Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Reality Show!

Molly on the casting couch for her new reality TV show:

Life Is A Bitch
Then You Get A Treat

All inquiries strictly confidential. Thanks for your interest.

The Taming of the Shrew(s): Reality TV

I keep waiting for “reality tv” to jump the shark, but my wait may be in vain. Every season tops the last in exploitative, narcissistic, soulless, yet strangely addictive programming. Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel, talk about lowest common denominator--- friends, Romans, countrymen--- we have found it. And it lives in our TV’s and obviously in our hearts. We embrace it with open arms. What is wrong with us? Are we all really that stupid?

I watch The Millionaire Club, The Real Housewives of New York City, Tough Love and Dr. Drew Pinsky and his idiots---er, addicts. I’ve watched a few episodes of Cherry Girl. I’m dying to watch Tiaras and Tears, or whatever its called--- the show where little girls are turned into living dolls. The sexism is so blatant, the stereotypes so cartoonish, I got to wonder why its so entertaining.

The Millionaire Matchmaker, which is a dating service in Los Angeles, pairs rich men with young women. Patty Stanger, the CEO, sets up mixers, but really they are more like cattle auctions. Sometimes the men peer in at a group of women behind a two way mirror. The better to assess the loin, the thigh and the breast, test their marketability, their value, their worth on the open market. When Patty “auditions” these young women she is often brutal, “Your hair is all wrong. The beads, the earrings, nothing matches. You need a makeover.”

Similarly in Tough Love, another dating show, the young man in charge of taming his wild shrews, tells a woman, “You’ll never get married by putting your fun bags on display.” Whew. Thanks for the heads up, guy. I’ll keep my fun bags where they belong. And finally, the real housewives are portrayed as backstabbing, cat fighting, middle-aged shrews with really good clothes. Sigh. I love to hate them.

God knows what to expect next season. We’ve already watched people slice their faces open in the name of beauty and better ratings. We’ve watched drunken party girls in Rock of Love arguing over a Has-Been-Rock-Star Lothario--- this show alone has not only resuscitated the idea of the Bimbo but sent it rocketing to another dimension. Thanks, and thanks again. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I bet the catfights, the sniping, the betrayals, the reversals, the tricks, the trauma, the tears and the pain are all scripted.

Reality TV show writers are wising up and asking to belong to the union. So. Wait. If these people are real, and the situations are real, then why do they need writers? Because there’s got to be conflict. Good conflict is good drama. This is what keeps us hooked. And my intuition tells me most of the drama is cooked up. This is why these shows need writers.

I bet the scenes are sketched out. I bet the real people are coached. I bet the fights are fake. We like these shows because we like conflict, we like drama, and we like to watch people behaving having badly. We especially like to watch rich, famous people behaving badly. So despite the fact that these shows trot out the worst possible stereotypes, exploit little girls, celebrate narcissism, we’ll keep watching.

Because reality TV is neither--- it is simply an old form of story-telling wearing a different dress. The Real Housewives of New York are simply taking the playbook from Dallas or Knots Landing. Let’s at least be aware of the considerable artifice behind the word “real”---as we tune in to find out why Bettheny Frankel hates Kelly Bensimon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I Got Burnt Out

Home sick with the flu, catching up on blog posts, getting back into the game, but also watching a lot of movies. The sweetest by far is Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. First I adore movies filmed in New York City. I recognized every single location in Manhattan; Arlene's Grocery, Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom, the Brooklyn Bridge (which I love way too much).

This film is a genuine, authentic love story. God, it really made me wish I was 18 again and ready, willing and able to fall in love. The characters run around all night, making out, having sex, making music, getting drunk but also really connecting. At the end, as the sun comes up, they are all on a rooftop somewhere listening to a band. Huh. I used to stay up all night, doing those things. The last time I was out late, maybe 2 a.m., I was sick for three days. It was worth it though :). I was out with JNET and we hit Sapphires and I danced like a fool all night long. I didn't fall in love, but I pretended it was possible.

