My blog is currently under construction while I get some new and exciting projects up and happening on the webosphere but something really exciting has happened that I really have to tell you all about, ready or not.
I have long admired the Center for Sex and Culture (based in San Francisco) for their fantastic sex-education resources, advocacy, research, and sex industry support. CSC ensures that themes of sex, sexuality and gender are not excluded from the realm of the ‘cultural’, have an impressive library/media archive and was co-founded by sex-positive feminist pioneer, Carol Queen (also the Staff Sexologist and Chief Cultural Officer at Good Vibrations - home to the ‘Antique Vibrator Museum’ which I visited when I was in San Francisco last year). I couldn’t possibly list all of Queen’s achievements but you can check out her website for more information. Most notably for me, she coined term ‘pomosexual’ meaning a person who avoids sexual orientation labels or a ‘post-modern sexual’. It’s obvious her terminology is somewhat tongue-in-cheek when you consider another term coined by Queen, ‘absexuality’ – meaning a sexual orientation embraced by conservative anti-pornography critics, desiring to oppress pornographic material and its advocates, as a kind of ‘kink’ in itself. The ‘absexual’ gets off on imposing their own sexual conventions on those who they piously deem too ignorant and/or irrevocably wanton to realise the misguidedness of their sex-positive, pro-porn musings. So regardless of the fact that ‘pomosexual’ is still technically another sexual orientation label, the whole thing is pretty ironic and I’m totally down with the concept as you will have guessed if you read my post on political correctness. Essentially, Carol Queen has informed many of my own ideas about porn and sex-positivity. The CSC advisory board includes some other critical sex-positive VIPs such as Betty Dodson, Nina Hartley and Violet Blue to name a few.
Which brings me to the exciting news. Being a highly multi-functional space, the Center for Sex and Culture includes a gallery space. In August last year, CSC opened their first juried show “Doing Your Dirty Work: A Sampler of Contemporary Art About Sex” and yours truly has been added to this year’s group show for the second annual “Doing Your Dirty Work” exhibition. The exhibition runs from July 5th (opening reception 7-10pm) until August 30th (closing reception 7-10pm). I’m very sad to say I’ll be unable to make the show myself because I’m stuck here in Australia with extremely limited funds but I hope that some of my readers in the San Francisco area will be able to make it at some point during the exhibition. You might even want to ‘attend’ the facebook event too.
The event description reads as follows:
Despite San Francisco’s reputation for a sexually frank and diverse culture, art dealing with sexuality is as marginalized here as anywhere. The theme of our second annual juried show is much the same as the mission of the CSC gallery; to provide a space for work that addresses sexuality and sexual identity and upholds a high standard of artistic merit.
Doing Your Dirty Work aims to stand as evidence that art about sex is every bit as valid, complex, compelling, beautiful, ugly and sophisticated as art ever is. Our call for submissions, expressing this simple notion, generated hundreds of responses from all over the country. Many, as expected, were submissions from artists whose sexual work is excluded from their otherwise successful careers. Many were from artists whose careers are limited by the sexual content of their work.
We have selected art that runs from comical to carnivorous and from haute to hairy. Like The Center for Sex and Culture itself, there is something for almost everyone.
I agree with that mission statement 100% and I am exceptionally excited to be involved in this year’s “Doing Your Dirty Work” exhibition.
Here’s a selection of some of my favourite artists who exhibited at last year’s instalment and/or will be exhibiting alongside me in the next two months.
Because it’s such a hot topic at the moment – lets go. Ukraine-based Femen is a movement started in 2008 to protest the growing sex industry in the country. They label themselves as founders of a ‘new wave of feminism of the third millennium’ and go topless with diluted, even meaningless, slogans like ‘liberation’, ‘freedom’ and ‘nudity is freedom’ written across their chests. Group leader Inna Shevchenko reasons that Femen’s topless protests are “the battle flags of women’s resistance, a symbol of a woman’s acquisition of rights over her own body”. As though nudity is somehow synonymous with freedom. A keystone of the patriarchal system reduces women to their bodies and their sexuality negating their intellectual abilities and women who cannot please the male gaze are rendered socially invisible. While Femen claim to combat this form of Partriarchy, they are actively playing into it.
Femen staged a topless protest outside the Olympic Stadium in Kiev ahead of the Euro 2012 draw. The purpose? They were accusing UEFA of trying to persuade the Ukrainian government to legalize prostitution. On January 25th, the Femen website announced that “the FEMEN movement believes that brothels are sex-concentration camps for woman, and the sex-industry as a whole is the modern embodiment of fascism and genocide”. They have staged a number of slut-shaming protests on what appears to be relatively low-key strip teases championing classic anti-pornography sentiments like Andrea Dworkin’s “porn is the theory, rape is the practice”.
Their chants “go rape yourself” at this event were met with the spokesperson saying, “thank you, you are porn stars” and they have no camaraderie directed towards their female ‘sister’ on stage. So I am hard pressed to see what they expected to achieve at such an event.
Studies conducted in 2011 suggest that 50,000 women work as sex workers in the Ukraine with every sixth sex worker being a minor. The laws criminalizing prostitution and the penalties for human trafficking were made more severe in 2005 but have had little effect on organized and coerced prostitution. Importantly, sex work is not the same as trafficking. Trafficking involves force, fraud and/or coercion and often includes people under 18, who are exploited and suffer other injustices such as rape and beatings – which of course, we must work to abolish in the sex industry as vigilantly as in any other situation where a person is at risk. The merging of these issues in the public eye harms the treatment of sex workers who work under non-trafficked conditions and perpetuates policies and practices that make it harder to support trafficked persons. Laws that work to criminalize all sex work don’t work. Hooking isn’t going anywhere; there is a genuine demand for the service and many workers who are willing to provide that service to support themselves and/or their families. Unfortunately, many unwilling workers and/or trafficked persons continue to be forced into sex work. This is where legislation should be focusing its efforts, rather than making blanket statements and rules about the incredibly diverse and expansive industry. For the Ukraine, the decriminalization of sex work could help to contain the growth of illegal brothels and street prostitution; reduce the illegal industry; eliminate the involvement of organized crime in prostitution; end child prostitution and sex trafficking; and make sex workers safer. Unfortunately, it’s obviously not that simple as can be seen when full-service sex work was legalized in Germany – there was talk about securing proper contracts, health insurance, pensions etc. that did not materialize due to holes in the legislation. Either way getting your tits out with slogans like “prostitution is genocide”, “sex industry is fascism” seems quite backward to me – they are, afterall, using their sexuality to sell a message themselves. At an event primed to incite male desire through female nudity, they have simply put themselves in the spotlight and not transformed the way these men look at the female body.
