrible.

Liebau never manages to draw a more compelling conclusion beyond “girls who are sexually active too soon are proven to have higher rates of depression and suicide.” While I would hesitate to argue with such rock-solid evidence (how exactly does one quantify “too soon”?), this is BORING. The more important point here, which Liebau completely misses, is that this sort of behavior might interfere with feminist goals. Which begs the question of why young girls are flouting the feminist triumphs of previous generations. Which would lead to an interesting book. Which Prude is not.


Reading List

Given all the reading I've done over the past few years in the course of my research, I've come across a good book or two. Since I've already done all the legwork of separating the good from the mediocre, you may as well benefit. The below are books I recommend to those interested in pursuing a deeper understanding of porn and the industry that creates it. (But don't worry...you can still call your Internet downloads "research" if you want..I won't tell..)

By Women in Porn

This book just plain needed to be written, and I'm glad Milne took on the task. This collection of frank essays written by women voluntarily participating in the porn industry lays important groundwork. It provides a statement from women that yes, many women enjoy work in the porn industry. My hope is that future writers can point to this book to help move past the eternal feminist debate over whether porn is inherently exploitative, whether it degrades all women, etc etc and start making more interesting contributions to the discourse on porn. We'll see. But in the meantime, thanks to Milne for getting the ball rolling.

Highly highly highly recommended. Some complain the book is too long--bullshit! It's riveting. And with tons of photos, perfectly configured to hold the reader's interest.

Tristan Taormino is my posterchild for hope within the porn industry. She is the revolution!

By Snooty (but smart!) Intellectuals

I resisted reading this book for so long, assuming Levy was uptight and overly critical of sexual expression. Once I finally broke down and read the book, I was amazed both at her tenacity and her insight. Levy articulates beautifully just what is wrong with Girls Gone Wild and stripper poles at mainstream bars. It's a quick read and well worth it.

Both these books are an abolute delight. "Philosophy of Sex" is a collection of important essays by other philosophers, while "Porn, Sex..." is straight-up Soble hilarity. Through an irrepressible and irreverent wit, Soble makes a number of bold philosophical claims about pornography, feminism and sex.

This book rocked me hard. Susan Faludi wrote an incredible article on men in the porn industry for the New Yorker back in the 1990s, and between that article and this book her ability as a feminist investigative journalist is unparalleled. Every woman (and man for that matter) should read this book. People who say it's out of date are crazy--it's horribly relevant, which is sad considering it was written almost 20 years ago.

This is another book written decades ago but which maintains so much relevance today. I'm deeply troubled that it appears to be out of print. This product was a product of the 1982 Barnard College conference on Sexuality, the conference which sparked the so-called Sex Wars of the 1980s. Even if you can only find this book in the library, it is well worth seeking out--at the very least, read the introduction.

Kipnis' book contains the only thorough treatment I've read about class issues wtihin porn. Don't bother with her follow-up "The Female Thing"--this book contains much more fresh insight.

This book was the inspiration for my thesis. I'm sad to say it's a bit dated, having been published in the late 1990s at the cusp of the Internet boom, but it still provides tons of great analysis into the economic and technological components of the porn industry. Lane also chronicles the inception of internet porn and women's key role within it (though not to as great an extent as I'd have liked, hence my thesis).