Welcome to a new edition of Tightrope Teaser Tuesday, where we give our readers the briefest of glances – teases, if you will – into our new, forthcoming, and backlist titles. Today’s Teaser is from The Best Canadian Essays 2009 Edited by Alex Boyd and Carmine Starnino.
Compiled from dozens of Canadian magazines by two award winning authors, this collection of essays covers a diverse range of topics by Canadian writers. By turns these essays move and excite the reader and help shape Canadian cultural consciousness.
The Best Canadian Essays is available now from Tightrope Books. It will formally launch on November 26th, at Revival, 783 College Street 7-11 PM.
Here is a little teaser from the essay The New Face of Porn by Allison Lee, originally published in This Magazine:
I’ve looked critically at sex, society, and porn for years now, and I still maintain that sex is an amazingly telling lens through which to view the world. This continues today, with my work as manager of Good for Her, a feminist sex store in Toronto, where I also organize the Feminist Porn Awards, which honour the hardworking feminists who are revolutionizing the porn industry. If the very idea of someone who cut her teeth on anti-porn theory now handing out butt-plug shaped trophies to pornographers doesn’t make Andrea Dworkin spin in her grave, I don’t know what would.
Today, one only has to turn on the TV, walk down the street, or type “free porn” into their web browser to see how unsuccessful the anti-porn movement was. Where anti-porn feminists of the past condemned the entire industry—often with valid reasons—their dogmatic view failed to take into account that sexual imagery can be positive, and that porn is sometimes created by people acting of their free will, who feel good about what they do and who hold pleasure in high esteem.
Now there is porn for everyone. Literally. There are websites that have audio recordings describing pornographic websites for blind people (pornfortheblind.org), porn full of saucy deaf people getting it on and using sign language to express their desires (deafbunny.com), and sites that cater to everything from our fear and fascination with Middle Eastern and Muslim women (arabstreethookers.com) to snot fetishes (seriously: see snotgirls.com if you dare). There is now porn about pretty much anything that a person could ever think of in a sexy way—and plenty that most of us would never find erotic, either. And, of course, there is pornography made specifically for women, who, according to a recent survey by Internet Filter Review, visit adult websites at a rate of one for every two men. Looking back to the time when feminists viewed pornography as an instruction manual for the degradation of women, the biggest irony may be that sexually empowered feminist women have gone from being critics of pornography to being major consumers of it. Pornography, like sex itself, is fraught with complexity and contradiction, but the failure of anti-porn feminism was ultimately positive. Out of its ashes came a new culture of porn that is serious and steadfast in its dedication to pleasure and politics.