Shevchenko is also cited championing classic anti-feminist clichés like “classic feminism is a sick old woman, it does not work anymore. It is stuck in the world of conferences and books.” Perhaps if Shevchenko had been to some of these conferences or read some of these books she would be able to recognize the profound ignorance and underlying misogyny in this statement. As self-appointed leader of this ‘new feminism’ and speaking for Femen she states that “the existing French feminist movements aren’t for young women—they’re for intellectual women who look like men, who negate sexuality, the fact that a woman can be feminine” (Rue89). Older women, intellectual women or women who do not conform to the male gaze are now devoid of sexuality and femininity! Thank Goddess Femen have stepped up to the plate to show us you can be female, young, beautiful AND have nothing particularly interesting to say. Oh wait, that’s a popular stereotype.
Russian feminist punk-rock collective Pussy Riot and Femen are often confusedly linked and Femen were eager to associate their protests and goals to the growing profile of Pussy Riot post their ‘Punk Prayer’ protest staged in Moscow’s largest church to the Virgin Mary. The group staged a number of ‘Free Pussy Riot’ demonstrations and rallies, including Shevchenko’s demonstration on the day of the Pussy Riot verdict which entailed her taking a chain-saw to a massive wooden cross in central Kyiv erected on public land by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Femen described the cutting down of the cross as an act of solidarity with Pussy Riot. Shevchenko later admitted in an interview that the group had not known the history of the cross and Pussy Riot rejected the act of ‘solidarity’. While they share the same appearance (young, female, confrontational and fearless), Pussy Riot member Mariia Alekhina was quick to emphasize in an interview in Russian newspaper Novaia Gazeta that
“[we] share the same sudden appearance and protest against authoritarianism, but we look at feminism differently especially the type of our actions. We have never stripped and never will. The latest action cutting down the cross unfortunately doesn’t create any feeling of solidarity.”
While Pussy Riot has now deemphasized their critique of the Russian Orthodox Church, Femen has moved their headquarters to Paris and have broadened their religious critique to focus on Islam, stating that the principle manifestations of Patriarchy are religion, the sex industry and dictatorship.
Regardless of their shared focus on the relationship between church and state emerging in the post-Soviet political environment over the past twenty years, Pussy Riot protests have focused on Putin as the source of oppression, whereas Femen has increasingly focused on religion in general. When Femen protestors did confront Putin recently in Hanover Germany, his only comment was “as for the protest, I liked it. I did not catch what they were shouting. I did not even see if they were blondes, brunettes or chestnut-haired.”
Sadly, while Femen claim that “our activists’ bodies represent undisguised hatred for the patriarchal order, and display the new aesthetics of a rejuvenated woman’s revolution”, their young, attractive, naked bodies (or weapons of mass distraction) cannot be expected to represent an entirely new set of values in the eyes of the wider public. Unfortunately they still signify what they always have – sex, desire and the male gaze. The group’s intentions are to politicize their sexuality – to take it in into their own hands and turn it against their enemy; stating that “we are transforming female sexual subordination into aggression, and thereby starting the real war.” But how do they expect to make such a huge ideological transformation? Their personal perspectives might be changed but to the ‘naked’ eye they are quite simply young attractive semi-nude girls getting brutally thrown to the ground and arrested by grown men in uniform. What’s worse is that their message (should you happen to catch it) is particularly naïve and underdeveloped which almost suggests their protests are for protest’s sake.
Femen have been widely criticized for accepting, even advocating, a vision of the woman’s body shaped by the popular media and the Patriarchy itself. Their defense was to distribute pictures of Femen members with more ‘subversive’ bodies. But for an organization that goes naked to get media attention, these photos will not make it into the popular press – just like the naked protests to occur decades before Femen came to fruition.
Although Femen claim to be the champions of a ‘new wave of feminism’ with their ‘revolutionary’ naked protests, they are seemingly uneducated on the history of their chosen form of protest. The Women’s War in Eastern Nigeria (1929) used naked protests to resist colonial authority and racialized Western notions of ‘decency’ and the clothed body. The unyielding and fearless naked protests of theses women – continuing to take place in West, East and Southern Africa as recently as December 2012 receive little media attention and are practically invisible in the mainstream. Femen have yet to shut down an entire oil facility for seven days with the simple threat of baring their breasts, and yet they claim they are the modern feminist revolutionaries, the way of the future; their self-aggrandizement and arrogance is shocking and terribly ignorant.
It is not their nakedness in itself that is foolish, it is (ironically, considering their African predessessors’ efforts) their tactics of imperialistic feminism – also widely criticized in the wake of their Topless Jihad protests on April 4th.
The Topless Jihad was held in support of 19-year old Tunisian activist Amina Tyler who posted two topless pictures of herself on Facebook. In one she sits with a cigarette in hand, looking deeply engaged with an unidentifiable book in her other hand with text scrawled across her breasts in Arabic reading “my body belongs to me, it is not the source of anyone’s honour”. In the other, she looks dead into the camera, with both middle fingers raised with English text across her upper body reading, “fuck your morals”.
The Salafi cleric Almi Adel, leader of Tunisia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, called for Tyler to be “punished according to sharia, with eighty to a hundred lashes, but [because of] the severity of the act she has committed, she deserves be stoned to death.” Tunisian media reported that she could be punished by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to a thousand dinars (about six hundred and twenty dollars). She fears being beaten and/or raped by the Tunisian police.
As opposed to fighting for the right to veil, to unveil, to go naked or to wear whatever they choose for that matter, Femen’s International Topless Jihad saw slogans such as ‘Muslim women let’s get naked’, ‘bare breasts against Islamism’, ‘No Islamism’, ‘No Sharia’. Femen’s official Facebook statement read:
“Lethal hatred of Islamists – inhuman beasts for whom killing a woman is more natural than recognizing her right to do as she pleases with her own body.”
But far from championing a woman’s right to ‘do as she pleases with her own body’, their message was clear: Islamic dress for women is symptomatic of women’s oppression and nakedness is the ‘true’ feminism – whether these women feel Islamic dress is their choice or not.
