The premise of the film project is simple: a woman is asked to read an excerpt from a personally elected body of literature. (x)
It’s called “Hysterical Literature,” and I have never seen a better example of questioning why it is that educated women (whether self or otherwise) always seem to be showcased as having no interest in sex. They all choose interesting books, and they all get off, and it’s fabulous.
It’s also brought forth a lot of comments (on youtube and otherwise) and WHY WOULD SOMEONE DO THIS. IT’S SO DIRTY, and I feel that’s part of the point: Why is this considered so scandalous? It’s just sex. In fact, we don’t even SEE the sex, so the only thing that could be making people uncomfortable while watching it seems to be watching a woman enjoying getting sexual pleasure.
And maybe some of those people just aren’t into voyeurism and that’s cool. But I’m betting a lot of them just don’t like to consider that maybe they think women having sexual pleasure is weird and that they think that you can’t have sexual pleasure as a woman and also have other facets and appreciation for “finer things.”
What I’m saying is, this whole series gives me a lot of thoughts.
I think some reasons for why the people who probably do watch porn are made so uncomfortable by Hysterical Literature are a little more involved, since there’s definitely a decent market for porn in which women masturbate solo. It’s not JUST that each woman is experiencing sexual pleasure, it’s the combination of a bunch of aspects that are specific to this series:
- each woman is without a partner, so she’s not servicing anyone;
- she’s without a partner, so her attention is focused inward — this is completely about her enjoyment only;
- she’s without a partner, but she does have a vibrator and her own body, so she isn’t dependent on any other human for her orgasm;
- she’s reading a selection of her own aloud with some serious dedication, demonstrating that there are things she finds just as interesting as sex;
- we don’t get any of the visuals or the melodrama or the POV that are usually considered to be the point of porn, so we can’t be titillated by her body (or her partner’s body/actions, or her reactions to her partner’s body/actions) — we don’t get to see what’s causing her pleasure, we only see how it makes her feel.
The whole production is actually super-dismissive of mainstream (straight) porn and its primary audience (dudes), in that it’s not particularly staged for the viewer’s pleasure (there’s no pretense that there isn’t a viewer — it’s just not about them) unless the viewer happens to be a person who gets off on the idea of women having some fantastic selfish orgasms, even when the viewer is in no way invited to imagine themselves participating. :D
This has been one of my favorite things for a while.