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Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasyin America
by Laura Kipnis (Goodreads Author)
In this eye-opening exploration, Laura Kipnis challenges our tendency either to demonize pornography or to dismiss it. Examining the entire spectrum of pornography--from the anti-porn positions of Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin to the activities of men's magazine publishers such as Larry Flynt--Kipnis challenges our most basic preconceptions about the meaning of po ...more
Hardcover, 226 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Grove Press
(first published 1996)
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Excellent book – very accessible and engaging. Kipnis wants us to think about pornography not in terms of good/bad; instead she wants us to think about the larger questions and implications that pornography and taboos inspire. Instead of looking at culturally-sanctioned fantasies (examples: heterosexual rape fantasies, Playboy magazine ilk, straight porn), she analyzes the non-sanctioned varieties, which become taboo, highly regulated, and generally despised (examples include fat porn, transvest ...more
I want to give this 6 stars. Easily the best thing I've read so far on the politics of pornography - and it's about so much more as well. It's a smart, nuanced exploration of both the power and fear of erotic fantasy in contemporary society:
"This book means to offer a different footing for debates about pornography. Its position is that the differences between pornography and other forms of culture are less meaningful than their similarities. Pornography is a form of cultural expression, and th...more
Sep 02, 2013 Matt rated it it was amazing · review of another edition
Though it seems like many authors and academics are critically focusing on pornography nowadays, Laura Kipnis' work is one of the most interesting and influential: Rather than look at media technologies in relation to pornography (like Patchen Barss), or the symbolism behind particular codes of pornography (Berkeley Kaite), Kipnis considers the role pornography has in society in terms of its relation to culture. Kipnis' collection of essays are hardly disjointed: as she skips from S&M to cro ...more
After my disappointing experiences with Against Love and How to Become a Scandal, I was about ready to give up on Laura Kipnis. As you may recall, those were both freakin' awesome ideas for a book that, in Kipnis' capable hands, turned into interesting first chapters followed by hundreds of pages of pretty obvious observations delivered in prose that was annoyingly clever. This book, in contrast,is freakin' awesome start to finish. Long story short, she considers porn as a cultural production an ...more
I was surprised this book is 20 years old! I really enjoyed reading it but it's not exactly an incisive view of porn today. The tone is interesting, it's editorial and she has interesting observations about society's sexual anxieties that get acted out through porn which is treated as a marginal concern even though it's pervasive in North American culture. So lots of psycho-sexual analysis gets enacted through porn. The author doesn't really make a value judgement about pornography, but rather a ...more
Oct 20, 2014 Corey added it · review of another edition
People seem to like this book. Kipnis has some interesting insights into the semiotics of pornography, but the problem is that in order for her semiotic analysis to matter, Catherine Mackinnon and Andrea Dworkin have to be wrong. I'm not convinced they are, despite some brief arguments against those two in this book.
Apr 15, 2011 Annemarie Donahue rated it it was amazing · review of another edition
Fantastic grouping of literary criticism! My favourite is On Reading Hustler! The essay On Reading Hustler, is a very interesting and helpful insight on the development of pornography as a language in our culture. The use of the image of a naked woman goes far beyond the obvious mastrabratourial stereotype. What Laura Kipnis argues is that, thanks to publications like Hustler, pornography has evolved from a simple skin-rag and into a critical force within our own culture. Hustler, as it mixes we ...more
Laura Kipnis is the author of Against Love: A Polemic; How to Become A Scandal; The Female Thing; Bound and Gagged; and the upcoming Men: Notes from an Ongoing Observation (out in November). Her books have been translated into fifteen languages. She's written essays and criticism for Slate, Harper’s, Playboy, New York Times Magazine, New York Times Book Review, and Bookforum. A former filmmaker, s ...moreMore about Laura Kipnis...