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Impure Bodies : American Pornography and Lesbian Corporeality

Title data

Cortiel, Jeanne:
Impure Bodies : American Pornography and Lesbian Corporeality.
In: Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik. Vol. 30 (2005) Issue 1-2 . - pp. 113-125.
ISSN 0171-5410

Official URL: Volltext

Abstract in another language

This paper focuses on erotic corporeality in lesbian-feminist pornography. Pornography itself is fundamentally paradoxical, assuming as it does that the body is both exquisitely fantastic and real in the most basic sense. As a specific subgenre, lesbian-feminist pornography, reduplicates this paradox, which is precisely what makes it so central to any analysis of how the flesh is discursivized to produce the body in a specific culture. Lesbian-feminist pornography is an interloper in several zones of cultural conflict at once—the body, gender, sexuality, race and class—and reveals some of the central erotic underpinnings of American feminism. In particular, three discourses that intersect in lesbian-feminist pornography give it a central position for an exploration of the human body in American culture: the discourses around the (1) lesbian body, (2) social power difference and (3) feminism. Insistently calling upon “the truth” about sexuality, American lesbian pornography both celebrates and dismisses experiential knowledge about corporeality, essentially disassembling its own point of departure, the female body, only to make it whole again as the original flesh in the end. Yet the desirous lesbian gaze in the pornographic text also subverts this harmonious conclusion. In the pornographic act, the performance ultimately eclipses the real and slips away from the self’s desire, the center of the truth that justifies its existence. This moment of eclipse becomes tangible in the short stories of Pat Califia, which together inaugurate and delimit American lesbian pornography as an independent genre.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature > Professor North American Studies - American Studies > Professor North American Studies - American Studies - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jeanne Cortiel
Profile Fields > Emerging Fields > Cultural Encounters and Transcultural Processes
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Institute for American Studies - BIFAS
Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature
Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature > Professor North American Studies - American Studies
Profile Fields
Profile Fields > Emerging Fields
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 800 Literature > 810 American literature in English
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2015 10:41
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2015 10:41