The Topless Jihad saw the mocking of religious attire, skin colour and even facial hair – one protestor even adopting a makeshift beard and towel atop her head supposedly worn to indicate ‘solidarity’. This clearly feeds the cultural imperialist narrative that says white European/Western feminists are needed to save the barbaric Arab/Islamic women from other Arab/Islamic men. This is the method least likely to show solidarity, to support the struggles of the women they call their sisters; it is rather likely to damage their cause by imposing western notions of nakedness onto Islamic understandings. What Femen seem to misunderstand is that feminism belongs to all women everywhere and must allow for a plurality of voices and perspectives because their own narrow conception of nakedness is the least of Islamic feminist plights. Not only are their tactics incredibly culturally ignorant, arrogant and intellectually lazy, their racist and Islamaphobic rhetoric is likely to damage the causes of Feminism and those they purportedly wish to protect. Not to mention create further antagonism and division in Western/Arabic world tensions.
Although Tyler continues to support Femen, on Topless Jihad day she said – “I am against. Everyone will think that I encouraged their actions. They have insulted all Muslims everywhere and it’s not acceptable.” So much like Femen’s attempt to show solidarity with the plights of Pussy Riot, they have alienated more allies. The Muslim backlash has been massive with a new #muslimahpride movement on online media spurred on by Sofia Ahmed’s “Muslimah Pride Day” which saw Muslim women in their hijabs, niqabs, and western attire holding signs reading slogans such as “I am a strong Muslim woman, do I look like I need imperialists to free me from oppression?”; “my decision, my freedom, my hijab”; “nudity does not liberate me and I do not need saving”; “Femen does not speak for me, Islam is my choice”. Inna Shevchenko’s reaction to this backlash in her latest piece in the Huffington Post UK, was that “bearded men with knives” stand behind these women and worse that “They write on their posters that they don’t need liberation but in their eyes it’s written ‘help me’.” Far from creating a sense of solidarity, Femen is deepening the divide and denying Islamic women any sense of agency.
International feminist solidarity is crucially important but Femen has attempted to do so by way of racist rhetoric. Certainly the tokenisation and usurping of feminist Islamic voices through media sensationalism is not an act of solidarity. It is our duty to amplify, not hijack these voices.
As Sara Salem, PhD researcher at the Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands, notes:
“Feminism has the potential to be greatly emancipatory by adopting an anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic and anti-Islamophobic rhetoric, instead of often actively being racist, homophobic, transphobic and Islamophobic. By clearly delineating the boundaries of what is “good” and “bad” feminism, Femen is using colonial feminist rhetoric that defines Arab women as oppressed by culture and religion, while no mention is made of capitalism, racism, or global imperialism. It is actively promoting the idea that Muslim women are suffering from “false consciousness” because they cannot see (while Femen can see) that the veil and religion are intrinsically harmful to all women.”
Jenan Mubarak, of Iraq’s Center for Women’s Rehabilitation and Employment, endorsed Amina’s right to protest, but argued that their methods were counterproductive to the advancement of women’s rights.
“I reject the idea that a woman’s body is used to reach any objective … I want others to appreciate my mind, the way I speak, to respect the way I am trying to gain my rights.”
By contrast, Meriam, a Tunisian member of Femen living in Paris said: “I don’t think if we did it with clothes on, people would pay attention to the message — it gets more attention if were are semi-nude”. I would argue that they are getting more attention but their message certainly isn’t – and that’s probably a good thing.
I obviously support that anyone anywhere should have a right to bare their breasts and not be stoned to death, or imprisoned or reprimanded in any way. I also support the choice of Islamic dress AND choosing to work in the sex industry because neither need be antithetic to feminism. Amina put herself in danger deliberately to highlight the extremity of Islamic Patriarchy and religious conservatism. On the other hand, Femen’s responses with simplistic anti-Islamic slogans dilute or almost negate that sentiment and bring attention only to colonialist ‘white-saviour’ notions.
In November 2011, a young Egyptian woman, Aliaa ElMahdy, posted pictures of herself wearing only stockings on her blog to denounce a society of “violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy.” After receiving death threats, ElMahdy and her partner Kareem Amer had to leave Egypt. On 20 December 2012, new photos began circulating of ElMahdy, this time posing naked with members of Femen under the title “Apocalypse of Muhammad.” While her photos in isolation could be seen to be challenging Egypt’s patriarchal norms, her collaboration with Femen is inherently detrimental to her cause.
^Was anyone even there except for a few photographers? OMG, you girls are like SO sextreme.
Leave feminism alone Femen, your uneducated opinions are incredibly detrimental to our COLLECTIVE cause. I would not be surprised if the whole organization was devised by a group of fat men in suits hoping to discredit feminism.
Great further reading:
 Some Pussy Riot background info: The ‘punk prayer’ performance lasted 40 seconds and the group openly accused the Russian leadership of infringing on the rights of women and the LGBT community. Five members of Pussy Riot were arrested on March 3rd and three members of the band were charged with “premeditated hooliganism performed by an organized group of people motivated by religious hatred or hostility” and faced up to 7 years in prison if found guilty. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23; Maria Alekhina, 24; and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, of Pussy riot were held in custody for five months and prosecutors called for 3 year prison sentences. All three were convicted and sentenced to two years in a penal colony on August 17, 2012. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were separated and dispatched to penal colonies in Mordovia and Perm Oblast, respectively. Although the constitution of the Russian Federation promises ‘guaranteed freedom of literary, artistic, scientific, technical and other types of creative activity’ and Pussy Riot have apologized to the Ordodox Christians who felt slandered by the performance, their trial is reminiscent of the Soviet era in restricting said freedoms due to political criticism. On October 10, Samutsevich was released on two years probation based on the premise that she had been prevented from committing the acts of hooliganism by church security and could not access the soleas in the church as a result. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina must however serve their sentences in their entirety.
So I know it’s been quite some time since I last posted. You’ll all be happy to know it’s been a whirlwind astral adventure of extreme partying and unemployment in the wake of my stint working in the porn industry – and life has certainly not continued without a healthy dose of teen-like drama these past months. I have, however, maintained a focus on my art and exhibited my work at Kreisler Gallery’s ‘Dirty Little Gallery’ here in Melbourne this past February – my first one-woman show and a pat-me-on-the-back achievement.
“There is no more hope for meaning. And without a doubt this is a good thing: meaning is mortal” – Baudrillard
The ‘Pent Up House’ collage series uses imagery taken from magazines dedicated to anything from fetish and pornography to homemaking and fitness, reflecting complex and enduring relationships stitched to pop culture and the everyday. Graphic sexual imagery is excused in non-pornographic material via the popular media with only a few ‘final frontiers’, such as the explicit depiction of genitals and penetration. However, breasts, arses, provocative poses, sexual suggestion and borrowed fetish and BDSM imagery are normalized and commonplace.
Stripped of their original meaning and humorously recontextualized, my collages are simultaneously isolated, flattened and explicit; exposing the bizarre nature of the original imagery and emphasized by their new disjunction. I hope to echo Baudrillard, in that these collages are a testament to the notion that meaning is mortal and that the destruction and reconstruction of meaning through simulacrum is not a copy of the real but becomes ‘truth’ in its own right through simulation, hyper simulation and the hyper real. Ultimately, my collages are surreal because they are simulacrums, or, the not-quite truth.
I’ve also been stalling on posting here on account of my recent decision to get the superbly talented Brit from Bradford, Alis Pelleschi, to make a website for my art so that I can dedicate this blog to writing. Many life crises later, I still don’t know what I’m going to do next but luckily I have time on my side – as everyone from 2-30 years my senior is constantly reminding me.
Phebe Schmidt, photographer, sister and collaborator on such projects as Gala Vanting and Palimpsest is showing at the same gallery for the month of April. Her show is entitled Hard Bodies and is not to be missed (I was there while she was shooting and I’ve seen the end product – they’re amazing).
“Hard Bodies explores the brightly adorned surface of female bodies paired with sex toys of equally high key, kitsch colours. Through this process the idea of ‘hard bodies’, muscled and impenetrable is replaced by bodies and objects that articulate an obsession with beguiling guises reflecting a different kind of impenetrability that challenges conventional ideas of softness and hardness—penetration and envelopment. Just as musculature reinscribes and reforms the natural body, these images are inscribed with a plasticity and hard edge colour that reflects an alternative narrative.”
Here are some new works that I included in the ‘Pent Up House’ show at Dirty Little Gallery, Melbourne:
I was also part of a Feck group show in early March. So I guess I’ve been productive (in a sense) without plugging anything here (#badlifedecisions #nopromo). I included the screen-print below.
Why list my favorite rape revenge flicks? Because I can and because sometimes it’s fun to vicariously shoot, maim, torture and/or castrate fictional rapists. But also, the rape-revenge sub-genre encompasses some of my favorite films and often fall under my most favorite of genres: exploitation.
As it’s often misunderstood, ‘exploitation’ is really just another label for low-budget B-movies which, for lack of funds, usually exploit some aspect like sex, violence/gore, drug use, special effects etc – in order to sensationalize and market the movie. These movies often garner cult followings and sometimes even mainstream popularity including films that are now considered classics like Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange show all the traits associated with the exploitation genre.
It’s very loosely defined but really stems from the shock-tactic cautionary films of the 30s and 40s like Reefer Madness (1938) and Sex Madness (1938) – posited as ‘cautionary’ to justify graphic depictions of sex, drugs and violence (i.e someone ends up dead or goes completely crazy in the end after a whirlwind adventure of nudity and partying). Then you have subgenres like blaxploitation that blossomed in the 70s which were films made specifically for urban black audiences and produced such classics as Shaft (1971), Coffy (1973), Space is the Place (Sun Ra, 1974). Blaxploitation is always marked by funk, soul and badass black heroes (as opposed to the guy who gets knocked off first and serves no narrative purpose other than tokenicity which was a clear-cut trend at the time and still lingers in modern cinema) and while they definitely didn’t help to quash familiar African American stereotypes, they are also some of the best cop thrillers/action movies out there and often provided a space for the exploration of themes and issues unable to be fully explored in the heavily censored mainstream. A common trait of the exploitation genre is multiple screen titles presumably for the purpose of sucking people in to paying for multiple viewings and catering to different audiences at different cinemas etc.
Sexploitation has all the graphisism of soft-core pornography but with cool story-lines and creative shots/editing. Russ Meyer is probably the best known arbiter of style when it comes to sexploitation with his Vixen series (1968-79) and Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)- which are worth every minute you spend in front of that screen and more. A more modern example is the 1995 cult-classic Showgirls – hilarious and firmly within the sexploitation genre (although without the grindhouse cinema experience, the genre is all but dead – saved only by Quintin Tarantino’s one-man exploitation renaissance). The exploitation genre encompasses so many subgenres like slasher, splatter, kung-fu, spaghetti westerns, mondo films, cannibal films etc. So I think it’s easiest to say that an exploitation film is one that deals with sensationalized and/or sensitive subject matter and most often on a low budget.
Lady Snowblood/ Shurayukihime (1973)
Lady Snowblood (the name being a play on Snow White) is based on a manga comic by Kazuo Koike (who also penned such classics as Lone Wolf and Cub) which was serialised in Japanese publication, Weekly Playboy. Lady Snowblood, set in the late 19th century, opens to a woman – Sayo – enduring a particularly difficult childbirth who we soon learn has been fucking all the men in her prison in order to get pregnant and use her unborn child as an instrument of revenge. Sayo, in her last few breaths (DEATH BY CONCEPTION), reveals that although she was sentenced to life enprisonment for the murder of Shokei Tokuichi (Takeo Chii), he had held her captive and raped her repeatedly (hence her baby-making frenzy was the only way to ensure that revenge would be hers while incarcerated). Her child is Lady Snowblood – Yuki for short, child of the netherworlds whose life’s purpose is revenge.
The backstory to Sayo’s capture is played back and a woman named Kitahama Okono held her while three men, Takemura Banzō, Shokei Tokuichi, and Tsukamoto Gishirō murdered her husband and their son and then raped Sayo all in the name of making a little extra dosh.
Although Sayo dies in child-birth, she ensures that Yuki is told her story and trained as an instrument of revenge. An extremely young Yuki is trained in the art of samurai and on her 20th birthday – the anniversary of her mother’s death, she sets out to find the criminals – now dispersed or thought dead, she’s not always happy with what she finds but she’s ready to fulfill her life’s purpose and avenge Sayo’s rape and the murder of her family – despite her distress at having never known love or family herself.
Tarantino’s Kill Bill borrowed heavily from Lady Snowblood and Oren-Ishi’s character is actually just a re-imagining of Lady Snowblood. They have plenty of other things in common such as manga character intros, shots, camera angles and spaghetti western soundtracks – but hey, Tarantino’s great at his own form of collage.
