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Naked Ambition: Women Who Are Changing Pornography Paperback – October 13, 2005
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
Top customer reviews
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There are no victim stories here, which may or not give a misleading impression of the industry as a whole but it demonstrates that sassy young women of certain kinds can make a living and find their identity and indeed enrich their lives and understanding of themselves in this area as in any other.
I recommend this book as a contribution to understanding sex positive femininity if not feminism itself and as a demonstration that many women are taking back the night of their own sexuality through the making of and enjoyment of porn. Porn is no longer totally male dominated as this book amply demonstrates.
My only disappointment was I would like to have seen an essay by Candida Royalle.
I would have preferred to see more commentary from Carly in the book. Since she has had the opportunity to work with some of the adult industry people in a professional capacity, she could have given us some perspective on the stories. Or, even brief side comments on how she chose the people involved and the process to get them to offer their stories. With the people involved, I'm sure there were some interesting events. In its presented format, her involvement seems nominal, and almost a deception as "author." She's a talented writer, and could have used this platform to introduce herself to the literary world. I'd like to see more of the cover promise of "how they are changing the sex industry."
As another reviewer here says, some of those included in the book are certainly not writers. In contrast to that opinion, I find it refreshing to hear their words directly. not through the "make it sound nice" filter so often used in autobiographical works.
This format also doesn't take a story that warrants a very long chapter and tries to stretch it into a full blown book. (No pun intended) I've been disappointed by some of the other biographies released in recent years that were thin, and obviously puffed to fill a book. Here, we get many mini books for the price of one. In that sense, it's a bargain for the price of the material. If you want to start doing research on people in the industry, this is a good place to start.
All in all, a very good read from the professional pleasure creators.
Milne, the editor, has made the mistake of inviting quite a few women who are NOT writers to compose articles for the collection, which means the writing styles are often dull and lifeless. Many of these women come across as never questioning the industry's status quo, celebrating their total immersion into cutthroat capitalism, and often even seem rather angry and arrogant. Chapters frequently degenerate into a bit of childhood background, then a profoundly uninteresting "this is what a day in my life is like" section followed by a few unexplained (and therefore unconvincing) claims about porn being inevitable and timeless. At least 30% of the book consists of boring, resume like lists of the various jobs certain writers bounced around in before settling on their current one. A great deal of attention is devoted to petty industry power plays and sycophantic "I've worked with Jenna for 10 years" nonsense. I actually found the most baffling chapter to be Tera Patrick's, who writes obsessively about how popular and beloved she is, how well her movies do, etc etc etc. only to make a claim a paragraph later that she doesn't care what others think. Her essay is entirely one of contradictions and wild mood vacilations until only one thing comes across clearly: this girl clings to making money like it's her only purpose in life. The engaging and entertaining chapters are few and far between - Tristan Taormino's, Regina Lynn's, and Shane's all come to mind - and are not enough to redeem the work as a whole.
Let me make it clear that I am totally PRO PORN, pro sex shops, pro sex workers - I'm for it all! That's why I like to read articulate advocates of the same. Tera can write as many articles as she wants that take up the mantle of vain, rap song-esque self aggrandizement, I just don't want to pay to read them. For much more insightful, provocative anthologies I'd suggest Whores and Other Feminists, and Jane Sexes It Up, or even personal tales like Carol Queen's Real Live Nude Girl. (Just as a sidenote, I actually read the book Female Chauvinist Pig shortly before this one, and while I wouldn't give that book a rave review either, they were certainly interesting to read together! FCP critiques just the type of unexamined embrace of the sex industry - and a capitalist takeover of all things deemed sexy - that is so often made explicit in this book. Skim over page 334 where the author complains about what a pain in the ass other women are and you'll see the direct correlation. And for the record, two pages later, on page 336, the author evidences some of the same "oversensitive" behavior that she whined about. These type of frustrating contradictions are par for the course in this book.) Check this one out from a library if you are still curious, but keep your money to spend on another book.