I’ve been doing some reading and research for the next reality post which I hope to have up soon. But in the meantime I came across some things that I found interesting about issues of sexuality and gender in our electronic reality. I’m not quite sure what to do with these links yet, if anything, but I thought you, Henri readers, might enjoy thinking about and discussing the implications of these thinkers’ ideas.
The first is from the 2009 TED conference. Cindy Gallop made a short presentation that went viral almost immediately, and has since popped up sporadically. In it she details the generational differences in sexual practices, and how “access” to internet porn has changed how we might engage in intimate connections. I will warn you that the language and the discussion is extremely frank. SO if you’re squeamish – stay away.
The second thing was this article in Mute magazine entitled Fear of Flesh: An Anatomy of Modern Frigidity by Laurie Penny. This article details how the age old sexual prohibitions continue at a faster and more virulent pace in the corporatized electronic reality. The critique is sharp, direct and heart breaking.
“What is at play here is a horror of flesh: a rubberised capitalist repugnance for flesh and the intimacy of human sexuality. Modern censors are necessarily misled about the nature of consumer frigidity, because their complicity is a necessary part of the trick: the strategic alienation of sexual consumers from their erotic selves relies precisely on censorship to blur the distinction between sexual intimacy and erotic capital, only one of which can be mass-produced. Such a joyless vision of eroticism only looks edgy and exciting because young people have nothing else to work with. A new model of corporate puritanism is on the march, and what is being censored on all sides is precisely Baudrillard’s ‘evocation of the body’. This emotional censorship is deeply traumatic.”
Finally there is an article in the Times by Camille Paglia entitled “No Sex Please, We’re Middle Class.”
“The elemental power of sexuality has also waned in American popular culture. Under the much-maligned studio production code, Hollywood made movies sizzling with flirtation and romance. But from the early ’70s on, nudity was in, and steamy build-up was out. A generation of filmmakers lost the skill of sophisticated innuendo. The situation worsened in the ’90s, when Hollywood pirated video games to turn women into cartoonishly pneumatic superheroines and sci-fi androids, fantasy figures without psychological complexity or the erotic needs of real women.”
All of these critiques are directed, ultimately, at our electronic culture and the programs that run through it. Intimacy is quickly going the way of privacy and we’re replacing it with something else….What are your thoughts about these issues of sexuality and intimacy? How do they manifest in your art, in your life?