Here's my little prayer to the universe that when I wake up tomorrow morning, all will be well, and I can go back to the gym, and back to my life, now that spring is here. I think I got burnt out writing for four different blogs, I love it, but I was working seven days a week. This week got an unexpected tap on the shoulder--- my post for the Brooklyn Heights Blog was included in the NYTimes City Section. Yay for me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Am My Own Husband

Yesterday was Gloria Steinem's 75th birthday. I read about it in the Daily News. Ms. Steinem said, I'm becoming the man I originally wanted to marry. That really stopped me in my tracks. I have become that man, too. That strong, compassionate, intelligent, accomplished, creative, spiritual person I had wanted to be my life partner. I've created him in myself. Apparently I am a woman of extremes. From 17 to 38 I had three serious long term relationships. Twenty one years of partnerships with three good men. No time off for good behavior. Before I broke up with Marc, I met Jon. Before I broke up with Jon, I met Peter

Now, I've been single for 14 years. And maybe, just maybe the reason this doesn't really bother me is that I am complete. I am he and she. All of the masculine qualities we women seek in our opposites I've internalized. What choice did I have? I dated men galore, had affairs galore, but honestly at the end of the day, wanted my own space back. I was happy to see Richard, David, Jack and Sal et cetera show up at my door. And I was equally happy to see them out the next day. I've been dodging the relationship bullet for 14 years. I really wanted to know how it would feel to be an emotionally autonomous woman. Wholly responsible for her own happiness.

When my husband and I first moved to NYC in 1989, we'd stroll down Lexington Avenue, hand in hand with our coffee and blueberry muffins. I would peer into the windows and secretly think: My God. Imagine how it would feel to live alone in this fucking city. This thought filled me with fear, awe and longing. Would I ever really have the balls to do this? Live on my own in this monstrous magical profane and blessed city. Yes. I would have the balls. Yes, I do have the balls. I've been doing it for almost 15 years.

The thought does strike me from time to time that having a partner would be nice. But he would have to be so perfect, so in tune with me, that he would never rain on my parade. He would never try to stop me from growing, from having nervous breakdowns, triumphs, depression, fits of dancing, maniacal laughter, pitiful crying jags, days of isolation, 10 hours a day in front of the computer, no bullshit about why the kitchen floor isn't clean or why the laundry has piled up or God forbid any other stereotypes regarding a women's place in this world.

If that man exists, I would welcome him. But to have a man for the sake of having a man is just never going to happen. I think Gloria Steinman said it perfectly. I've stepped outside of the box that society has created for women and thumbed my nose at cultural expectations. And of course one pays a high price for this. I'm sure many women would attest to this. Bad Date (earlier post) is just one example. Simply, no thank you. When I went out on a date last month with a man from the past--- I realized that I had downplayed my own success as a writer to off-set his relative non-success as a writer. I realized on this recent date that I would never do that again. Ever.

It's a conundrum. No man is an island. And no woman is an island either. I get lonely. I do. My aunt told me my grandmother got lonely after my grandfather died. It surprised me to hear this. She seemed so self-sufficient. There was a kind of joy to her days as she bustled about her tidy little home in the Mid West. Caring only for herself after more than half a century caring for others. I admired her singularity. Her steadfastness. Her sense of autonomy; of knowing how to do everything that needed to get done. I see her in myself, too. In the end, every lifestyle choice has its own compromises, its own risks, its own potential for heartache as well as happiness. In the political climate of the new millennium, well into the the 3rd wave of feminism, I have become my own husband.

Honey, would you pour me a drink?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bad Date 101

Bad dates. What can you say about them that haven't already been said? I'm still going to try. I wasn't aware that when I made plans with a "friend" that he had other notions. We had expressed a mutual attraction last summer. On my part, far more tentative. There were things I liked about him--- in the abstract. He was my age, educated, a New Yorker, involved in the community, professional, a single parent. Last summer, I went out on a date with him and immediately wanted to be somewhere else.

From the moment he walked in, he invaded my personal space. Pulled his bar stool way too close to mine. Put his arm around me to massage my back. WTF? I hardly knew him. As a good girl who came of age in the mid-west, where there had been no revolution, I moved my bar stool further away. I didn't say a word. I wanted to be polite. I was raised to be polite. Are all women raised to be polite, or am I just an idiot? I ordered another vodka and planned to exit stage right as soon as humanly possible. Which I did.

Yet, I tried again with him in the fall. Why? Maybe every once in awhile I need to check in with myself. Find out if my feelings are genuine or if I've just become cynical and jaded. I spent a nice afternoon with him, but it was nothing special. I wanted to like him in that romantic, sexy way. But it just wasn't happening. We drifted out of each other's lives--- I was fine with that. Disappointed, but fine. Why oh why couldn't I like him? Of course I was conveniently forgetting about his grabby, octupus-like, tentacle-like, touchy-feel-y behavior in the bar that night in August.

