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December 1993


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"B.J. Gooch" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 3 Dec 1993 11:32:11 EST
text/plain (26 lines)
To the person who inquired about male spectatorship in viewing pornography,
Linda Williams, in her 1989 publication Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the
"Frenzy of the Visible," suggests that in viewing hard core pornographic
films, the easy dichotomy of male-subject, female-object can be questioned.
She theorizes that the identificatory process may involve a greater element
of bisexuality than previously considered by many feminist film critics.
One article which she uses to substantiate this theory is by Scott Mac-
Donald ("Confessions of a Feminist Porn Watcher," Film Quarterly 36, no.3:
10-17, 1983). What follows is an interesting quote from this article.
          To a considerable extent, theater and arcade porn films
          are about erections....The darkness of porn houses and
          the privacy of arcade booths allow one to see erections
          close-up. The presence of women has its own power, but in
          this particular context, one of the primary functions of
          the female presence is to serve as a sign - to others and
          to oneself- that looking at erections, even finding them
          sexy, does not mean that the viewer defines himself as
If you are really interested in a different feminist perspective on
pornographic film, I reallu suggest you read Linda Williams' book.
It was a fascinating read.