He found himself in wholehearted agreement when the script had the new female justice contending that pornography is inherently demeaning to womankind and, at the extreme, an incitement to violence. So, to my knowledge, did my friend Bill Douglas, although his absolutist reading of the First Amendment led him, on balance, to come down against any abridgment of free speech. But I doubt that he would have avoided such a screening—certainly not if, in addition to being lascivious, the film also was reputed to be funny.
In First Monday the discomfiture of the male justices at viewing a film aptly titled The Naked Nymphomaniac in the presence of a woman effectively makes the point that the older generation of Americans has been conditioned by a double standard in all matters sexual. It was years before I could swear at all in front of a woman. Such reticence must seem downright quaint to a generation conditioned by the unrestrained use of obscenity, scatology, and blasphemy in much of the meda. I am not sure that we are any worse off morally as a result of the lifting of the bans; if the result is the coarsening of social intercourse it may have facilitated the other kind.
At least it has brought an end to what could only be seen as arrant hypocrisy, since not even the most sheltered female was unacquainted with the organs, sexual practices, and bodily functions whose mention was presumed to be offensive. There has been, however, considerable damage to the working vocabulary.
As they passed into general usage, the terms classified as obscene lost the special meaning they enjoyed when they were confined to impolite society. What they literally connoted could always be conveyed by artists talented enough to be taken seriously, and their audience was never left in doubt that their subjects responded to relevant bodily demands, including those considered aberrant. It was, in fact, one of the ironies of the prudish Victorian era that language that had once been in the common vernacular lost its prurient characteristics when it was driven underground.
Males other than those beset by arrested puberty usually avoided the peepshow pornography available under the counter in cigar stores, smoke-filled sample rooms at sales conventions, and the private art collections of eccentric millionaires. When I reflect on the vast amount of off-color verbiage I was subjected to over the years, I find that virtually none of it was capable of arousing anything approximating an erotic impulse.
Growing up in upcountry South Carolina, I was exposed to two seminal strains of American speech: the near-Elizabethan discourse of the mountain people and the street talk of blacks.
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Being male, I was treated to the full, earthy flavor of both, and when I became a professional wordmonger I continued to mine these rich depositories of humor and folklore. In both cases the tradition was oral and anecdotal; it could be transplanted, and was when blacks migrated in great numbers to the inner cities of the North and West, but it could not be removed from the context of the underclass societies that produced it. But as I served alongside British and Commonwealth troops in the United Kingdom and on the continent I began to realize that the salty jargon of American professional soldiers went straight back to Agincourt.
The usual deployment of time-dishonored obscenities by our hard-nosed noncoms was pedestrian compared to that of the Tommies. Fuck it. Even when employed as epithets these terms were not only asexual but impersonal—hardly to be taken literally since they were regularly applied to inanimate objects, institutions, and processes as well as people. In some cases they had doubtless started out as an ultimate insult, but the frequency and range of their application denatured them, rendering them so absurd the recipient usually felt free to accept them with a smile.
This was so even with the appellation derived by blacks from the most abhorrent offense in any society. Some of the four-letter words, particularly those relating to the sexual parts, were archaic, or would have become so had they not been preserved in this sub rosa repository.
Throwbacks to a vanished age stud the hillbilly vernacular. For more than 40 years the Arkansas folklorist, Vance Randolph, resisted bowdlerization by squeamish university press editors who insisted on such substitutions as penis for tallywhacker. The result was that he accumulated a trunkfull of material excised from his published works.
By the standards of propriety on the campuses had declined sufficiently to permit the University of Illinois Press to bring forth a collection Randolph triumphantly titled Pissing In the Snow.
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In a limited sense, then, the new standards, or nonstandards, have had a liberating effect on literature and art. But as they gained currency in mixed company the once proscribed words and images have often tended to resume their prurient connotation, thereby altering the benign purpose Randolph ascribed to his usage. This clearly has been a corrupting influence on the lesser breed of novelists and dramatists, encouraging them to sprinkle their work with titillating, usually extraneous bits of pornography.
African male youth regarded sexual encounters with white women as desirable outcomes of the physical and social mobility that these young men enjoyed. I want my girlfriend to be like a white girl, I want my girlfriend to act like a white girl. These transgressive boundary crossings can be seen as locally specific emergences of interraciality and were linked to larger processes.
Located in a particular time and space, youth were thus active agents in shaping both white femininity and interracial sexuality.
The upward trend of visible minority populations in Canadian cities has shaped the constitution of white womanhood with respect to which groups are assigned to this category Deliovsky , 17, More recently, the Habasha identity of Eritreans and Ethiopians living in Winnipeg further contests and historicizes the definition and authorization of whiteness.
The broader issue regarding which women fit within the imaginary of normative femininity is salient to the reshaping, transmuting, and calling into question of white womanhood currently underway in Canada. Interraciality necessitated decoding as much as constructing white femininity. Like many of our interlocutors, Odol articulated a desire to express sexuality seemingly made possible through whiteness, such that the characteristics that he and his friends had come to associate with white normative femininity were that which he desired, as outlined above, and not necessarily the skin color, fleshy body, ethnicity, or nationality of the actual person.