First of all, the soundtrack is killer – synths, lasers, experimental electronic and my favorite: disco. The soundtrack was by French singer Michel Polnareff and the album, released later that year, became a disco success in its own right (in the U.S and internationally). Lipstick stars Margaux and Mariel Hemingway (granddaughters of Ernest Hemingway) who play sisters Chris and Kathy respectively. Chris is a sought-after model who is the face of a popular brand of lipstick advertised on billboards and in magazines across the globe. Gordon Stuart (played by Chris Sarrandon) is Kathy’s school music teacher and an experimental composer who eagerly accepts Kathy’s invitation to visit her sister on a beach-side photo-shoot to play her some of his music. Chris finds that she doesn’t have time to chat with Gordon as she’s caught up with her work so organizes for Gordon to drop by the apartment she shared with Kathy the following week. Gordon drops by to play his music and when Chris gets a phone call from her significant other mid-way through the hearing, he flips and as soon as she puts the phone down, she’s in for a raping. Perhaps this film is one of my favorites is because Chris then presses charges and the film really gets into the reality of court prejudice against rape victims and the humiliation that comes with taking legal action/reporting rape.
As to be expected, the main cases made against her are all about justifying rape by pointing out that she poses provocatively for photographs, invited the man to her apartment after being at one of these semi-nude photo shoots and then admits to having fantasies about being overpowered. Practically passing the whole horrific rape off as BDSM fantasy. God, has nothing changed since the 70s??
I don’t want to spoil it for you but when Gordon comes after her sister as well, Chris gets hers. A common thread throughout the film is Clarence Darrow’s assertion that “the failure of justice may be more damaging to society than crime itself”.
Thriller: A Cruel Picture AKA They Call her One-Eye (1974)
Swedish classic, Thriller: A Cruel Picture AKA They Call her One-Eye (1974) creeps into the sexploitation genre and stars Christina Lindberg who is a former Penthouse Pet – modeling for many other men’s magazines, starring in other exploitation/soft-core flicks and then giving it all up to work as a journalist. You may also know her as the spy from another cool revenge sexploitation – Sex and Fury directed by Noribumi Suzuki (1973).
Lindberg plays Madeleine who is sexually assaulted as a child which renders her a mute. Her parents send her to speech therapy and it is on one of her trips to town that she accepts a ride from a suave man in a schmick car, Tony. Tony wines, dines, drugs her, gets her addicted to heroin and then starts pimping her out. She resists her first client so Tony cuts her eye out in true graphic Un Chien Andalou style and to much controversy; using a real cadaver as a body-double (another Kill Bill inspiration for Daryl Hannah’s character, Elle Driver).
She then dutifully works for Tony, her addiction worsening, until she finds that her guardians have killed themselves on receipt of a hateful letter from Tony in Christina’s name – sent as rationale for her disappearance. She then saves her pennies and spends her days off learning martial arts, getting gun lessons and learning to drive ‘faster than the average guy’. Needless to say, sweet revenge is soon hers.
Thriller is marked by awesome sets and cinematography, and Lindberg’s character is just so bad-ass that it’s truly not to be missed. DOES feature a hot female client with a slapping fetish and real penetrative sex (it is sexploitation afterall) but aside from the femme client with the dominant tendencies, I think the sex scenes are done well and add to the narrative – rather than simple ‘numbers’ for the audience. Of course, being in a position where violence is imminent should she resist, the rape does not appear as traditionally violent (as in most filmic depictions) which could be construed as sexualizing it but the rape is in no way depicted as enjoyable for her either – the only thing that makes rape rape is the absence of consent which doesn’t necessarily entail violent struggle. In short, just because you see some penis-in-vagina does not mean its only purpose is to arouse.
Plus Thriller spawned other cool exploitation flicks like Abel Ferrara’s Ms. 45 AKA Angel of Vengeance (1981) featuring a mute seamstress from New York who is raped twice in one day and her thirst for vengeance eventually escalates into a war against men. Ms. 45 is awesome in that it really hones in on street harassment (verbal and otherwise) – but Thriller is infinitely better. I’m inclined to suggest that you see Abel Ferrara’s Driller Killer (1979) over Ms. 45 any day of the week.
Day of the Woman AKA I Spit on Your Grave (1978)
New York writer, Jennifer Hills escapes to an isolated cottage by a lake to write her first book. When the independent, attractive and young Jennifer arrives in town, she is immediately targeted by three boys who hang out at the gas station (only one of whom actually works there). Matthew, a mentally challenged friend of the gas-station boys delivers Jennifer’s groceries and it soon becomes clear that Johnny, Stanley and Andy of the gas-station plan to have Matthew lose his virginity to Jennifer. When Matthew can’t bring himself to fuck the captive Jennifer, the other boys take over and eventually, they all force themselves on her. The revenge part of this film is probably the most drawn-out and best of the bunch. The 2010 remake was more graphic on account of modern technology and the growing acceptance of hardcore violence in mainstream cinema but not necessarily more brutal. She hunts down each man with a specifically tailored revenge tactic and I daresay the original is more realistic than the remake. The remake does, in it’s defense, flesh out it’s characters a little more, making one of the rapists a police officer with a family (who she later blackmails and sodomizes with a rifle) which definitely adds a new layer of fear-factor.
At once condemned for it’s graphic depiction of gang rape and hailed by others for the heightened viewer engagement with the heroine’s POV, the film clearly critiques the common conception that women invite rape by dressing provocatively/traveling alone – and the male characters are presented as backward and sexist. Although (again) it was an argument of many of its critics that I Spit on Your Grave sexualizes rape, Michael Kaminski argues that, when one understands director Zarchi’s intentions for making the movie, it may be equally appropriate to analyze as I Spit on Your Grave as “feminist wish-fulfillment” – a reaction to violence against women. Zarchi was inspired to make the film after witnessing a young woman crawling out of the bushes bloodied and naked when driving by a park. He collected the traumatized girl, returned his daughter (who was also present) home, and then foolishly decided it was best to take the girl to the police rather than a hospital – lest the attackers assault another victim. He was met with the same bureaucracy and slut-shaming that the justice system has always championed.
