Book Review: What Is Obscenity? by Rokudenashiko

This review contains profane language. 😉

What Is Obscenity? The Story of a Good For Nothing Artist And Her Pussy is a graphic novel (manga) by Rokudenashiko, the Japanese manga writer and artist who was arrested for obscenity over her vulva-shaped kayak. In her book, she documents her arrest and imprisonment as well as the reasons why she began creating this kind of art. She is a brave and rebellious woman with a delightful sense of humor and her book is entertaining and thought-provoking. It’s written in manga style and reads from back to front and from right to left. In addition to her documentation of her life as a rebel artist, it contains information pages about relevant Japanese culture and some photos of her art.

Rokudenashiko, whose real name is Megumi Igarashi, was arrested in 2014 for what was considered a violation of obscenity laws. She had done a 3D scan of her vulva and used that scan to print a vulva-shaped kayak using a 3D printer. She crowd-funded to pay for her creation and as a thank you gift to her donors, she sent each one the 3D scan of her vulva. They can use this digital file to print more objects shaped as her genitals. News of her arrest spread quickly and she now has a fan following around the world. Instead of being just a struggling manga writer she is now a famous “manko artist.”

kayak

Photo source

“Manko” is Japanese slang for female genitals. The translator of her book translated this word sometimes as vagina and sometimes as pussy. I’ve looked at definitions of manko on Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary and apparently this word can mean vagina, vulva, pussy, cunt, or “to fuck.” (It figures that the same word that means vagina also means to fuck. What does that tell you?) Just so you know what we’re dealing with, manko is not a medical term, it’s colloquial and profane, and probably is equivalent to “pussy” in English.

Igarashi started creating “manko art” quite by chance. As she says in her book, she was a struggling manga writer looking for interesting stories to tell so she could advance her career. She was searching on the Internet for pubic hair removal one day and she came across the possibility of vaginal reconstructive surgery. She had never thought of this before and she quickly decided to do it. It seems that she has a rather casual attitude toward plastic surgery. She had no “complex” about her genitals but she thought the experience would make a good story to write about in her manga. Essentially, she got the surgery just for the heck of it and to write about it.

Since she had just gotten a “beautiful new pussy,” (her words, not mine) and since she’s an artist and a quirky character, she decided to make a mold of her genitals. After she created the mold and looked at her plaster vulva, she thought it looked “boring.” A caption in the side of the cartoon says “Would’ve been better with flappy labia, actually.” That was my thought exactly! Maybe if your “new pussy” looks boring, what it actually needed was more labia! (And I’m definitely not trying to put down anyone with naturally small lips. Just saying, you don’t need to cut yours off to make it look “better.”) Since she thought it looked “boring,” she decorated it with flowers and things. Thus, her manko art was born.

A few other people in Japan started noticing her manko art and some women even came to a workshop to make their own. The women in the workshop really loved making art out of their genitals and Igarashi began to see how much she could inspire women with her art. However, she received a lot of negative backlash from people, mostly men, who thought what she was doing was unacceptable. Men’s responses came in two forms: either making vagina art was obscene, or they thought she must be really perverted and wanted random guys to fuck her. It never fails, if a woman appears in public while not hiding the fact that she has a vagina, random men assume that means she wants them to fuck her. (Porn culture! Rape culture!)

Igarashi’s style is not erotic though. Her style is funny, whimsical, cartoonish, and very “pop.” A lot of her designs are consumer products: an iPhone case with a vulva on it, for example. You can see her artwork on her online store and her Tumblr.

My favourite artwork of hers is the diorama where her vulva is the ground and soldiers are fighting over top of it. This feels like a more ‘serious’ artwork to me, and it’s very spot-on. The female genitals are simply the ground that men walk on, and they’re shooting each other over it.

vulva art 3

Photo source

I also like her vulva T-shirt. I would totally wear that.

Her response to getting negative backlash from cranky men was to make more manko art specifically to piss them off. When one commenter said that manko should only be looked at in the dark under blankets, she made a manko chandelier so that it would shine brightly across the room. Ha! When she made her 3D printed kayak, it was because she wanted to make something really big. What she really wants is to make a vulva-shaped vehicle, but since she doesn’t have a driver’s license, she made a kayak, which she can drive without a license. She really did sail the kayak.

