Vamps and Tramps  

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"Rape is an act of desperation, a confession of envy and exclusion. All men- even, I have written, Jesus himself- began as flecks of tissue inside a woman's womb. Every boy must stagger out of the shadow of a mother goddess, whom he never fully escapes....Women have it. Men want it. What is it? The secret of life..." --"No Law in the Arena, Sex crime: Rape"--p. 32


"Patriarchy, routinely blamed for everything, produced the birth control pill, which did more to free contemporary women than feminism itself."


"I am a pornographer. From earliest childhood, I saw sex suffusing the world. I felt the rhythms of nature and the aggressive energies of animal life. Art objects, in both museum and church, seemed to blaze with sensual beauty. The authority figures of church, school, and family denied or suppressed what I saw, but like Madonna, I kept to my pagan vision. I belong to the Sixties generation that tried and failed to shatter all sexual norms and taboos. In my book, Sexual Personae, I injected lewdness, voyeurism, homoeroticism and sadomasochism into the entire Western high-art tradition.

Because I am a pornographer, I am at war with Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin. These obsessed, moralistic women, feminism’s oddest odd couple, are Carry Nation reborn. They were coauthors of the Minneapolis and Indianapolis ordinances against pornography that were declared unconstitutional. They have produced, individually and in collaboration, an enormous amount of material ranging from tortured autobiographical confessions to legal case histories and academic Marxist critiques." -- "The Return of Carry Nation" (1992) by Camille Paglia

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

Vamps and Tramps is a 1994 anthology book of cultural criticism by American writer Camille Paglia, a collection of her writings since her previous essay collection Sex, Art, and American Culture.

The mixed critical response generally concurred that too much was written on too wide a variety of topics. The book included a theoretical manifesto about sex, "No Law in the Arena", as well as transcripts of her previous TV and film appearances, including her 1993 collaboration with Glenn Belverio in his short film "Glennda and Camille Do Downtown," which played at the Sundance Film Festival and won first prize for best short documentary at the Chicago Underground Film Festival.

The book was a bestseller and exposed a wide readership to her scathing views on contemporary matters such as feminism, academia, the Clinton presidency, the life of Jacqueline Kennedy, and the career of Barbra Streisand. Paglia explains her title thus:

"I want a revamped feminism. Putting the vamp back means the lady must be a tramp. My generation of Sixties rebels wanted to smash the bourgeois codes that had become the authoritarian totems of the Fifties. The 'nice' girl with her soft, sanitized speech and decorous manners had to go. Thirty years later, we're still stuck with her — in the official spokesmen and the anointed heiresses of the feminist establishment...Equal opportunity feminism, which I espouse, demands the removal of all barriers to woman's advance in the political and professional world — but not at the price of special protections for women which are infantilizing and anti-democratic."

ToC

The Penis Unsheathed -- No Law in the Arena: a Pagan Theory of Sexuality. 1. Introduction: The Horses of Passion. 2. Sex Crime: Rape. 3. Sex War: Abortion, Battering, Sexual Harassment. 4. Sex Power: Prostitution, Stripping, Pornography. 5. Rebel Love: Homosexuality -- 6. Conclusion: Citizens of the Empire -- The Nursery-School Campus: The Corrupting of the Humanities in the U.S. -- Gay Stalinism -- The Return of Carry Nation: Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin -- The New Sexism: Liberating Art and Beauty -- An Open Letter to the Students of Harvard -- On Censorship -- Woody Allen Agonistes. Our Tabloid Princess: Amy Fisher -- The Female Lenny Bruce: Sandra Bernhard -- Brooklyn Nefertiti: Barbara Streisand -- Lolita Unclothed -- Diana Regina -- Television and the Clintons -- Kind of a Bitch: Why I Like Hillary Clinton -- Hillary in the Spotlight -- Laying the Ghost of Anita Hill: Bill Clinton and Paula Jones -- Mona Lisa in Motion: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis -- The Saint.



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