Kiss of Death (1973)
This one could be my favorite actually. God, I just can’t choose. This film was Chen Ping’s first major role for Shaw Brothers by one of their most prolific directors, Ho Meng Hua – elevating her to sexploitation pin-up status. Ho Meng Hua who had come into mainstream success with his ‘Journey to the West’ series, later went on to direct The Flying Guillotine (1974) and Vengeful Beauty (1978). Chen Ping plays Ling, an innocent hard-working factory girl who gets gang raped by five members of a prominent street gang who stake out her apartment and eventually trap her on the roof. She gets a job working in the ‘club’ in a bid to try to find the rapists but before long she learns that she has contracted Vietnam Rose – a rare venereal disease like syphilis but worse. Although curable, Ling protests that the trauma is not and she refuses treatment.
Ling only has a short time to live so coaxes Lo Lieh (famously starring in King Boxer AKA Five Fingers of Death -1972 and appearing in The 36th Chamber of Shaolin - 1978) – the attractive, handicapped club owner – to teach her the art of kung fu. A tragic love-story ensues while Ling knocks off rapist by rapist – each time stabbing them brutally in the gonads with a pair of customized medical scissors she stole from a dodgy unregistered doctor. The club itself is a fantastic colorful, psychedelic sleaze-machine of dancing, drinking and occasional kung fu fighting.
At one point, some of the gangster bad-guys come to the club, drug some of the girls and make a dirty movie without their consent. When the girls come to, they realize they’ve been filmed and the gang then plan to blackmail them into prostitution with the footage. Before they get a chance, Ling recognizes one of the men to also be one of her rapists, so she doesn’t hesitate to seduce him into a short dance sequence and stab him in the dick. Ling’s new friend, Hung (Lily Chan Ching) lets her in on a sly secret -her pack of playing cards with concealed blades in each card. Hung trains her up and sends her to the casino for the final showdown. Although she is handicapped by her illness at the most unforgiving moments, she will only die happy if she has revenge on them all.
So I guess that’s my top 5 in no real order. Worthy mentions are Last House on the Left (1972) – Wes Craven’s first attempt at horror which is now considered a classic exploitation film and could also be deemed a ‘rape-revenge’ but the revenge isn’t executed by the victims themselves. If you like John Waters-style juvenile delinquents and a dose of slasher/splatter, it’s definitely worth a watch. Second worthy mention is the Heathers-style high-school vigilantism in Savage Streets (1984) which sees our main girl Brenda seeking revenge on a group of high-school dropouts who raped her handicapped sister – girl-gang/Switchblade Sisters style. Although Savage Streets is probably a little more trash than treasure and probably not worth the watch unless you share my love for trashy teen B-movies.
Final mention is Gaspar Noe’s Irriversible (2002). An unconventional, non-linear rape-revenge associated with the ‘New French Extremity’ movement (which is, to me, pretty much a form of modern exploitation anyway – exploiting extreme violence/body horror and taboo) which includes a horrific 9-minute real-time rape scene. The film unfortunately plays on alot of transphobic and homophobic themes and attitudes (Silence of The Lambs-style evil homos etc) which is the main point of controversy for me – for most people it’s the rape scene. I think the real-time rape scene is not at all sexualized, the most realistic I’ve seen and (rape being the most essential linchpin of the rape-revenge genre) essential to the story. It’s horrific, hard (sometimes impossible) to watch but not at all indulgent or unnecessary in the wider context of the film. Noe’s shots and filmic techniques in Irreversible are nauseating and visually compelling. If it wasn’t for the lame homo-/trans-phobic shit, it probably would’ve made my top 5 (also I found his next movie, Enter the Void (2009) annoying, indulgent and cliched. In his defense (sort of), his short film for the Destricted series – We Fuck Alone was a cool contribution). What I’d really like to see are some female and/or queer directors making some cool new rape-revenge films dealing with, dare I say it, some more immersed and critical/acute subject matter. Until then, the above viewing is pretty great.
**All screen-caps by me
I haven’t written anything in weeks as life’s been a bit unsettled lately; namely, I have quit working for Feck. It has been an educational and often inspiring journey that has really informed my position on porn over the last year or so but unfortunately there’s no room for growth there anymore and I think I’ve gleaned as much as possible from the company itself. There are so many things I’ve left unsaid on this blog about my experience – perhaps another of the many pitfalls of writing under my real name. I’ll try to summarize my experience in amateur porn as best I can now, nonetheless.
Feck’s overriding ideals (and I’ll call them ‘ideals’ because in reality the ‘credo’ is much more idyllic than easily converted into practical use) are extremely positive and the women and men that came through my office had overwhelmingly positive experiences and these are not to be slighted by its minor pitfalls in the greater scheme of online pornography; nor by Richard Lawrence – the patriarch of a feminist porn company. Contributors to Feck websites will rarely have done any form of sex work elsewhere before – authentic amateurs – and it really is a very alluring first-time experience entering an office full of upbeat sex-positive feminists; so much so, that it usually comes as a surprise to contributors when they first learn that a man runs the show. This illusion is a deliberate one because a community of women is certainly more appealing when it comes to taking those first few cautious steps to nude-ing up on the internet. The most difficult truth to accept while working there was that like any other business, Feck needs to make money – so their egalitarian sentiments such as ‘show the beauty in all bodies whatever their size, shape, age or color’ were often pushed aside to make way for ‘pretty, feminine, ‘natural’, petite, un- tattoed/pierced’ to cater to subscribers. This arguably problematizes another of their core values: ‘discard stereotypes and predictability in favor of creativity and adventure’. While diversity is superficially shown on the sites, it feels more like tokenicity rather than real diversity when you’re the one deciding who gets to return for more paid work and who does not. For example, trans-women cannot contribute at all, masculine-looking women aren’t given much work (if any) and women over 35 are screened quite heavily so they form a small minority on the sites (and are already a minority as younger women reply to the ads more readily). And, of course, on account of Australia’s strict porn-laws, any remotely aggressive BDSM play is essentially outlawed.
**Furthermore, in the subscriber-comment sections all the familiar porno stereotypes pop up in relation to race such as ‘exotic beauty’, ‘brown sugar’ etc. Admittedly these are not Feck’s own words but even on a heavily moderated forum, these old conventions are almost always overlooked.