When she was arrested, ten police officers entered her apartment without permission, raided her apartment for “obscene” artwork, and handcuffed her and tied her at the waist. Ten police officers to arrest a small, unarmed, female artist! Her excellent sense of humor and her gift of storytelling really come through when she describes her arrest. The police kept picking up art objects and asking her what they were. Nearly every time they asked, she said “it’s my manko,” and they were shocked that she would say this word out loud. She started finding it so funny that she began deliberately using the word as often as possible. There is one cartoon where it’s just a picture of her surrounded by speech bubbles, and each speech bubble says “manko.” That one really had me laughing. The idea of her being raided by the police for obscenity and saying “manko” as often as possible is so hilarious and the way she describes it is just adorable. She kept this up when in prison and in court. Every time she was allowed to make a statement, she said “manko” as often as possible just to piss them off. She even got them to read it back to her during times when they had to read her statement, which made them uncomfortable but amused her.

In her book, she initially draws herself as a person, but eventually she starts drawing herself as a large cartoon vulva, with eyes and a mouth and always a relevant facial expression. I get the impression like she felt it was her vulva that was getting in trouble with the authorities.

Igarashi has identified that there is a double standard in Japan with regards to genitals. It’s fine to mention the penis but it’s taboo to mention the vagina. In addition, men have no problem with porn but they have a problem with vulva art created by women. To really illustrate how far the double standard goes, there is actually a festival in Japan that celebrates the penis. Check this out on Wikipedia:

“The Shinto Kanamara Matsuri, (“Festival of the Steel Phallus”) is held each spring at the Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki, Japan. The exact dates vary: the main festivities fall on the first Sunday in April. The phallus, as the central theme of the event, is reflected in illustrations, candy, carved vegetables, decorations, and a mikoshi parade. The Kanamara Matsuri is centered on a local penis-venerating shrine.”

penis statue

So it’s okay to have a parade where a big, tacky, ugly steel penis is rolled down the street, but if a woman makes a mold of her vulva, she needs to be arrested by ten police officers and thrown in jail.

Igarashi says some feminist things in her book and in her interviews, although she says she doesn’t necessarily call herself a feminist, and she is definitely a liberal, not a radical. She simply identifies a double standard and an unfairness toward women but she doesn’t theorize about patriarchy or name women as an oppressed class of people.

Of course, I have some theories about women as an oppressed class of people. There are lots of men who lose their shit when women try to represent their own genitals in art. It’s not just the men in Japan. Men in all parts of the British Empire have been losing their shit over vulva cupcakes in recent years. When women simply represent a vulva in their arts and crafts and name the vulva as a female body part, men believe they are being subjected to violence or obscenity, and they immediately shut down the female artist. This has to do with male supremacy and male ownership over women’s bodies. We know that men don’t have a problem with porn—they only have a problem with women’s artwork. That’s because men love depictions of women’s genitals when those depictions are created by men for men and when they represent men’s ideas of what women should be. What they don’t like is when women represent ourselves as we want to be represented. That challenges our status as a subordinated class—it makes us seem like autonomous human beings, and that terrifies men. The reason men shut down vulva cupcake parties and arrest female artists for “obscenity” is because those women are insubordinate, and they need to be taught their place. Our genitals are not for us to own or for us to name and describe or for us to represent in art—they’re for men to use as they see fit. Men can represent our genitals in porn, they can get surgery on themselves in order to wear a fake version of our genitals, and they can use our genitals in real life, through rape, incest, prostitution, and marriage, for their own purposes and against our will, but god forbid we actually take control and name them as our own.

