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Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasyin America

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  156 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
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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May 20, 2007 MM rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dylan Horrocks
May 30, 2014 Dylan Horrocks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sex
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
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
Jun 12, 2011 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 14, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
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
Mar 15, 2007 Jafar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The poor, repressed, emasculated, frustrated American male!
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.
Annemarie Donahue
Apr 15, 2011 Annemarie Donahue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, theory
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
There's definitely some interesting stuff in here, but it's not as fascinating as I expected. There were times I was downright bored, and I certainly didn't expect that reading a book about pornography.
Jan 11, 2008 Tate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting look at the politics of pornography. The class analysis of Hustler and the section on fat porn were particularly insightful.
Jul 31, 2012 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The chapter "Clothes Make the Man" blew my mind!!covered a lot of things i had thought about from first seeing Cindy Sherman,s work.
Fantastic and fascinating so far
Jul 09, 2009 Ari marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ari by: tim chevalier
Tim tells me I need to read this.
Oct 27, 2007 Jamey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent argumentation.
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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 ...more
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