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The Explicit Body in Performance by Rebecca Schneider

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1

Binary terror and the body made explicit

“My body is a temple.”

The declaration rings of 1960s and 1970s cultural feminist attempts to resurrect the Goddess and celebrate female biology. But in 1989 “My body is a temple” appeared in large bold type on a promo flyer featuring a photograph of a nude black man performing oral sex with Veronica Vera, a white “porn queen” who had recently become a “performance artist.” In Plate 1.1 we see the man’s broad and muscular backside, his head bent to his task. With her black-lace corseted front to the camera, Vera’s is the only face we see, but her expression is so stock, so standard, that it is only readable relative to the iconic lexicon of pornography. It is the stock porn-pleasure face, the semi-comatose, ...

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