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I Confess!: Constructing the Sexual Self in the Internet Age

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In the postwar decades, sexual revolutions - first women's suffrage, flappers, Prohibition, and Mae West; later Alfred Kinsey, Hugh Hefner, and the pill - altered the lifestyles and desires of generations. Since the 1990s, the internet and its cataclysmic cultural and social technological shifts have unleashed a third sexual revolution, crystallized in the acts and rituals In the postwar decades, sexual revolutions - first women's suffrage, flappers, Prohibition, and Mae West; later Alfred Kinsey, Hugh Hefner, and the pill - altered the lifestyles and desires of generations. Since the 1990s, the internet and its cataclysmic cultural and social technological shifts have unleashed a third sexual revolution, crystallized in the acts and rituals of confession that are a staple of our twenty-first-century lives. In I Confess!, a collection of thirty original essays, leading international scholars such as Ken Plummer, Susanna Paasonen, Tom Roach, and Shohini Ghosh explore the ideas of confession and sexuality in moving image arts and media, mostly in the Global North, over the last quarter century. Through self-referencing or autobiographical stories, testimonies, and performances, and through rigorously scrutinized case studies of "gay for pay," gaming, camming, YouTube uploads, and the films Tarnation and Nymph()maniac, the contributors describe a spectrum of identities, desires, and related representational practices. Together these desires and practices shape how we see, construct, and live our identities within this third sexual revolution, embodying both its ominous implications of surveillance and control and its utopian glimmers of community and liberation. Inspired by theorists from Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze to Gayle Rubin and José Esteban Muñoz, I Confess! reflects an extraordinary, paradigm-shifting proliferation of first-person voices and imagery produced during the third sexual revolution, from the eve of the internet to today.


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In the postwar decades, sexual revolutions - first women's suffrage, flappers, Prohibition, and Mae West; later Alfred Kinsey, Hugh Hefner, and the pill - altered the lifestyles and desires of generations. Since the 1990s, the internet and its cataclysmic cultural and social technological shifts have unleashed a third sexual revolution, crystallized in the acts and rituals In the postwar decades, sexual revolutions - first women's suffrage, flappers, Prohibition, and Mae West; later Alfred Kinsey, Hugh Hefner, and the pill - altered the lifestyles and desires of generations. Since the 1990s, the internet and its cataclysmic cultural and social technological shifts have unleashed a third sexual revolution, crystallized in the acts and rituals of confession that are a staple of our twenty-first-century lives. In I Confess!, a collection of thirty original essays, leading international scholars such as Ken Plummer, Susanna Paasonen, Tom Roach, and Shohini Ghosh explore the ideas of confession and sexuality in moving image arts and media, mostly in the Global North, over the last quarter century. Through self-referencing or autobiographical stories, testimonies, and performances, and through rigorously scrutinized case studies of "gay for pay," gaming, camming, YouTube uploads, and the films Tarnation and Nymph()maniac, the contributors describe a spectrum of identities, desires, and related representational practices. Together these desires and practices shape how we see, construct, and live our identities within this third sexual revolution, embodying both its ominous implications of surveillance and control and its utopian glimmers of community and liberation. Inspired by theorists from Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze to Gayle Rubin and José Esteban Muñoz, I Confess! reflects an extraordinary, paradigm-shifting proliferation of first-person voices and imagery produced during the third sexual revolution, from the eve of the internet to today.

30 review for I Confess!: Constructing the Sexual Self in the Internet Age

  1. 5 out of 5

    R.J. Gilmour

    Waugh and Arroyo's edited collection look at how the self and sexuality are constructed in the digital age. The collection includes a lot of diverse voices with a range of approaches looking at how sexuality, specifically sexuality on the margins is understood. The most fascinating thing about the book is their contention that confession, the first-person narrative is at the heart of the internet. "Telling sexual stories is part of a very long history of confessional cultures in the West from Aug Waugh and Arroyo's edited collection look at how the self and sexuality are constructed in the digital age. The collection includes a lot of diverse voices with a range of approaches looking at how sexuality, specifically sexuality on the margins is understood. The most fascinating thing about the book is their contention that confession, the first-person narrative is at the heart of the internet. "Telling sexual stories is part of a very long history of confessional cultures in the West from Augustine to Foucault that now sits very easily with the ravages of modern capitalist individuals, the "selfie," and the continuing era of confession." xiii "Confession, by which we mean to include the proliferating moving-image-practices of self-referencing, first-person and/or autobiographical stories, testimonies, or performances, is the thread between the Second and Third Sexual Revolutions that demands this attention." 5-6 "Confession is the primary modality of the internet. It is the force that maintained its impetus through the conversion from analog to digital, and it remains at the centre of people's interactions within online culture. We go there to confess, and to hear others confess...This extraordinary, paradigm-shifting proliferation of first-person voices and imagery penetrates all moving-image formats in both high and low culture, inflected by subaltern and identity political movements as well as hegemonic backlashes, deploying both traditional and new media and platforms." 6 "We are experiencing a shit in our collective relationship to masturbation. Masturbation is no longer the "private vice that escapes the gaze of civilization" (Laqueur 2003, 226). With the internet, the great confessional of the twenty-first century, its secrets are spilling everywhere." 197 "The seed of orgasmic practice is planted somewhere within the region of childhood itself. The "awakening" into sexuality does not divide childhood from adulthood but bridges these two territories. Boys' arousal, masturbation, and orgasm in response to sexually explicit visual inputs are not the desecration of boyhood but an important part of it. The porn may be new, but the instinct is not." 198 "But the prohibition of child pornography is grounded in a concept of exploitation that was never intended to manage self-representation." 203 "Sexual activity that does not even involve another person-such as taking a sexually explicit photo of yourself-should not ever be a crime." 212 "To be gay is to always already be in the act of confessing. Growing up gay means being confronted with questions that do not yet have fully formed (or even partially formed) answers. Because of this, the verbal exchange of confession works frustratingly to solidify the social position of a body that is actively in tune with the kinetic flows of affective intensities that are continually shaping (and reshaping) bodies and social assemblages." 269

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  3. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Keilty

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    Almzi

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas

  6. 5 out of 5

    M Pierce Joyce

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    Kathleen Bianchi

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    Diana

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    Ron Frampton

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    Maria

  11. 5 out of 5

    A Young Philosopher

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    Benmechen

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chiara Perin

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aprovertte

  15. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nevona Friedman

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eames

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mike Stevens

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle

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    MarieM

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    Violet Barnes

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    Stephanie McGarrah

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    Jack Robertson

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    Carly Poissant

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    George

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    Tia

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gwendolyn

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    Kit

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kel

  30. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

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