One way they did so was by negotiating new boundaries of race and ethnicity as newcomers in a complexly diverse city. On the one hand, in making white femininity and womanhood such a key symbol of Black male heterosexual sexual transgression, youth appear to be bolstering the power accruing to whiteness. Race is ignored in the naturalizing trick of normalizing white bodies in Canada.
How was erotic and sexual desire and heterosexual orientation animated by imaginaries and social relations of racial difference embodied and performed in specific spaces and places?
We have explored these questions. These are the complex contexts wherein male African immigrant and refugee youth forge sexual lives and subjectivities. Our analysis has focused on how youth were active subjects in urban transformations in Winnipeg. Such racializing discourses both mobilized new ideas and remobilized older ideas about and desires for white femininity. The authors are grateful for the funding provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to carry out this research. The research would not be possible without the generosity and willingness of the many youth and young adults who have participated in this project since , spending their valuable time with us, for which we are most appreciative.
Yet, as we have analyzed elsewhere, cultural prescriptions for endogamous sexuality nevertheless affect gay and queer African young men navigating rules around sexuality as newcomers to Canada see Marmah The quote from Kofi speaks clearly to this seduction. We certainly heard many stories from the youth about love and romance, as we did about conquest and exoticization.
We trace and analyze how sexual transgression associated with the desirability and taboo of white femininity was played out through social-spatial networks and practices within the changing urban landscape. The snippet could not be located in the article text. This may be because the snippet appears in a figure legend, contains special characters or spans different sections of the article. City Soc Wash. Published online Aug 9. PMID: Abstract In Winnipeg, a midsize city in the Canadian Prairies undergoing social and demographical transformations, male African newcomer youth face challenges in their settlement experiences relating to conflicting and heterogeneous norms around sexuality, sex, and dating.
Introduction On a cold night in January , bitter even for a Canadian Prairie winter, several young men enlivened an otherwise sterile meeting room in an education resource center in downtown Winnipeg. Blackness and Whiteness in Canada Within their first days in Winnipeg, Dany and his family were taken to a department store and shown by an immigrant services agency how to buy necessities for Canadian living. Downtown Apartments, Transgressive Spaces Sam had been living in Winnipeg for five years when we met him. Acknowledgments The authors are grateful for the funding provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to carry out this research.
References Alexander Claire. Anisef Paula, and Kilbride Kenise Murphy. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. Boellstorff Tom. New York: Routledge. Brettell Caroline. Carter Sarah. City of Winnipeg.
Accessed September 1, Creese Gillian. Deliovsky Katerina. White Femininity: Race, Gender and Power. Winnipeg: Fernwood. Dimitriadis Greg. Studying Urban Youth Culture Primer. New York: Peter Lang.
Dlamini Nombuso, and Anucha Uzo. Donnan Hastings, and Magowan Fiona. The Anthropology of Sex. New York: Berg. If you have experienced consuming sexual passion and the pain which it can engender, you will understand this film. If you haven't, this film will give you that vicarious experience. It is all the more truthful because although the relationship is interracial, the passion transcends, whereas the cultural differences block the fulfilment of their true love. It is about how people miss love trapped by convention and common sense.
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This is a flawless film, beautifully shot--a minor classic, much under-appreciated. Jean-Jacques Annaud's film version of Marguerite Duras, one of France's most esteemed writers, is quite erotic It's the crossing of the river The crossing, on a ferry, of one of the branches of the Mekong, in the great plains of mud and rice of southern Indochina A pretty young girl goes back to Saigon She is standing on the deck, extremely defiant, wearing a silk dress, a pair of 'cabaret' high heels, and a man's hat She is approached by an elegant dark man from Cholon who is also crossing the Mekong that day towards Saigon It's original.
A man's hat on a young girl,' he expresses, and continues: 'If you want I can drive you to Saigon. He's back from Paris where he undertook some business studies The film, beautifully shot, is a dreamy fantasy of escape through sex The escape is that of the poor French teenager from the horror of her house in Sa-Dec While the girl merely abides her innocent mother, she loves her younger brother poetically, without reserve Her brother is handsome but not bright, romantic but terribly fragile She fears her elder brother, a brutal and lawless dissolute man, stupidly dependent on his mother The inexperienced girl wants to see him in pain The most remarkable aspect of the story is the strength of character of the young girl who is always a little sad She finds the strength to proceed against the forbidden with a calm determination The room was dark, shipwrecked, surrounded by the never-ending clamor of the town, carried away by the flow of the town Her body was in that public noise Their love was erotic, immediate, unrestrained It was physical, violent, devastating But the girl loves other young woman in the boarding house, the year-old Helen Her passion for Helene is intense Helen is immodest She don't realize she walks naked in the dormitory She doesn't know that she's very beautiful She's innocent lingering on in youth The setting, in Indochina, is one she knows intimately The story is set mostly in the early s following the decline of French domination of the territory that is now Vietnam The film is the most exciting journey along a winding river of passion, which ultimately flows to the sea Jean-Jacques Annaud handles the story with real sensuality, romance and dramatic power He shots much of the film with a distinguished style Jane March is attractive, but not obviously beautiful Her impressionable teenager's gradual understanding of sexuality is well presented She was subjected to a close, penetrating gaze by Annaud's camera..