While I did hear some fabulous adventure stories from contributors about nudie runs through old neighborhoods and abandoned buildings, some adventure stories weren’t given a space to be heard. We can’t ask for perfection, the only annoyance is the disparity between their credo and the reality because that can feel like deceit; especially when you’ve stepped outside of your comfort zone on committal to the ’cause’. Their credo is too naive in a way, or perhaps that was always the selling point – the fantasy of control and liberation all at once. Feck got its start with G Media and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – the marketing of the ‘real’ woman can get complicated as Zahra Stardust (who has also done work for Feck websites) explored in her article in August and I talked about briefly just before my first ever porn/filmed masturbation-deal went live that same month. Courtney Trouble’s queer pornography empire shows a lot more diversity and comes as near ethical-porno-perfection that I can imagine but catering to a straight-male audience is a different ball-park entirely. Trying to change the face of straight porn is decidedly more difficult when you consider who watches it, why they watch it, what they want to watch and what they’ve become used to watching; all the while trying to consider the women in the porn (not to mention the straight cis-female consumer) – their needs, wants, desires – because the two are not often one and the same.
You’d think that the niche of ‘soft-core amateur’ could more easily cater to an egalitarian sex-positive mentality due to the mere inclusion of ‘every-day’ people (with an exhibitionist streak) but in reality, the struggles are the same on a subscriber/paid-for site because once a subscriber-base is built, trends and requests begin to dictate who makes the cut and how it’s put together (I’ll be interested to see how Cindy Gallop’s Make Love Not Porn initiative goes once live). In the literal fine-print of the company’s credo is: “make quality erotica which is culturally valuable and equally appealing to both women and men”. If ‘quality erotica which is culturally valuable’ means: ‘shot in an English-style garden with dappled light among the moss and flowering weeds’ (the most revered and repeated setting at Feck) and ‘women and men’ desire the exact same girl-next-door-stereotype/fetish – then sure! Regardless, the customer is practically always right and the Feck subscriber/customer is generally a man.
Perhaps most importantly, working for Feck really showed me how it all works and how it doesn’t. It also gave me the opportunity to nip in-front of the camera and experience that perspective with my own fantasies as the focal point of a multi-orgasmic adventure (fun). Feck has also enabled such incredible companies as Sensate Films and the collaborative GMH project which are truly brilliant contributions to the world of ethically produced pornography and erotica. Other notable sites from Feck are Sonic Erotica – audio erotica catering to the visually impaired and showcasing unique erotic fiction writers from around the globe and Beautiful Agony – a kind of ‘orgasm-face and habits’ documentary project with a dose of non-nude eroticism.
As far as my job was concerned, there was really nothing that you wouldn’t expect from a high stress media job (with a heightened personal investment and an element of taboo) but as there was no opportunity for growth within the company, it was time to leave. There’s definitely a high staff-turnover but although differences with Richard were trying at the best of times, I left with my head held high and a pocket-full of porny-knowledge; it’s been a very memorable and, for want of a better word, seminal year to say the least.
It’s over and I have many exciting things to look forward to. I very much appreciate my time in independent amateur porn and being on both sides of the camera opened my eyes to a whole lot more variables when it comes to censorship, the body and the confines of sex positivism. Up and up! I’m working for Moshcam in January and I have a small exhibition in February so I’ve got my work cut out for me and I get to enjoy the summer here in Melbourne. In fact, I already have been, so I’ll post some shots of my impromptu spring break soon.
Far too often it seems I’m reminded of the fact that everything I’ve ever done and possibly will do has been done … more often than not during the 70s. Everything I care about was all the rage in the 70s and has since dissipated or become static and fanatical – feminism, sexploitation cinema, space disco etc. Linder Sterling (who often just goes by Linder) is another shining example of my quotidian 70s artistry and hopeless inadequacy etc. but mainly, she’s quite an incredible woman and a pretty brilliant artist.
Growing up in Manchester, Linder went to art college at Polytechnic from 1974–1977 and was quick to make herself known in the local punk and post punk scene. Many of her collages featured in the fanzine ‘Secret Public’ which she co-founded with Jon Savage and she’s probably best known for creating the cover art for Buzzcock’s Orgasm Addict in 1977 and Magazine’s excellent debut album Real Life (1978).
Linder, Arthur Kadmon (who played with The Fall for two minutes and is credited as Arthur ‘Cadman’ on their Room To Live album) and Toby Toman (Primal Scream and Nosebleeds) created their own post-punk band, Ludus, in 1978. In 1982, Linder took to the stage in a dress fashioned from raw meat and in 1983 they split. When asked how she felt about the popularization of the aesthetic and conceptual concerns of her work Linder responded:
It makes me laugh when people like Gaga appropriate my ideas without understanding my intentions. But I guess it is flattering. Morrissey recently visited Lady Gaga after one of her shows. On her dressing room wall, in a silver Gothic frame, was a print of the collage that I made in 1977 of a woman with an iron as her head and smiling mouths over the nipples. Lady Gaga said to Morrissey “I always decorate my dressing room with the images that I like.” If that collage is one of Gaga’s icons of inspiration — and we all need them, as much as air and water — then that’s great. But feminist history isn’t just a dressing-up box. Feigned cultural amnesia is never very attractive.”
Before Linder, Richard Hamilton’s 1956 collage which is considered to be one of the earliest examples of pop art, was sourced primarily from American magazines and depicted subject matter centred on themes such as domesticism, gender roles, cultural alientation, sexuality and desire. Hamilton’s and Sterling’s interpretation of that subject matter is necessarily different regardless of additionally sharing the medium.
I find collage to be quite unifying – it is, by nature, a kind of parody and palimpsest already, so how an individual pieces their fragments together is just a manifestation of their own experimentation with perspective which is necessarily influenced by outside perspectives and imagery – and therefore valuable and unique. As Linder said in a recent interview with Dazed and Confused:
Collage is a great way to deconstruct how others say the world should be seen and also to experiment with new ways of seeing” – Linder Sterling
032c interviewed Sterling and asked if she thought her collages had changed conceptually since porn has become so ubiquitous and Linder said that
When I was doing the work in ’76, in my last year of art school, pornography was still shocking and covert … At the time people were generally very shocked by those images.”
She’s often been described as a radical feminist – in no small part due to her comment on the commodification and consumption of the female body (not just in porn but throughout mainstream media at large)- recontextualizing it alongside kitchen appliances, cars and food. However, she has said of her art:
The work was about anesthetizing the intellect. I don’t work too intellectually because then it becomes too dry.” – Linder
While it’s important to remember that feminism is a system of thought (as opposed to reducing it to mere subject) and that both sex-positive and sex-negative feminism sprung from radical feminism, I would say our purposes for using sexual material in our collages (and the nature of said material) differs. Something Linder said to 032c really disturbed me.
