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Uses of the Erotic: the Erotic as Power by…

Uses of the Erotic: the Erotic as Power (edition 1982)

by Audre Lorde

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Title:Uses of the Erotic: the Erotic as Power
Authors:Audre Lorde
Info:Out & Out Books (1982), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:3.410, sociology, gender community, culture and movements, women

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The Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power by Audre Lorde



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I have friends who were just blown away by this essay when it came out in 1978. And I guess the fact that it was reprinted in 2000 means some people still think it's really important. However, reading it in 2007, it strikes me as just another "evils of pornography" essay from the great pornography debates in the 1970s.

Spoiler alert!

Lorde says that the erotic is "a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane, firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feeling." On the other hand "pornography emphasizes sensation without feeling." She then goes on to explore the power of the erotic in every day life.

Joanna Russ tells us not to judge other peoples sexual expression if we don't share them, so I'll allow Lorde her nice regulated erotic which always leads to mutuality and shared feelings. But I don't recognize my own encounters with the erotic here at all. I agree that the erotic is the power of the unrecognized and unexpressed, but, for me, what's unrecognized and unexpressed is a lot messier than feelings. A lot of it is about sensation, and some of it is about something deeper and more primitive than anything I have a word for. Some of it is even self-destructive and there's almost nothing in it that I would label "female." So the essay left me rather cold.

If you want to read something with a larger range of ideas about the power and uses of the erotic, try Red Thread of Passion ( )
  chrisjones | Jul 8, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0918314097, Paperback)

There are many kinds of power, used and unused, acknowledged or otherwise. Thus begins this powerful essay; Uses of the Erotic defines the power of the erotic, names the process by which women have been stripped of this power, and considers how women can reclaim it. Uses of the Erotic shines among Audre Lorde's powerful legacy of speeches and essays, and has influenced feminist thinking for more than 15 years. The false dichotomies that Lorde debunks persist in our cultural imagination: the separation of the erotic from the spiritual and political. Now, Kore Press brings this essay into stand-alone focus, reprinting it in a fine, handbound pamphlet illustrated with photographs by Tucson photographer Camille Bonzani. Designed by book artist Nancy Solomon, the essay is offset and letterpress printed in an edition of 1000.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:42 -0400)

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