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BRAINS, PERSONALITIES AND FANCY WRAPPING PAPER.

I've written a sexually explicit novel - Mother-in-Law, Son-in Law - and yet I detest pornography. So how does that work? Scroll back in time a few years to 2006 and nearly every day, someone was arriving on my blog having Googled the key words "mother in law son in law sex". At the time, not wanting to make any technical errors on my fictionalised autobiography, My Adventures in Cyberspace, I was looking for a subject for a beta book for my new publishing company, Fleur De Lys Publishing. After a few minutes of research, I realised that millions of men out there were fantasising about having sex with their mothers-in-law. There was a thread which had been running for years on the American forum Topix, devoted entirely to the subject, where men were posting their lame, badly written fantasies and (even lamer) pretending they'd actually happened. Lordy, there was money to be made out of this. So I re-read my tatty old 70s edition of Shere Hite's The Hite Report, to find out all the interesting ways other people have sex and what they fantasise about, and I sat down and wrote the book in a month. Every day, my husband would come home from work, sit on the bed, and I'd present him with another chapter to read whilst monitoring at which exact point in the text it was having the desired effect. The book was working. Duly published, it's attracted rave reviews on Amazon, has fans all over the world and is selling better than ever now it's on Kindle. So why do I hate porn (especially internet porn, the addiction to which is now the biggest single cause for divorce in the United States)? Mother-in-Law, Son-in-Law, although sexually explicit, is not exploitative. On the contrary, it celebrates the sexuality of older women whilst having respect for the insecurities and foibles of youth. No-one gets shafted. Well, they do, but you get my point. 'Mother-in-Law, Son-in-Law' depicts women as real, thinking, breathing human beings rather than depersonalising and objectifying them as happens with pornography. This objectification is something we, women, all have to live with. As women, we have two currencies, youth and beauty. Men don't need to be young and beautiful to be successful, especially in the media; no doddery befuddled wrinkled old woman would be allowed to helm her own current events show as David Frost was permitted to, but then the male currencies are wealth and power rather than youth and beauty. As a woman who once possessed both required currencies, I understand only too well what it's like to be the subject of objectification. In the cult film Johnny YesNo (scored by Cabaret Voltaire and recently released on DVD by Mute), I played the double role of "The Blonde" and "Lorraine, the waitress". Both characters were victims, one a prostitute, one a young and gullible waitress - both victims of their own currency. Although I love the film (and David Lynch loved it enough to be inspired by it for his very own Mulholland Drive), it is yet another film where men are powerful and exploitative and women get a shit deal. It's no Thelma and Louise, let's put it that way. The director, Peter Care, whose main body of work since has been corporate jobs in LA, took some beautiful cheesecake shots of me as a young student, before Johnny YesNo was made. Did I feel exploited then? No, I didn't, because they were art. Pete was using lighting to recreate his beloved films from Hollywood's golden era of the forties and fifties. He made me feel beautiful and powerful, even though I was being depicted as an object of desire. Complicated, isn't it? During my first divorce I became so thin through stress that one night after I'd put my little girls to bed, I thought "You're never going to be this young or thin again. It needs archiving." And I took a selection of nude portraits of myself, one of them with a marble in my mouth, which I intended to suggest the silencing of women whilst parodying 50s cheesecake glamour photography. If you have any doubts that our society is still silencing women, do some research into the way women have been treated online since the birth of cyberspace. A decade ago I was so bullied on a large rock climbing forum by various men (one of them the moderator no less) with threats and sneering, and even a suggestion that I should have been sterilised at birth, that I ended up writing a book inspired by the dreadful experience (the very same My Adventures in Cyberspace mentioned earlier.) The photograph of me climbing topless, which accompanied my article "Tits vs Homo-Eroticism, Which is More Acceptable on The Crag?" for mountaineering magazine High, attracted a tide of frothing-mouthed, hysterical sneering and personal abuse from the males of the forum. A photograph on the forum of a man climbing naked was, however, celebrated by those same whining little boys (many of them middle-aged company directors) as being a grand wizard jape. More recently, I was invited by independent Portuguese filmmaker João Paulo Simões to play the lead role in his new film Mercy. The only problem was I'd have to appear nude in two scenes. My only real fear was the fact I'm a bit overweight at the moment and I didn't want the audience catching a glimpse of any unsightly blubber. I had no worries, however, about the nature of the film. The nakedness and the sex scene were absolutely integral to the story and, once again their presence was justified as João is an artist, an auteur. Nakedness, sex, eroticism - all of them are legitimised in the fields of art, writing and film, not by the gender of the person creating the art, but by the very fact that it is art being created, (as art provokes thought and consideration). Reducing women to objects as masturbatory aids denies the fact they have a brain and personality inside that fancy wrapping paper. You take the wrapping paper off your fantasy women, and inside is just fresh air. You can't sustain yourself for long on that. JUDE CALVERT-TOULMIN IS A WRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER AND PUBLISHER. AFTER WRITING FOR THE MUSIC PRESS IN THE 80S (AND SUBSEQUENTLY FOR THE CLIMBING PRESS), SHE BECAME A FULL TIME AUTHOR. HER NOVELS ARE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON BOTH AS PAPERBACKS AND ON KINDLE. HER UPCOMING NOVELS DROWNING AND LABRATS ARE DUE FOR PUBLICATION IN 2012. SHE IS ALSO DUE TO APPEAR IN A PEAK TIME CHANNEL 4 SHOW IN EARLY FEBRUARY 2012 AND HER BRAVADO PERFORMANCE IN MERCY CAN BE SEEN BY ORDERING THE DVD FROM FRONTIERMEDIA.BLOGSPOT.COM. )

Next article in issue 46

Blend / Winter Warmers.

PHILL JAMES. Serves 2. Whirlow Hall Farm was set up as an educational trust in 1979 by Alan Aiken with the aim of providing a centre for i…

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Serves 2.

Whirlow Hall Farm was set up as an educational trust in 1979 by Alan Aiken with the aim of providing a centre for i

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