Igarashi’s goals are liberal, not revolutionary. She wants to piss off anyone who doesn’t like the word “manko” by saying it over and over and she wants to make female genitals “more pop and accessible,” through the promotion of vulva-shaped cartoonish consumer products. (And speaking of her being liberal, her book makes references to “designated female at birth” and “cisgender women.” I’m not sure if the sparklegender ideology has made its way to Japan or if it was just her English translator, who is American, who wrote it that way.) It appears that her end goal is just to destigmatize female genitals. I applaud this goal; however, I would like to go even further and liberate the female sex class from oppression. This involves not only destigmatizing our genitals but also creating material changes that allow women everywhere to gain control over our own bodies, so that we can control when and how we reproduce, how we express our sexuality, and how we are viewed and represented in culture.

I was really happy to read this book. I devoured it in a couple of days, I laughed with delight all the way through, and I thought about the significance of vulva art. The fact that she’s a liberal feminist doesn’t stop me from loving her art and wanting to support her future work. I hope she does end up making that vulva-shaped vehicle.

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103 thoughts on “Book Review: What Is Obscenity? by Rokudenashiko

  1. I’m “meh” about genital art, but her getting labiaplasty horrified me. Yeah, yeah, her body, she’s an adult, etc, etc.

    I also hate the word “pussy” even more than “cunt”.

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      • Also it’s more specific. I’ve always figured that if someone isn’t mature enough to use the correct words for the body parts they’re talking about then they’re not mature enough to be having sex with either.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Oh hell yes. I know about penises and vas deferens and prostates and shit. It ain’t rocket science to figure out the difference between a vagina and a vulva, let alone not know jack about a clitoris.

          Most men are really not worth having sex with. They think if they like it, you’ll like it. They expect you to know what to do with their dick but they have the damndest ideas of what to do with a clitoris, if anything. Glad I gave all that up. I am still capable of finding them attractive but it stops there because they are so frequently a waste of time. Sorry, guys; you did it to me.

          Liked by 3 people

        • I’ve seen men who seem to be under the impression that women enjoy having objects forcefully bang into our cervix. For the love of ceiling cat, why? Why would that be a fun thing to have happen? It’s like “Ug have big rock, Ug hit things with rock because Ug caveman and Ug stupid”.

          Liked by 3 people

  2. I’ve heard of her! This looks like a fun read. I’ve picked it up in Japanese because I basically hate myself, but my speedreading is not the best – so if you can tell me on what pages she mentions things like AFAB and cisgender, I’ll check out the original text? I’m curious too.

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      • Gosh, you’re on hiatus by now, so you probably won’t see this. But you won’t be surprised to find that those terms don’t appear in the original text. (I picked up a copy of the translation just to be sure I was looking in the right place, and well, just to shelve next to Inga Muscio’s “Cunt” tbh – and btw, as you can likely tell from the book, the impact of “manko” is AIUI a lot more like that word.)

        Page 9:
        でもまんこは人間の女性の体に必ずあるものだし、あかちゃんが生まれてくる大事な場所
        Japanese (tr. mine): “But a manko is something that humans with women’s bodies certainly have, an important place that babies are born from.”
        English: “Even though manko comes with every person designated female at birth, and most babies are born through one.”
        ningen no josei no karada == “the bodies of female humans”.

        Page 162:
        だってまんこなんて人間の女性に当たり前にある物なのに
        Japanese (tr. mine): “Because a manko is a thing that obviously all human women have!”
        English: “I mean, it’s a given that cisgender women are all born with one.”

        So it looks like localisation. I’m not totally shocked – I don’t expect these concepts to be current or anything like mainstream in Japan, which is to this day a very patriarchal and, paradoxically, sexually repressed nation, but Rokudenashiko is certainly the sort of person I’d expect to know about them if anyone did. And this sort of smoothing and localisation of concepts is part of any translation above the most literal level.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I will make sure she reads your comments right here if she’s not planning on reading the whole backlog when she returns.

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        • In most situations I’d assume this was just localization, but in this one? It’s probably a libfem imposing her view of what she thinks the artist should have said (and thought) over what she actually said.

          My bestie is Japanese and I’ve asked her about how this stuff is playing out over there. She says that the govt has made it extremely easy for people with verifiable intersex conditions to transition including getting official documents changed, but in terms of the whole ladypenis thing most people continue to think it’s complete nonsense. “Straight” trans women are femmey gay men, and trans women who sleep with women are guys with a fetish, basically seems to be the mainstream view. There’s a longstanding music subculture in which men crossdress all the time, and nobody thinks they’re women or any variety of trans.

          Liked by 2 people

        • It’s completely possible that it was that. But I don’t think the translator necessarily thought of it that way – unconscious bias is like that. It’s not inflicting a political viewpoint on the text, or misrepresenting Japanese sexual politics; it’s just obviously the correct thing to do.

          What your friend says matches what I understand (which is kind of a relief, rofl, it’s never nice to be misinformed). I find I see trans kids who want to take Japanese names and move to Japan surprisingly often. Based on anime and music and other popular subcultures, they think it’s some sort of trans/genderfairy heaven – when even plain boring old women still have a bad time in Japan on a number of levels, and being a foreigner there can be a trying experience. Trans people aren’t accepted in Japan, they’re a joke.

          It really illustrates how many of these kids are just searching for an identity, as kids have always done. But appropriating a Japanese one isn’t going to leave them with physical scars when they grow up.

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        • The kids seem to be seeing Japanese culture through a funhouse mirror made of anime and VK and wishful thinking. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of positive things about Japan, living there for a while can be a lot of fun! But if the kids set out with the idea that their gender weirdness and general kookiness is going to be more accepted by the general public there than in the US or Europe they’re in for a nasty shock. Also, most people don’t appreciate being fetishized, so that’s going to have an impact on the reception they receive too.

          I’m sure you’re right that the translator didn’t consciously decide to override the author’s way of framing her own situation, it might not even have occurred to them that their way of seeing things isn’t universal. If it had would they care, though? I get the impression that for a lot of people who buy into the trans stuff their veneer of respect for other cultures is about a millimeter thick.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. The double standards are unbelievable. They parade a penis around in public, but complain when a woman makes art of her vulva accessible for people who actually WANT to see it.
    How do they live with themselves?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not sure this is appropriate, so delete it if its not.

    A lot of straight men do seem to be a bit vulva-phobic. They seem to take it as some sort of mark of manliness to express this revulsion, even if talking about food. They will complain about a bowl of mussels of the scent of truffles and make out that the similarities make them revolting. Yes there are similarities, but as a straight man, that’s half the point.

    Its like they want to stick their dick in it, bang away and then be done and avoid any thought of it. I’ve never understood that, it you just want a quick squirt have a wank. If you have sex with someone you want to have sex with THEM, you want to experience and discover and enjoy the person you are having sex with.

    Yes, pleasuring women can be a challenge, but again that’s the fun, that’s what makes it interesting. I imagine men are somewhat too easy, you just rub them a bit, they squirt and thats it.

    Before I hot peak trans and started reading loads of Rad Fem stuff I assumed that the whole BDSM and power play in sex stuff was about the power felt in turning someone on and toying with that desire a bit before releasing it and feeling good about being able to that and having someone want you to do that. I really had no idea it was really about inflicting real pain and humiliation on people.

    I think I’m probably a bit naive and weird.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I went from assuming (correctly, as it turns out) that BDSM was about genuine sadists wanting to inflict real pain and fear, to being assured by “safe, sane and consensual” libfem types that nonononono, it’s not like that at all, to realising eventually that the people I knew pushing that line were talking rubbish, whether from the abuser or abused’s position.

      I read reddit gender critical and like your posts, btw.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, offtopic, but I need to know: How do truffles smell like vulva? Like, mussles probably look a bit like a vulva if you look at them just so, but truffles … it is not like I can afford any, so I wouldn’t know, but I’m sceptical. Also because truffles are considered a delicacy.

      As for straight men and their vulva-phobia, it seems that for many straight men sex is not about pleasure. Just about dominance and telling their male friends that they had sex. A sort of indirect homoromantic attraction.

      Straight men often are a lot more interested in dominance than in happiness. I think that might be the reason why men (who are not monks) have shorter lifespans. That attitude can’t be healthy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • People are always claiming that vulvas taste like random things, usually fish. I don’t think they taste anything like fish and I think that opinion is just misogynist bullshit. I’ve never tasted truffles, so can’t comment on that one, other than to say it doesn’t sound likely.

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      • Straight men behave quite homosocially at times, some of them at least. And when they come from conservative backgrounds, ya really gotta wonder exactly what is going on there. I had one straight male friend actively try to compete with me over another one once. He was quite open about it. “Dude, *look* at yourself,” I wanted to say.

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      • I’ve seen men avoid or not admit to having sex that they actually do enjoy because their friends might laugh at them, or just not be sufficiently impressed, and pursue sex that they don’t enjoy with women who they’re not attracted to because what they’re really in pursuit of is the fawning admiration of other men. It’s all rather pathetic, and I’d almost feel sorry for them if they weren’t hurting so many women in the process.

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        • I’m really not convinced that most men like women all that much, regardless of what they consider their sexual orientation. You see these guys with all these male friends and some girlfriend or wife arrangement that they treat like it’s not very important, trash the woman behind her back, complain about her. Not much fun for the women in the arrangement.

          That’s a really important lesson for any woman who thinks she’s straight: a man who does that to one woman will do it to *any* woman. Men who actually like women behave differently. They may or not be into monogamy but they do tend to have more solid friendships with women. They are notably not afraid of women, it’s not always turning into some control contest with them. But they are not all that common, sorry to say.

          Liked by 2 people

        • It’s that “when people tell you who they are, believe them” thing again. If a man doesn’t seem to like his wife or girlfriend, he doesn’t. If he doesn’t seem to like any of his exes either, or have any women friends, well, that’s telling you something.

          If he cares more about the approval of his friends than the fact that he actually does like the woman he’s seeing and thus attempts to hide the fact that he cares about the woman under a pile of performative masculinity then he’s a coward, and to be avoided.

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        • This whole thing of being expected to believe things people tell you about themselves is so toxic. People say all sorts of things that turn out to be untrue. The only exception is if they are setting boundaries, and that’s where people fall down most in listening, when they should be doing it best.

          Otherwise, you have to give people the benefit of the doubt in order to build relationships, but when they make too many positive or improbable pronouncements about themselves it’s a red flag. Show it, don’t say it. This is all independent of the woman-inside nonsense, but transgender ideology does serve to groom people into being overly trusting, which bothers me about it enormously.

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        • That’s not what the quote I’m referencing is about. It’s the things people tell you about themselves when they don’t mean to that are important.

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        • cassandrakitty, I know what you mean. Many men will openly say things like “I don’t like feminists”, or “That movie scene wasn’t rape”, and so on. It takes very little effort to translate those statements to: “I hate women”.

          There’s some temptation to disbelieve that, to make up excuses in your mind as to why they cannot mean that.

          Liked by 2 people

    • I hunt truffles, I know what truffles smell like and they don’t smell like pussy. Truffles smell like a pig’s balls when he’s in rut apparently, that’s why sows were used to find them. Any man who says truffles smell like pussy been smelling the wrong animal

      Liked by 2 people

    • Why do men show up on this blog and natter on about themselves? It just seems like a bunch of virtue-signalling: “Look at me, I’m not like those other guys!” that Male Allies ™ can never seem to stop doing.

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  5. BTW speaking of books, I’m seriously tempted to pick up this one.

    http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/book-reviews/the-feminist-and-her-troubled-transgender-dad-34787186.html

    But suspect that I’d find it immensely frustrating. Every time I read about I think, what better way to take revenge against the feminist daughter who eventually escaped your control than to turn yourself into a parody of a woman and try to force her to accept you as being the same as her? Also I feel like there’s something important there that shows up in a lot of the stories of older transitioners, this idea that transition somehow washes away their former sins and absolves them of anything bad they did while “living as a man”.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I read about this woman a while back. I was flabberghasted at the double standard at first, what with the penis parade or whatever that is, but then I thought, “No, that sounds about right. Celebrate the penis, hate on the vulva unless it’s in porn for male use.” I would be sparklegender hasn’t made it to Japan in the same way or there would be a huge outcry against this. It’s all so hypocritical.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This topic got me really excited. Thing is, I used to be involved with art that revolves around women’s sexuality, and it worked really well. How it happened was that I enjoy sex stories sometimes, but found it hard to find stuff that I liked. The bodice-rippers written for women were cliched and rather silly. Porn was clearly by men for men. I went online and found endless appalling, misogynistic garbage. I can do better than that, I thought.