We connected again recently in a professional capacity. I assumed that he understood that the possibility of romance between us had flickered then failed. That the idea was DOA. Initially, he was coming over to my home. But the more I thought about that, the more I realized that I didn't want him in my home. So I made sure to wait outside for him. Again, my polite, Midwestern upbringing or something prevented me from telling him the truth. When he arrived, I just said--- let's go straight to a restaurant. I'm starving. I thought, good, problem solved. If I was wrong about not trusting him, I haven't made a scene. We can still have our professional meeting. No harm, no foul.

I enjoyed the meal. I had two margaritas. It was a bright, sunny day. I enjoyed our conversation. Then he said, I'm really looking forward to seeing your place." Duh. Uh. My mind raced furiously. Did he really not understand that when I met him OUTSIDE of my apartment, that I didn't want him in my apartment? Wasn't this a polite, diplomatic, educated, classy way of handling the situation. Or again, am I an idiot. Whatever. I could think of nothing to say. Nothing. I just hoped that I could trust him. That he wasn't going to try and resurrect a romance that had never really existed.

Initially, Molly claimed all the attention; barking, jumping, being adorable, being a pain in the ass. We partook of an herbal delight. The conversation was still good. The man is smart. He sat at one end of my leather couch, I sat at the other. I put on music. However, I did not put on smoky, sexy jazz; no Miles Davis, no Coltrane, no Monk. This was a mix CD, world music. My friend Mars made it for me. She paints to it in her studio. It's not sexy! Then I sat on the other couch, on the other side of the room. Distance. I wanted distance. I did not want him thinking that this was romantic.

OK. So maybe all of the above is ambiguous. It's possible, right? It's possible that he misread all my signals. But then out of the blue, he got up, marched across the room and sat down next to me. Again, WTF? I got up immediately. I said I was going to take Molly for a walk. I was still trying to salvage some professional equity. No hard feelings. He said fine, he was going to leave anyway. Again, I was relieved. Whew. I thought, good, he finally understands, and we can still be friends, and perhaps collaborators. I walked into the kitchen to show him out.

He pulled me close, and said, At least me kiss you. I allowed this to happen, one kiss, and pulled away. He pulled me closer again. I pulled away again. Now, its a tricky situation. We have mutual friends. We're not adolescents drunk on a six pack of Coors. We're adults. We are educated, democratic, artistic, accomplished. This should not be happening. Not in New York City, much less Brooklyn. I really should not have to fend off a man's advances anymore. OK? This is archaic. And it felt ridiculous and almost embarrassing. Boyfriend's got to write himself some new rules.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fail, You Bastards!

I continue to watch the financial news and I continually wish that all the companies that are too big to fail would do just that--- fail. News teams are regularly uncovering all kinds of fraud in the mortgage business. I listened to a Harvard economist talk about how we've just seen the tip of the iceberg; the crash of mortgage backed securities. She said, wait till the next shoe is dropped, consumer debt on credit cards. She said that's really going to be a wild ride. The mayor of this great city said we've got to get out and start spending, and I say to him, with whose money? Yours?

I am thinking about all the things I no longer spend money on:

  1. Mac Make-up. My go to brand for almost 15 years. Now I buy Rimmel out of London. It's about 50% cheaper.
  2. Molly. I do not pay people to wash her. I wipe down her paws on rainy days, clip the hair out of her face and cut her toenails myself. I do not have 100 bucks to drop on a day of beauty for her.
  3. My favorite Japanese restaurant. It's four blocks from my home. It has the best teriyaki chicken in the world. I would order the obenzai, appetizer of the day, drink two glasses of a white Rioja, and read the paper. But no more. The bill is $40.00 for this and it ain't happening.
  4. Ann Taylor on Montague Street. I was a regular--- buying up white shirts, khaki trousers, flip flops, T-shirts. A great place for basics. I don't have the money for basics anymore.
  5. Wee Wee Pads for Molly. She pees on the New York Post. What? Something wrong with that?
  6. No. More. Cabs.
  7. No more pay per view movies on Time Warner. If there's a movie I like on Sundance, I watch it. If not, I am now watching crap reality TV on Bravo. It's like crack cocaine and now I'm addicted. Whatever. If it lowers my IQ, so be it.
  8. Shoes. I've been wearing the same pair of black cowboy boots since December. If I'm lucky I'll have enough money to buy a pair of spring sandals at PayLess. Rock on Sista!
  9. I cook my own food and eat it even when it tastes like crap.
  10. I do not go to restaurants. I do not go to the movies.

Mayor Bloomberg, if you want me to start spending money, please help me find a fourth job. Otherwise shut your patrician mouth.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Wonder Woman is Making a Movie in Manhattan

Linda Stein, noted feminist sculptor and filmmaker, is making a movie in her TriBeCa studio. I met Linda at an event at The Brooklyn Museum. She asked me to be in her movie. I said yes. I’m game for anything these days. A week later, on a cloudy winter afternoon, I found myself on Reade Street, blocks from Ground Zero. I rang the buzzer. Linda led downstairs to her studio where I found gorgeous, powerful sculptures hanging on the wall. They evoked breastplates or armor fused from copper, zinc, magnesium and brass. The line of the sculptures are feminine, the curves are sinuous. They embody feminine strength, beauty and mystery. They are iconic, inspired by Wonder Woman. These are her Knights.

I stood in front of the video camera, self conscious in my blue jeans, my bare feet, my green T-shirt. Her studio manager walked over and placed one of the Knights up against my body, so that it seemed I was wearing a body mask or a shield. I tried on five of them--- each one evoking different images; the Venus of Willendorf, a tree, a shadow. I felt larger than myself. Over 30 people have starred in her film. Over 30 people, men and women, have tried on Stein’s sculptures, over 30 people have been transformed for her video camera. The movie is an experiment, a work in progress.

On September 11th, Ms. Stein had to run for her life. She ran north to Canal, and eventually found refuge in a bar on Broome Street. Shortly thereafter, she began this body of work. In a catalog from the Flomenhaft Gallery in New York (Nov-Dec 06), the exhibit is called The Power to Protect. Not only has she found refuge in these sculptures, Ms. Stein has also found strength. Anyone who sees her work will find this as well, men and women. I walked out of her studio impressed by her talent, intelligence and her boundless aesthetic sense. I walked out of her studio, now late afternoon, feeling a little stronger myself, still somehow carrying the armor of her Knights.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Sunny Afternoon in Soho

Photo by: John Naumowicz, my brother.

A sunny afternoon in Soho with aforementioned brother, and niece, Angie. Lunch in Little Italy. Shopping in boutiques. Johnny bought a blazer from an independent designer who works with John Legend. It was a beautiful day. Angie turned 23 yesterday and got engaged. I wish her love and happiness.

The Ides of March, Part 2

My rape has led me to investigate sexuality. My rape has led me to examine the power dynamics between men and women: a quest to define what it means to be a woman. I extensively investigated the witch trials of the 16th and 17th century because the power of female sexuality was on trial, not alleged supernatural powers or pacts with the devil. I identify as a feminist and have searched for female icons in Greek and Roman mythology to validate that power. I've read the Gnostic Gospels, the ones thrown away by the early Christians, because they included female Gods. I've read Robert Graves because he posits the existence of the triple moon goddess. I identify with Sophia, Athena, Diana, Inanna, Isis--- I had to find a spiritual home outside of my native Catholicism. I've read Jungian psychoanalytic theory and how feminist critics have revised his idea of archetypes to include the feminine. I want to contribute to the work of uncovering the female narrative. I do all this because my life depended on it.

I work on this everyday of my life, it has become my life. It is my life. Rape robs you of your soul, leaves it shattered. It has been my job to recreate myself, but I've chosen to recreate myself in my own image. An image of strength and creativity. I don't know why I have been so strong. At times I felt that I've had to apologize for this strength or feel guilty because I have survived. But I have paid a price. I have paid a high price. I will not know if my decision to not have children rests upon my legacy. I will not know if my solitary life is also a result of this. I've been treated for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, agoraphobia, panic disorder, nightmares. It's why my marriage to a good man failed.

As the Ides of March looms once again, I find that bringing this demon out into the light of day, into a public forum, has made me feel better. I am grateful that I continue to find ways to heal myself, spiritually, emotionally and psychologically. I find that I am grateful for my continued strength. The nightmare never goes away. The past cannot be erased. The pain is still there. But I am not in pieces. I am recreated. I am the female Phoenix. And I am beautiful.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Beware the Ides of March

March 15, 2009 marks the 39th anniversary of my rape. I hate writing these words. It's a club I don't want to belong to, who would? I read somewhere once, that if you keep your demons inside of you, they will destroy you, if you bring them out into the open they will liberate you. I'm intrigued by this and in theory believe this. So this is the test run. On March 15, 1970 at the age of 13, I was raped. Do I feel any better? No. But let's give this time.