Younger artists are constantly name-checking people from my generation, for good or ill. It’s interesting that my generation provides a sort of palette for inspiration. It was the last years of the British underground. Everything is too institutionalized now, which is why perhaps a lot of younger artists now look to that period – they long to have an underground, which is probably impossible for their generation.”
I think this is something I’ve been trying to define for myself for some time in relation to the malaise of the internet bringing endless cultural material to our fingertips every waking moment; you don’t have to go crate digging to discover new records/music or buy zines to know which records to look for/which upcoming gig to go to. It’s less of a treasure hunt and the kudos awarded for discovery is necessarily all but obliterated. There’s certainly less laboriousness to the individual’s curatorial role (assemblage of images and concepts being so accessible and simplified) and their own art practice can’t help but be derivative (although not necessarily subordinate to that which it derives from). Ofcourse I’ve thought this before, but the longing for an ‘underground’, kind of like desperately searching for a reprise from mainstream culture which is increasingly pushed out of reach by the democratization (and homogenization) of the internet, that describes how I feel in many respects. I think my generation longs for the more abundant possibilities for innovation and the creative optimism apparent in the 70s; although they too were certainly not without their own nostalgia and influences as can be seen when acknowledging Linder’s predecessors. Everybody can do anything on the internet, and they do. Trends come and go quickly and their reference points are closing in on the present moment so that 90s (and 90s-does-60s) fashion, music and attitudes are captivating western culture all over again in 2012. I feel as though it’s a real possibility that western/privileged culture will just become completely homogenized or flattened by the net. As with art, there’ll always be good and bad interpretations of said culture but I have this suffocating feeling of it all closing in on itself.
I’m a firm subscriber to a kind of existential nihilism myself and while I don’t think there’s any great meaning in life itself I think we’re all compelled create meaning for ourselves – by inventing meaning you also create purpose. Baudrillard said, “there is no more hope for meaning. And without a doubt this is a good thing: meaning is mortal” by which he meant that the destruction of meaning through simulacrum is not a copy of the real, but becomes ‘truth’ in its own right through simulation, hypersimulation and hyperreal.
Baudrillard’s notion of the hyperreality of television was inadequate in that it failed to see it as dependent on pre-existing/historically produced (although often homogenised) understandings and representations of lived experience and images which aren’t necessarily fragmentary. So rather than the obliteration of reality, it’s another facet of reality. I think if Baudrillard had been speaking of the world wide web he would’ve had a more infallible theory. Although the internet is also, in theory, another facet of reality its becoming increasingly an alternate hyperreality. Feigned cultural amnesia is never very attractive, but it doesn’t need to be feigned. When inundated with potent imagery that need not be accredited to the artist or creator of said material (especially on such forums as Tumblr), do images of inspiration then become flattened too? At once democratized and stripped of their history and meaning?
Or did I just spiral into a philosophical black hole (again) because I’m bummed that I started making collages out of porn before I’d heard of Linder (several years ago now)? I do have an awful tendency to overthink things – it’s really very distressing.
Essentially, no two world-views are exactly the same and different views will entail something new to offer through their translation into art – not to say that they will be particularly interesting or well executed. As history unravels, it’s important to revisit subject matter (and obviously mediums) so as to (attempt to) add new meaning and depth to their domains. In order to expand on the inherited connotations of images and to fully realize new techniques and theories, it’s also important to acknowledge our predessesors and what they’ve added to the (imagined) collective artistic consciousness. Cultural amnesia/ignorance is to the detriment of those who came before us but perhaps more so to our own world-views and creative endeavors.
Forgetful Green: short film by Linder Sterling and Tim Walker (2010)
Other cool collage masters: Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonté [A Week of Kindness] comprised 184 collages, created during the summer of 1933 during a stay at Vigoleno, in northern Italy. Ernst immaculately separated images from wood engravings found in popular illustrated novels, natural science journals and 19th century sales catalogues.
And for next time, I’m really trying to work on toning down the obsessive circular conundrums of relative insignificance.
Clarisse Thorn recently posted an interview she did with The Good Men Project about porn which I’d highly reccommend reading.
Read the whole interview by all means but the most important sentiment for me is contained in the quote below.
“The important issues of porn are the same as the important issues in all types of sex work. Did the participants consent? Are they working in a respectful, safe environment? I recently read an excellent article about cam girls by Sam Biddle, and I love that article because it talks about both the super-empowered wealthy Western women who make great money and live a fairy-tale life … and also the women, often in the Third World, who are clearly unhappy and exploited.
One thing I particularly appreciate about that article is how it points out that exploited cam girls are much harder to speak with directly than rich, self-employed cam girls. I firmly believe that there are many sex workers who freely chose and enjoy their jobs, but the following facts must be acknowledged:
1) Less privileged sex workers — people who are at a disadvantage because of their race, class, gender identity, or whatever — are more likely to be exploited and abused and silenced, because their disadvantages will be used against them. For example, a poor person is obviously more likely to do work that they hate because they’re desperate for money.
2) Less privileged sex workers are less likely to have the time, education, or knowledge to effectively articulate their experience. Sidenote: please check out the Speak Up! trainings, which are intended to educate sex workers on how to deal with the media, and help sex workers describe their own experience.
3) As a result of these factors, the discourse is often dominated by privileged sex workers. This is a serious problem. The activist Audacia Ray, who is a personal hero of mine, has an article about this. When you look at porn, this means that a lot of the sex workers we hear from around the online gendersphere — maybe most? — are having an awesome time.
And I certainly think that privileged sex workers should talk about that as much as they want! Shout it from the rooftops! But I also think we must be cautious about drawing conclusions based solely on those voices. I particularly appreciate privileged sex worker writers who both love their jobs and make an effort to highlight less-privileged voices.”
I definitely have a privileged voice, however, I wouldn’t consider my blog to be about sex work. I definitely touch on those topics but my perspective is limited to my limited experience in these areas and I prefer to focus on my art and my own brand of sex-positive feminism. Nevertheless, when I did write a more comprehensive post on sex work, I tried to include more marginalised sex worker opinion but I was repudiated because these guys were totally sick of privileged sex worker discourse (understandably) and basically couldn’t be fucked helping me deepen my understanding of full service sex work. Clarisse Thorn raised some very pertinent issues in this article surrounding sex work and porn that are often underexplored or overlooked entirely.