    Emboldened by the anonymity of the internet, I posted my first sex story on Usenet. It was hugely well received. Literally thousands of people read it, and I was so thrilled. So I wrote more.

    What was so exciting was that it worked. I was writing as honestly as possible about sex as a woman and what was important to me. You might have expected that I’d get lots of disgusting emails from creeps, but I only got a handful. Over the years I wrote these stories I got hundreds of fan emails, and nearly all of them were serious, thoughtful responses. Some were really long, when they’d analyzed what they liked about that story. I printed them out at the time, and I’m so glad I kept them. I made friends with other authors and had several of the English ones over for supper a couple of times. My husband used to call them my porny mates. I even had one story published in an anthology.

    Because of where and what I was writing, most of the readers were men but because of how and what I was writing I didn’t appeal to the nasty bastards. I wrote a lot about my sexual love for my husband, and so I got fan mail from the kind of men who sincerely like women and enjoy giving them sexual pleasure. I also got a surprising number of emails from women, who often said they were appreciative of what I was doing. One asked if she could print and circulate one of my stories to her women’s group for discussion/enjoyment, and I was so flattered.

    I stopped when my husband got terminally ill, and never got the impetus to re-start. I’ve been asked to read one of them at a spoken word event next month, but I’m a bit hesitant. What I feel totally safe to reveal in anonymity is different from standing up in front of an audience. I’m also a poet, and that’s been well-received too, much to my surprise. I write about childbirth and death. All the usual stuff.

    My work is consciously woman-centred and explores sexuality and relationships. So what Rokudenashiko is doing resonates with me very strongly. I find it interesting that although both her art and mine can be considered transgressive, my experience of male response to my work was so different. I got buoyed up by praise from the sort of men whose praise I valued. She’s been treated so badly, it’s almost funny. 10 police officers?

    Japanese culture is notorious for sexism and male dominance, so I assume that’s it. What she’s doing is shaking up assumptions, and it needs doing very badly judging from the grief she’s had for her work. But the labiaplasty? That’s hard for me.

    Oh, and by the way, in the UK we use the word “fanny” for vulva. But it’s tricky because to an Englishwoman the American word “fanny pack” sounds like something you’d need a gynaecologist for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What an interesting and beautiful post! I’m so glad you’re work was so well-received. Congratulations! Rokudenashiko’s work has been well-received by many women. In her book, she talks about the positive reactions from women who find her work inspiring. In particular, when she ran a workshop in which participants created molds of their own vulvas, some women found themselves looking at and enjoying this taboo body part for the first time. I thought that was just beautiful. I bet you’d enjoy the book too! I’m sure glad I wasn’t taught that my vulva was taboo. I’ve looked at it enough times that I actually know what it looks like and I’ve never thought it looked wrong.
      I think there’s just as much sexism and misogyny in American culture as there is in Japanese culture. Probably the reason you didn’t get much of a response from gross pornsick dudes about your writing is because they have plenty of gross porn to use already. I would never call written erotica by women “porn,” by the way, and that’s because porn is “the graphic depiction of whores” and women’s stories are generally authentic and respectful. Women present our real sexuality when we write. (Not that I’ve read all the erotica in the world, this is just what I’m observing in fanfic and WordPress.) I learned the word fanny last year while reading U.K. bloggers. Very glad I learned it because I find it cute! Seems less gross than “pussy.”

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      • I think I felt that, given the forums in which I wrote, calling what I wrote erotica seemed possibly a bit pretentious. Also there was a wide spectrum of what was written – there was erotica written by men too.

