The Black Body in Ecstasy: Reading Race, Reading Pornography (Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies)

The Black Body in Ecstasy: Reading Race, Reading Pornography (Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies)

Jennifer Christine Nash

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 0822356201

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In The Black Body in Ecstasy, Jennifer C. Nash rewrites black feminism's theory of representation. Her analysis moves beyond black feminism's preoccupation with injury and recovery to consider how racial fictions can create a space of agency and even pleasure for black female subjects. Nash's innovative readings of hardcore pornographic films from the 1970s and 1980s develop a new method of analyzing racialized pornography that focuses on black women's pleasures in blackness: delights in toying with and subverting blackness, moments of racialized excitement, deliberate enactments of hyperbolic blackness, and humorous performances of blackness that poke fun at the fantastical project of race. Drawing on feminist and queer theory, critical race theory, and media studies, Nash creates a new black feminist interpretative practice, one attentive to the messy contradictions—between delight and discomfort, between desire and degradation—at the heart of black pleasures.

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particularly interested in creating cultural space for women's pleasures, they were committed to dismantling sexual hierarchies and promoting sexual diversity.54 As a result, this project actively contested the installation of certain sexual practices as “feminist.” Indeed, sex-radicals refused to interpret either viewing pornography or opposing pornography as necessarily feminist, and instead argued that feminism's purview did not include moral judgments. Amber Hollibaugh asserts, “Feminism

makes a transgressive claim about the fundamental sameness of bodies even as that claim is packaged, quite literally, in the promise of difference. Rather than exposing that “black women do it differently,” the film shows that sexual practices are identical across the imagined color line, that the black throat and the white throat are, in fact, equivalent. In so doing, the film gestures to a larger productive tension in the Silver Age all-black and interracial markets. While racialized

18 Miller-Young, “A Taste for Brown Sugar,” 146. 19 See Shimizu's Hypersexuality of Race for more on the trope of racialized bodies’ “hypersexuality.” 20 I discuss the interracial scene in Behind the Green Door in greater detail in chapter 2. 21 This fetishization of the money shot is, of course, not something found only in Behind the Green Door. Linda Williams notes that Deep Throat, the film which comically located the female protagonist's clitoris in her throat, was instrumental in making

Press, 2006. Locke, Brian. Racial Stigma on the Hollywood Screen from World War II to the Present. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing Press, 1984. ———. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing Press, 1983. Lott, Tommy L. “A No-Theory Theory of Contemporary Black Cinema.” Representing Blackness: Issues in Film and Video, ed. Valerie Smith, 83–96. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2003. Lubey, Kathleen.

Beacon, 2009. Scarry, Elaine. The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. Schaefer, Eric. Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!: A History of Exploitation Films, 1919–1959. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999. ———. “Dirty Little Secrets: Scholars, Archivists, and Dirty Movies.” Moving Image 5.2 (2005): 79–105. ———. “Gauging a Revolution: 16mm Film and the Rise of the Pornographic Feature.” Cinema Journal 41.3 (2002): 3–26. Scott, Darieck.

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