Feminist Porn Book, The Paperback – 14 Mar 2013
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"What a bold, brave and essential undertaking The Feminist Porn Book is... the punk, DIY ethics, politics and positivity of the contributors are infectious, and although many readers might find that the book raise more questions than it answers, as a starting point, it's a powerful, important resource." --For Books Sake
About the Author
Tristan Taormino is a sex educator, feminist pornographer, and the award-winning author of seven books including "The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women" and "Opening Up." As head of Smart Ass Productions, she has directed and produced twenty-four adult films. She is the host of Sex Out Loud on The VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network.
Filmmaker and film scholar Celine Parrenas Shimizu is professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her books are "Straitjacket Sexualities" and "The Hypersexuality of Race," winner of the 2009 Cultural Studies Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies.
Constance Penley is professor of film and media studies and co-director of the Carsey-Wolf Center, University of California, Santa Barbara. A founding editor of "Camera Obscura," her work includes "The Future of an Illusion: Film, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis," "NASA/TREK: Popular Science and Sex in America," "Teaching Pornography" (forthcoming), and influential collections "Feminism and Film Theory," "Male Trouble," and "Technoculture."
Mireille Miller-Young is associate professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She researches and teaches about race, gender, and sexuality in popular culture and the sex industries. Her book, "A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women, Sex Work, and Pornography" (Duke University Press) examines African American women s sex work in the porn industry.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I'm a feminist with a bachelor's in Women's Studies. I'm deeply familiar with feminist arguments for and against pornography. I can quote Andrea Dworken in my sleep.
Here's what I love about this book. It includes a deep variety of perspectives on feminism(s) and pornography. It's intersectional. It discusses race, class, gender (in it's diversity), and the impact of capitalism on the attempt to produce a feminist product. And it does so by doing something utterly feminist, it relies on the voices of those who do the work as well as the voices and analyses of academics. It also doesn't hesitate to voice ambivalence.
Feminism, sexuality, and pornography are complicated topics. Sometimes the answers aren't easy or concise. What's needed is dialogue and thoughtful consideration. This book sets the stage for those conversations.
If you are interested in gender or sexuality, this book is absolutely a must read.
On my own journey of discovery of what this genre of porn is all about, and how to locate quality end products, I found the biggest challenge has been that information is scattered and can be hard to access, until you know where to look. But, The Feminist Porn Book, changes that. As far as I'm aware it's the first book of it's kind to bring all the key information together in the one spot, providing an excellent starting point for exploring the concept, creation, and development of this different, expanded definition of what porn is, and can be (and also where to find the good stuff!)
This is in no way a dry, purely education tome though. The list of contributors is extremely impressive, and varied, making each chapter a new reading adventure, taking you on a journey of understanding as to what differentiates feminist porn from other forms of porn, and the philosophy, experience and aims of this genre, from the inside out, and upside down.
I was struck by the depth and breadth of the candid insights provided by the all of the contributors, which include academics, producers and actors, each of whom provide their own intelligent, well informed and considered perspectives and debate, on their experiences of studying, producing, performing in and defining feminist porn.
Having a strong academic leaning myself, I found the chapters on the historical analysis of porn, and the development of feminist porn from an academic perspective fascinating. And on a more personal level I was very taken with being given the unique opportunity to read about the producers and actors experiences and feelings about participating in the production of feminist porn, and how they are redefining the widely held negative beliefs about women in porn to ones of empowerment, freedom of sexual expression, and pleasure.
The Feminist Porn Book provides not only an education and deeper understanding of what feminist porn is all about, but is also underpinned by a broader philosophical approach to sexuality; that of it being something to celebrate, embracing how we see and enjoy our own and other peoples bodies, and the freedom and joy that can be found in peoples own, unique forms of sexual expression, desire and arousal. The Feminist Porn Book gives the reader an alternative, refreshing, uplifting and contemporary approach to porn, one, which I believe, has been long overdue.
If The Feminist Porn Book doesn't end up on the recommended reading lists at universities teaching Sociology, Psychology and media studies, and on the bookshelves of anyone who has any degree of interest in sexual expression and exploration, I'll be very surprised!
While I can complain about how similar it is to a textbook I cannot complain about the quality of the writing or the content. The content was wonderful. It covered everyone; I was especially excited that it covered trans-women, queer women and women of color and had an essay from one of my sex-positive idols, Tristan Taormino.
The blurb I received with the book: "If this doesn't sway anti-porn feminists to the pro-porn feminist side, I'll eat my bra." --Annie Sprinkle
That quote is actually one of the reasons I requested this book. I grew up thinking porn was no good for women's image and it was something we couldn't possibly enjoy so that was the mindset I was in when I started the book. And, quite frankly, what I'd seen for free on the internet reinforced this mindset. This book actually did sway me. Hearing the voices of porn entrepreneurs, women, made me realize that it's okay to get turned on by erotic videos and a lot of women who act in porn actually do enjoy it (something I adamantly denied prior to reading this book).
This inspired me to do my own research. Tristan Taormino is one of the editors of the FPB and she is also created porn and I looked up her work. It really was fantastic; attention was paid to the women in the video and it was arousing while being educational. It totally blew what I knew about porn out of the ball park.
My book is overwhelmed with post-it flags that formed a large dent in my wallet but was well worth it. It was tagging ideas every few paragraphs and it's hard to pick which ones to report on. Nina Hartley was wonderfully non-apologetic in her essay, details her introduction to the porn world and her rise in it. Her story was one of the stories that had the most impact on me rethinking how I viewed porn.
I'm giving The Feminist Porn Book 4 stars because it was difficult to get through but the subject material was superb. Feminist Press gave me a copy of The Feminist Porn Book in exchange for an honest review.
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