        One guy wrote a whole series about a couple, about their love, early married life, her pregnancy, babies, etc. The stories about how difficult it is to get time for serious sex when you’ve got a toddler in the house was really funny. I could totally identify. This was clearly a guy who was very happy with his partner and was writing to celebrate their life together.

        There were others. One of the best wrote about loving sex in old age. That’s one of the reasons I did it for such a long time: the more serious authors used to have long discussions about all sorts of stuff. There were several other prominent women authors, and there were a number of men who wanted to expand what’s sexy – to write about loving respectful relationships because that was what they found erotic. It was very rewarding and interesting.

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      • To me this wall of text just sounded like a plug for her writing rather than a genuine response to the article. “Let me tell you about ME ME ME for five paragraphs…and then I’ll throw a few sentences about the actual article at the end so you’ll think I was really paying attention.”

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    • Interesting – I never really thought about why pornsick dudes never write comments on my erotica. I guess I attributed it to the fact that I only publish in places where most writers and readers are women. The theory that they’re much more interested in porn videos than written erotica seems plausible. If they were looking for written porn, I suppose there’d be more angry comments on how it doesn’t cater to their tastes.

      Fanfic is an interesting phenomenon, now that I think about it. More mentions of menstruations and other “taboo” women’s topics in fanfics than anywhere else.

      Also more mention of trans, though. AO3 lets people add such info in the tags, so I see that while looking for fics to read, and it annoys me – fanfic used to be a place where homosexuality wasn’t taboo, and I feel like this transtrend might work against that, sort of like it does in real life. (I couldn’t stand Mpreg, but now I feel it was a bit more meaningful than TransMpreg in terms of, I don’t know, exploring gender roles and such. Can’t really put this into words.)

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      • I’d guess the pornsick ones just don’t read female-centered erotica. I expected to get attacks for mine but they never came.

        Thing is, there’s avalanches of uber male porn out there so,they just ignore stuff that doesn’t turn them on. Plus there’s umpteen genres. Some of them extremely squicky. Taught me a lot! 😖

        I bet the feedback you get is thoughtful and positive. Because you’re breaking ground on women’s erotica you often seem to get an encouraging amount of support.

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        • Also (if this wasn’t what you meant anyway) pornography has that direct hit of an image to the brain, not like the effect of reading and imagining at all. Would pornsick men read any erotica, whatever its style or subject or whether a man or woman wrote it? I don’t see it giving them the hit they’re after.

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        • Erotica that is all about sensuality and romantic environments is completely different from porn. Porn is always about coercion, even if only indirectly. Porn is always subject/object.

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        • It’s complicated. If you’re into it, how are you into it? Being into it because it has elements of dominance is likely really common. But what does it mean to be into it when it lacks such elements? Where does that take you, what is that like? How can we talk about that, in a culture that is all about dominance?

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        • You mean erotica vs porn? Yeah, I was thinking still of the immediacy of images vs words.

          There certainly is a frequent element of domination, at least in heterosexual pairings, which are the majority of what I read these days *cough* fanfic *cough*.

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        • I’m not really all that visual, language is huge for me. I venture into visual differently. So it’s not really a question I can answer.

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        • I’m both, but I’m trying to recall (with little success, being tired and fuzzy-brained atm) the broader matter of how images of sex affect the brain.

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        • A lot. They affect it a lot. Also detailed descriptions of torture porn, that does too. Personal childhood experience. You’re welcome.

          I would give a lot to have all that erased from my brain.

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        • There’s a huge amount of written porn that’s hideous, specially niche stuff. Things like cannibalism or multigenerational incest are pretty difficult/dangerous to portray in film. You also get weird stuff like men who want to be used as human dildoes by women 100 feet tall.

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  8. I could never get into vulva art. I understand that some women believe it is an act of rebellion against patriarchal control of women’s bodies, but to me it is the same kind of navel-gazing men do when they worship their own penises, and why would we want to be like them in any way?

    When I see a woman artist described as a feminist, 9 times out of 10 she will turn out to be not a real feminist, just a liberal, and her work will be about objectifying herself without actually challenging patriarchal norms.

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