Sexy Bodies: The Strange Carnalities of Feminism

Sexy Bodies: The Strange Carnalities of Feminism

Sexy Bodies: The Strange Carnalities of Feminism

Sexy Bodies: The Strange Carnalities of Feminism

Synopsis

Are bodies sexy? How? In what sorts of ways? Sexy Bodies investigates the production of sexual bodies and sexual practices, of sexualities which are dyke, bi, transracial, and even hetero. It celebrates lesbian and queer sexualities but also explores what runs underneath and within all sexualities, discovering what is fundamentally weird and strange about all bodies, all carnalities.Looking at a pleasurable variety of cultural forms and texts, the contributors consider the particular charms of girls and horses, from National Velvet to Marnie ; discuss figures of the lesbian body from vampires to tribades to tomboys; uncover 'virtual' lesbians in the fiction of Jeanette Winterson; track desire in the music of legendary Blues singers; and investigate the ever-scrutinised and celebrated body of Elizabeth Taylor. The collection includes two important pieces of fiction by Mary Fallon and Nicole Brossard.

Excerpt

It is by now commonplace to introduce an anthology by announcing the aims of the collection, describing its contents, presenting the collection as a more or less unified, coherent entity and marketing it as a desirable commodity which promises multiple perspectives or viewpoints on a limited number of ‘objects’. It is thus not surprising that there are many, many collections on the body, although in the past they tended to converge on an unmarked, unsexed and a definitely unsexy body, a neutered and supposedly neutral object that was to explain the workings of another unmarked entity: society. More recently, critical attention has turned to sexuality, and especially women’s sexualities, producing a small avalanche of books which claim to explore pleasure, desire, lust, love, from a variety of angles, seeking to elucidate the intricacies, details, indeed the ‘secrets’ that compose this apparently ever-fascinating topic, to probe the tiniest details of sexuality, the intimate passions of desire so as to provide a better understanding of sexuality as a glistening, evasive yet circumscribable object.

This collection is different. For a start, it does not assume that there is a clear-cut and predefined thing called sexuality which we need to carefully describe and explain. Nor are the authors interested in pinning down the body or in tracking it in order to arrive at the threshold of sexuality, a threshold that would miraculously open upon the inner workings of subjectivity, power and knowledge, finally appearing translucent before the researcher’s detached vision. Rather, the writers take a risk and renounce any claims that their texts, bodies and sexualities may want to have on identity, they do not need to know in advance, to contain sexual desire, pleasure or any associated terms. Rather, the project that unites the disparate subjects of these essays is the production of sexualities, not their description; the wager is to constitute activities as sexual - the sexualization of activities - rather than merely to reflect on a pre-established and already valorized notion of sexuality and its attendant support, the body.

This book was conceived and produced in the spirit of conceptual and political exploration and experimentation: its brief was to rethink, to reconceptualize, explore, disentangle or recomplicate sexual bodies, considered in . . .

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