Sex Radical Cinema

Sex Radical Cinema

Sex Radical Cinema

Sex Radical Cinema

Synopsis

In this provocative study of cinematic and televisual representations of "sex radicalism," Carol Siegel explores how representations of sexually explicit content on film have shaped American cultural visions of sex and sexual politics in the 21st century. Siegel distinguishes between a liberal approach to visual representations, which has over-emphasized normative equal opportunity while undervaluing our distinctive erotic selves, and a radical approach to visual representation, which portrays forbidden sexualities and desires. She illustrates how visual media participates in and even drives political policies related to pedophilia, prostitution, interracial relationships, and war. By examining such popular film and television shows as Mystic River, The Wire, Fifty Shades of Grey, Batman Returns, and the HBO hits, Sex and the City and Girls, Siegel takes the discussion of radical sex in the movies out of the margins of political discussions and puts it in the center, where, she argues, it has belonged all along.

Excerpt

This book began several years ago when I was asked via a telephone political poll, “Do you identify as a liberal or a conservative?” I was shocked by the pollster’s annoyed response when I said, “neither—I’m a radical.” He informed me that he could not continue the survey unless I chose one or the other position. Subsequent calls during voting seasons have led me to realize that I no longer have a position within the American political spectrum that is recognized by those who analyze Americans’ investments in politics. Relying entirely on call screening to avoid being polled seemed one way for me to deal with how much this unsettled me. Because my politics lean much more toward the collectivist than the individualist, which is part of what “radical” means to me, writing a book to clarify what radicalism might mean in my field, cinema studies, seemed a better way to go. and in any case, I am not just a radical; I am a sex radical, a position that generates even more confusion, not just when trying to have my opinions included in political polls but also when trying to explain the reasons I value some films more than others for reasons directly determined by my politics. However, the point of this book is not to make me personally more politically comprehensible, but rather to bring a new perspective to the ways politics that are left of center relate to cinematic representations of sexuality. I am particularly interested in articulating what it means for a film to be pro-sex and at the same time supportive of gender and sexual equality, which is precisely what the term “sex radical cinema” means to me and to many other feminist, gender, and queer studies scholars.

The difficulty of articulating a comprehensible politically radical position on sex in cinema is not merely personal; it is a problem for everyone . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.