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We review ‘Hysteria,’ a film that captures the strange birth of the vibrator:
Directed by Tanya Wexler and set in the Victorian era, the film follows Dr. Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy), a disillusioned young physician who is hired as an understudy to Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce), a doctor renowned for treating women diagnosed with “female hysteria” via “pelvic massage.” When he’s not being wooed by the doctor’s two daughters—the rebellious Charlotte (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and proper Emily (Felicity Jones)—Granville practices his “pelvic massage” technique, and soon he becomes an expert. In the process, however, he develops carpal tunnel from all the manual labor and seeks a new and improved way to achieve “hysterical paroxysm.” And thus the vibrator is born.
Note: We have no idea how that thing in the photo really works, but we have our suspicions.
A subject in ‘Sexy Baby’ on Lady Gaga’s positive messages being sold through sex. The film is an eye-opening documentary that explores the oversexualization of girls and women in the cyberage, premiering this week at the Tribeca Film Festival.
And so begins our look inside the sextivities of John Friend and his all-female Wiccan coven.
The writer and author Katie Roiphe takes the cover this week with the curious case of the modern woman’s retro bedroom fantasy.
Here are the first few paragraphs, click on through for the whole shebang. Read it, then let’s hear your thoughts (and we know you’ll have them!). We’ll see any and all you reblog or send through via a message.
If every era gets the sadist it deserves, it may not be surprising that we have ended up with Christian Grey, the hero of the runaway bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey. He is not twisted or frightening or in possession of a heart of darkness; he was abused as a child, a sadist Oprah could have dreamed up, or as E L James puts it, “Christian Grey has a sad side.” He is also extremely solicitous and apologetic for a sadist, always asking the book’s young heroine, Anastasia Steele, about every minute gradation of her feelings, and bringing her all kinds of creams and lotions to soothe her after spanking her. He is, in other words, the easiest difficult man of all time.
Why does this particular, watered-down, skinny-vanilla-latte version of sadomasochism have such cachet right now? Why have masses of women brought the book to the top of the New York Times bestseller list before it even hit the stores? Most likely it’s the happy convergence of the superficial transgression with comfortable archetypes, the blushing virgin and the whips. To a certain, I guess, rather large, population, it has a semipornographic glamour, a dangerous frisson of boundary crossing, but at the same time is delivering reassuringly safe, old-fashioned romantic roles. Reading Fifty Shades of Grey is no more risqué or rebellious or disturbing than, say, shopping for a pair of black boots or an arty asymmetrical dress at Barneys.
As it happens, the prevailing stereotype of the Fifty Shades of Grey reader, distilled in the condescending term “mommy porn,” as an older, suburban, possibly Midwestern woman isn’t entirely accurate: according to the publisher’s data, gleaned from Facebook, Google searches, and fan sites, more than half the women reading the book are in their 20s and 30s, and far more urban and blue state than the rampant caricature of them suggests.
The current vogue for domination is not confined to surreptitious iPad reading: in Lena Dunham’s acclaimed new series, Girls, about 20-somethings adrift in New York City, a similar desire for sexual submission has already emerged as a theme. The heroine’s pale hipsterish ersatz boyfriend jokes, “You modern career women, I know what you like …” and his idea, however awkwardly enacted, is that they like to be dominated. He says things like “You should never be anyone’s … slave, except mine,” and calls down from a window: “If you come up I’m going to tie you up and keep you here for three days. I’m just in that kind of mood.” She comes back from seeing him with bruises and sheepishly tells her gay college boyfriend at a bar, “I am seeing this guy and sometimes I let him hit me on the side of my body.”
Here’s this week’s cover, on newsstands and the iPad tomorrow morning. And the summary of the corresponding story:
In an age where women are dominating - in the workplace, at school, at home - why are they seeking to be dominated in their love lives? Recent media portrayals have shown that a rising number of modern women fantasize about being overpowered, while studies are turning out statistics that bewilder feminists. New shows like HBO’s Girls and books like Fifty Shades of Grey are showcasing the often hidden desire for powerlessness. But why? Katie Roiphe examines the submissive yet empowered female in Newsweek. “It is perhaps inconvenient for feminism that the erotic imagination does not submit to politics, or even changing demographics,” she writes.
We haven’t seen the cover story yet, but color us intrigued! Let’s hear your pre-thoughts, tumblr.
A former call girl calls her work “the best job a girl in Manhattan could have” in the Daily News not too long after the high-end prostitution ring she worked for was broken up by the feds, and its “madam” sent to prison. Note to parents: don’t let your daughters read the Daily News!
New York artist Alexander Esguerra, who’s inviting couples to cover themselves in paint and have sex on his canvasses—as art.
Lindsay Lohan hooked up with (tumblr) photographer Terry Richardson—and now “a friend” tells Radar he’s a bit “freaked out” by her morning-after follow-ups. Let’s take a moment to process that and continue on with our Wednesday mornings.