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Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power

4.64 of 5 stars 4.64  ·  rating details  ·  238 ratings  ·  12 reviews
"There are many kinds of power, used and unused, acknowledged or otherwise." Thus begins this powerful essay; Uses of the Erotic defines the power of the erotic, names the process by which women have been stripped of this power, and considers how women can reclaim it.

Uses of the Erotic shines among Audre Lorde's powerful legacy of speeches and essays, and has influenced fe
Paperback, 16 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Kore Press (first published December 1st 1978)
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I was absolutely blown away by the ideas presented in what was, in fact, a brochure.

What really resounded with me were two things; the postulation that the erotic lives in all of us and cannot be tapped because of its reformative powers in regards to setting our goals and life purpose, thus getting co=-opted into something that's dirty, immoral, and to be avoided, and the notion that what we do and enjoy and can share is erotic.

The erotic, Lorde writes, has the potential to give us an idea of s
Jun 04, 2007 courtney rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women, intellectuals
porn vs. eroticism. try that on for size.
The finding of Judith Shakespeare
Audre Lorde escribió uno de esos ensayos que cambió mi vida, mi percepción de mí misma en el mundo, del sexo, y mi concepto de revolución. Precisamente porque supo poner las palabras adecuadas (no en vano, Lorde es poeta) que definieran aquello que yo ya estaba construyendo por mi cuenta, junto con otras personas. En definitiva, se trata de un manifiesto brillante.

«The erotic has often been misnamed by men and used against women. It has been made into the confused, the trivial, the psychotic, a
"Beyond the superficial, the considered phrase, 'It feels right to me,' acknowledges the strength of the erotic into a true knowledge, for what that means is the first and most powerful guiding light toward any understanding."

Thank you, Audre, for being the most important philosopher in my life.
Courtney Trouble
i wonder how this essay would be different in 2015, knowing how much pornography has changed. would she agree that the power of the erotic has been funneled into feminist art that operates as pornography?
Dylan Tomorrow
Jul 18, 2013 Dylan Tomorrow marked it as wishlist
Recommended to Dylan by: a certain someone in a certain forum ;-)
Was pointed to this (or excerpts of it?) online :-):

Currently reading through it, really intriguing and matches some of my own experiences. A whole lot of mysterious, undiscovered countries of the sexual, the sensual and the erotic out there for all of us, methinks :-).
Definitely will have to re-read. Lorde has a lot of good stuff here. Uses of the erotic reminds me of bell hook's All About Love, but Lorde is compact and coming from a sort of different place. A more sensual and self-actualized place, if that makes any sense at all. I would recommend this essay to everyone everywhere especially those from marginalized communities.
Ani Greenwood
I loved this book - forty years ago!! I'll have to read it again. Bex - let me know what you think when you get to it.
Aug 21, 2012 Michel marked it as to-read
Found out about Lorde from "quote of the day" — look forward to reading this essay, and some of her poems.
Sally  Al Haq
to the anti-erotic societies
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CHAI 3/2010
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Lorde's poetry was published very regularly during the 1960s — in Langston Hughes' 1962 New Negro Poets, USA; in several foreign anthologies; and in black literary magazines. During this time, she was politically active in civil rights, anti-war, and feminist movements. Her first volume of poetry, The First Cities (1968), was published by the Poet's Press and edited by Diane di Prima, a former cla ...more
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“The erotic has often been misnamed by men and used against women. It has been made into the confused, the trivial, the psychotic, the plasticized sensation. For this reason, we have often turned away from the exploration and consideration of the erotic as a source of power and information, confusing it with its opposite, the pornographic. But pornography is a direct denial of the power of the erotic, for it represents the suppression of true feeling. Pornography emphasizes sensation without feeling.

The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire.”
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