Hard Core: Power, Pleasure  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

“Even obscenity and pornography proper—defined legally in the mid-1960s as near worthless forms of explicit sexual representation—had themselves become, as they have continued to be, increasingly respectable objects of study, as long as they were bracketed as social and political problems rather than cultural forms.”--Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, p.90, 1989, Linda Williams


"To anti-pornography feminists like Morgan, Andrea Dworkin, Susan Griffin, Catherine MacKinnon, and Susanne Kappeler, violence is inherent in the male role in "normal" heterosexual relations. This violence finds its most extreme expression in the weaponlike use of the penis in rape. These feminists view women who find pleasure in rape fantasies as guilty victims of false consciousness. Andrea Dworkin takes this argument the furthest in her recent book Intercourse, where she points to heterosexual intercourse defined as the penetration-invasion of one passive (female) object by an active (male) subject-as the root cause of sexual violence."--Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, p.17-18, 1989, Linda Williams


Pornography is degrading to women .... It is provided primarily for the lustful pleasure of men and boys who use it to generate excitation. And it is my belief, though evidence is not easily obtained, that a small but dangerous minority will then choose to act aggressively against the nearest available females. Pornography is the theory; rape is the practice." --(Attorney General's Commission on Pornography 1986, 1:78) -- Commissioner James Dobson

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the “Frenzy of the Visible” (1989) is an academic study of pornography by American scholar Linda Williams. It details and analyzes the history and forms of pornographic films. The "frenzy of the visible" refers to the Jean-Louis Comolli dictum from "Machines of the Visible" (1971).

Contents

From the publisher

"In academic prose, film professor Williams of the University of California offers a graphic analysis of hard-core porno movies such as Deep Throat, as well as early, anonymous stag flicks. She finds that the newer, "softer" X-rated rental videos "show a more genuinely adult quality" than earlier videos. She ponders the "utopian problem-solving intent" of the hard-core genre and makes specious comparisons between blue movies, Hollywood musicals and films like Dirty Dancing. Sadomasochistic porn films, she claims, let viewers experience "a clearer confrontation with the oscillating poles of our gendered identities and the role of power in them." A critic whose professed goal is to understand film pornography, and who opposes those who would censor it, Williams begins this obfuscating study by analyzing the portrayal of women in the 19th-century kinetoscope, prototype of the motion-picture projector.

TOC of the 1999 edition

For the 1999 edition, Williams has written a new preface and a new epilogue, "On/scenities," illustrated with 26 photographs, and has added a supplementary bibliography.

Speaking Sex: "The Indiscreet Jewels"

The Indiscreet Jewels refer to the vagina in the famous novel by Denis Diderot. Le Sexe qui parle is mentioned and Michel Foucault's 'scientia sexualis' enters the stage.

"pornography's almost visceral appeal to the body-its ability, as Richard Dyer (1985, 27) puts it, to "move" the body or, in Annette Kuhn's words (1985, 21), to elicit "gut" reactions-it is not the only genre to elicit such "automatic" bodily reactions."

The Elusive Genre of Pornography

This section provides an overview of the historiography of pornography and the problem of its definition. This overview starts with H. Montgomery Hyde's A History of Pornography (1964), moves on to Susan Sontag's '"The Pornographic Imagination" (1969), Peter Michelson' The Aesthetics of Pornography (1971) and George Steiner's "Night Words" (1965). It ends with Walter Kendrick's The Secret Museum: Pornography in Modern Culture (1987).

The Meese Commission and Women Against Pornography

Meese Commission: "Pornography is degrading to women ... Pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice." - Antipornography viewpoints.

"To anti-pornography feminists like Morgan, Andrea Dworkin, Susan Griffin, Catherine MacKinnon, and Susanne Kappeler, violence is inherent in the male role in "normal" heterosexual relations. This violence finds its most extreme expression in the weaponlike use of the penis in rape. These feminists view women who find pleasure in rape fantasies as guilty victims of false consciousness. Andrea Dworkin takes this argument the furthest in her recent book Intercourse, where she points to heterosexual intercourse defined as the penetration-invasion of one passive (female) object by an active (male) subject-as the root cause of sexual violence."

The Anti-Censorship Feminists

Gayle Rubin - Sex-positive feminism

Prehistory: The "Frenzy of the Visible"

Scientia Sexualis and The origin of porno

Albert Goldbarth's poem "The Origin of Porno" - "frenzy of the visible" (Jean-Louis Comolli) - Eadweard Muybridge's prurient interests - Freud - Laura Mulvey's "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" - Charcot and the Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière

On Woman leaning against a chair on which another woman is smoking a cigarette by Eadweard Muybridge:

"in this last instance Muybridge has abandoned movement altogether for the highly charged emotional tone of what could only be called longing. Women's bodies are quite simply fetishized in these motion studies".

Hard Core

The Stag Film: Genital Show and Genital Event

"The stag film or dirty movie was, and is, the cinema verite of the forbidden." --Dirty Movies
"[Men in stag films] exist only as surrogates for the male audience. They are the means whereby the individual fantasist possesses his lust's desire, an image idealized as often as it is demeaned. To say that both men and women are degraded equally because of the specialization of their performance seems as sensible as claiming that clowns, acrobats, or ball players are degraded because as performers they are not visible in their full humanity." --Dirty Movies

John Berger's Ways of Seeing (1977) - genital show and genital event


Primitivism

Fetishism and Hard Core: Marx, Freud, and the "Money Shot"

There are those who believe that the come shot, or, as some refer to it, "the money shot," is the most important element in the movie and that everything else (if necessary) should be sacrificed at its expense. Of course, this depends on the outlook of the producer, but one thing is for sure: if you don't have the come shots, you don't have a porno picture. Plan on at least ten separate come shots. --Stephen Ziplow, The Film Maker's Guide to Pornography

Fetish (Marx), fetish (Freud), Freudo-Marxism

Linda Williams concludes that facials are a fetish or a perversion. She states "The money shot is thus an obvious perversion -in the literal sense of the term, as a swerving away from more "direct" forms of genital engagement- of the tactile sexual connection."

"Unlimited female orgasmic capacity" --Steven Marcus in The Other Victorians

Generic Pleasures: Number and Narrative

Extensive analysis of The Opening of Misty Beethoven - mention of The Sounds of Love

Hard-Core Utopias: Problems and Solutions

Follows a classification scheme by Richard Dyer devised for musical films.

Power, Pleasure, and Perversion: Sadomasochistic Film Pornography

"Much of the recent work on romance fiction has explored the subversive and oppositional side of a literary genre that once seemed only regressively masochistic-a kind of wallowing in powerlessness. A persistent theme of this criticism has been to suggest, with varying degrees of disapproval or acceptance, that mass-market romance is in fact but another form of masochistic pornography. In "Mass Market Romance: Pornography for Women Is Different" (1983), Ann Barr Snitow argues that romance fiction has female protagonists successfully negotiate the sexual danger of situations to which they would like to submit by hiding their desires under the passivity of conventional "good girl" qualities of nurturance and virginity."

Sequels and Re-Visions: "A Desire of One's Own"

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hard Core: Power, Pleasure" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools