The Ideological Origins of the Sexual Revolution; or, What Candy Knew

Friday, January 4, 2019: 10:30 AM
Hancock Parlor (Palmer House Hilton)
Jane Kamensky, Harvard University
This paper treats the American adult film star, director, and producer Candida Royalle as a vernacular intellectual, exploring the cultural influences that funneled her toward the sex trades, and interrogating her claims to pioneering a feminist pornography. Drawing on Royalle’s compendious private papers at the Schlesinger Library, which no other scholar has yet accessed, I follow Royalle from her avid young readership of Seventeen magazine and album liner notes, to her college flirtation with Marxist feminism, and into her adult passions for theologies of the self ranging from I’m OK, You’re OK (1969), through Betty Dodson’s Liberating Masturbation (1974), to her own emergent voice as a writer in men’s magazines in the early 1980s. I pay particular attention to Royalle’s enmeshment, in her private and published writings and in her work behind the camera, with concepts of revolution and transcendence.
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