I wrote in an earlier post about a friend who wrote the screenplay for one of the most notorious porn films of all time, Debbie Does Dallas. She agreed, 35 years later, I could tell her story. At the last minute, she changed her mind. The shame was killing her. I was angry at first, I had spent a lot of time on the article and a prominent journal had accepted it. Then I realized that it was hypocritical of me to be angry. After all, I had my own dark secret, too. I think there are many, many women out there with their own dark secrets. No, I'll rephrase that. I KNOW there are many women out there with the same secret.

I would like to propose a day of mourning, once a year, for all the women in the world who have been raped. On this day, we would all join hands and tell our stories out loud. People---family members, friends, and even strangers would embrace us in their arms, hold us tight, whisper in our ears, "it wasn't your fault, we're so sorry it happened, we love you, you are not dirty, you are not damaged goods, this is not your shame, this is not your sorrow." Instead of wrapping myself up in blanket, not answering the phone, crying, anesthetizing myself with cigarettes, and junk TV, just waiting until the day has passed.

I've tried ignoring it but the body remembers trauma. The body has a life and a mind of its own. It has its own memory. I'm tired of this demon inside of me. After 39 years, I'm going to try something different.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Rihanna goes back to her boyfriend. WTF? Members of the music community who had initally blasted Chris Brown, now are back pedaling, even apologizing for the bad things they said about him. WTF? Maybe this will all go away and he can get back to the $$$$ business of being Chris Brown, ka ching. Let's just sweep this under the carpet with yesterday's garbage. Let's pretend it didn't happen. It didn't happen. They're young, good looking, and in love. What else matters?

Srsly. He choked her. Pummeled her. The photos that leaked to the press represent a woman who looked DOA. Every day, almost every day I read a story about a man who loved his woman so much he had to kill her. I love the part where it reads, "she had recently taken out an order of protection." I love that part. Women who take out an order of protection always seem to be dead within the week, or the month. It's an order of un-protection.

I blame, in part, the notion of romantic love. The notion that a woman is nothing without her man, her soulmate. It's a fairy-tale and it's killing us. Can we please send this to trash bin of history? Can we press delete and start over? Why is everybody falling all over themselves to exonerate Chris Brown?

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Monsters of Finance Are Going to Eat YOU

The monsters of finance are going to get you and eat you. Next month AIG will extort another 30 billion dollars, the month after that GM will extort 50 billion. Aaaaah. Eeeee. Kapow! Who can stop these monsters from devouring our lovely, over-extended capitalistic empire? Call in the super heroes, stock up on beer, eggs and potato chips, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
photo by: Marc Travanti

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Graduation Day for the Girls Next Door

Two nights ago I watched the hour long finale of The Girls Next Door. I do believe these women had really bonded with each other, and the tears they cried were real tears. The youngest, Kendra, had fallen in love with a football player and wanted to live her own life. She'd come to the Playboy Mansion at the age of 18 and is now 23. Bridget was off to film a documentary series about the best beaches in the world, and Holly was off to a photo shoot in Las Vegas. All three left Hef's famous circular bed. He looked surprised, even stunned. In his younger bachelor days, he was the one to move on, now he's too old. Oh well.

Initially I was prepared to despise this reality show-- objectification of women, old guy having sex with three young women, all of the women sporting silicone enhanced breasts, all blond. I thought for sure the catfight was on! But it wasn't. Not at all. They're not the smartest women I've ever met, but they were certainly sweet, good-natured and genuinely likable. In the hierarchy, Holly was the top woman, and Bridget and Kendra accepted this without any bitchery.

I will say however, that Kendra, as the youngest--- was the most poignant. Why? As she made her way through the mansion saying her good byes, she referred to several of the staff as being "a mother to her." Her real mother actively participated in life at the Mansion including plastic surgery. Kendra's her own woman, but if she was my daughter, I would be livid at Hef, an 80 year old pervert, perverting my daughter. Instead, her mother embraced the lifestyle for her daughter as well as herself. No wonder she turned staff members, older women, into mother figures.

Hef looked lost as he bid farewell to his luscious trio of girlfriends, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, he's got his hands full with two new girls. I think he's really going to miss Kendra, Bridget and Holly. I think he might just have some real heartache on his hands. Luckily, Kendra has her own show coming up. She was often dismissed as being an airhead, a bimbo, but now she's got the last laugh.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Badlands at Smack Mellon Gallery in Dumbo

When I first walked into Smack Mellon Gallery in Dumbo last Thursday night, for its Press Play series, I saw a wall. For a second I wondered if I had gotten the date wrong. I wondered if the gallery was still working on the installation. The bisected cavernous space looked completely different. And of course that was the point. I was looking at, confronted by Blane De St. Croix's installation/exhibit, Broken Landscape. It is an almost literal rendering of the Mexico/US border, over eighty feet in length in the main gallery space, but monumentally "miniaturized" (the artist's words). The wall itself is chest high, perhaps a foot wide.

Reaching down from the wall, it is as if a giant knife has sliced through the earth, the piece reveals the underlying geological stratum as neatly and as scientifically as a textbook. The terrain is haunted. It is devoid of human habitation. The border is a ghost town. One the one hand it is an intimate portrait of the unfriendly, almost menacing topography of this region, and on the other, a charged political statement. The end of the wall is a bisected overpass of a highway that begins and ends in mid-air. At the beginning, the border resembles the badlands, an almost primeval landscape. It evolves into civilization, the floating highway--- yet both look dangerous.

In the smaller gallery is Carlos Motta's, The Good Life. This is an installation with a multi-channel video presentation with 12 monitors mounted on a four part, two tiered wooden structure. From the his notes, this structure references "the theater and general space of the Athenian Agora, in which citizens were entitled to meet, debate and participate in legislative decisions." When I walked into this gallery, another confrontation--- but this time, highly populated and very vocal. The artist interviewed pedestrians on the streets of South America between 2005-2008 on democracy, US involvement in their countries, and the idea of leadership. In particular, a man spoke about the horrible conditions of a local hospital. He talked about the flies that landed on his mother's body, another woman suggested the US government sticks it nose where it doesn't belong.

As I peered across the divide, past the badlands, the music began. Nutria NN is the stage name of Christian Torres-Roje. Technically, Chilean folk rock, but obviously fused with other cultures and styles. It was harmonic, subdued, poignant--- a fitting and apt counterpart to the art. Once again, Smack Mellon has succeeded in curating an evening of music and art that not only references each other, but illuminates and enriches. Once again, superior beer by Kelso breweries was on hand, and this time, now March, it was warm enough to walk home. Excellent.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Her Money Shot

I've been thinking about this piece I am writing for About the difference between male directed porn and female. Specifically, what makes Candida Royalle so good at what she does and why I'm glad she's doing what she's doing. A couple of years ago, when I was getting my Masters at NYU, I wrote a paper on the text or language of male porn. The whole landscape of it--- how the body functions, how language functions and about the power dynamic. I parsed and pondered the deep (ha ha) structure. Here is what I found: Male porn has a distinct and definite three act structure and I wonder if this is the macrocosm of male desire. The (1) reveal, the (2) blowjob and/or the fucking and (3) coming in a woman's face (hair, tits).

E. Ann Kaplan writes: "...we have been rightly wary of identifying with our own objectification." Women are objects in male porn, this is undeniable. And it was troubling to identify with the woman, all donned up in fetishistic costuming, servicing that big juicy cock. I always felt a vague sense of shame while watching, a sense of--- am I not perpetuating stereotypes, what if she's a drug addict and is being coerced, what if she ended up in porn b/c she was abused? Not exactly the tableau one envisions for a night of reckless abandon. It didn't stop me from being a consumer of porn, but it was a double-edge sword.

Along comes Candida Royalle in 1998--- first brought to my attention by a couple of friends who bought me a Femme Production film (her company), a nightie and a vibrator for my birthday. I was startled and pleased and thrilled. The narrative is completely different. The women are subject not object. In Eyes of Desire, which I wrote about in an earlier post, a pretty blonde woman is being watched by a handsome stranger who lives across the street. Soon she is naked in the window so he can really get a taste of what's going on. She positions herself. She is a willing and active participant in the seduction. She has agency--- the character in the film and the actress who is playing her.

Yes, like male porn there is a reveal, but it is gradual. And like male porn it progresses in sexual intensity, but unlike male porn, it doesn't end with the money shot. It ends with her orgasm. Her satisfaction. Her money shot. This is the kind of story I can relate to. You feel me?

photo by: Marc Travanti