Thursday, January 16, 2020

Madonna’s Sex Book Essay

?According to Giselle Benatar of  Entertainment Weekly, there are two versions of how Madonna came up with the idea for the book. One was that she conceived the idea of an erotic photography book during the shooting of the film  A League of Their Own  in the summer of 1991. [1]  The second one is that  Judith Regan, vice-president and  editor-in-chief  of  Simon & Schuster, flew to  Los Angeles  in March 1991 to meet with Madonna and her manager  Freddy DeMann, armed with a proposal for a similar collection of photo-erotica. [1]  The singer had initially verified whether Regan had approached any other celebrities with this concept, as Madonna would be interested to be a part of it only if it was a unique idea. [2]  By the end of the meeting Madonna had agreed â€Å"in principle† to do a book called  Madonna’s Book of Erotica and Sexual Fantasies. She told Regan that DeMann would call her and work out the details regarding the book. [3][4]  However, Madonna never got back in touch with Regan, who assumed that the singer did not want to proceed with the idea. [1]  Madonna’s publicist Liz Rosenberg never confirmed nor denied Regan’s claim, but according to Benatar, Madonna started working on  Sex  before wrapping up  A League of Their Own. [1]  At firstWarner Bros. Records  and the executive directors at  Time Warner  were reluctant to allow Madonna to publish such a book, but finally gave in to the idea. Madonna, however, was forced to sign a contract that forbade her from showing  child pornography,  bestiality  and  religious imagery. [1]  Not long after signing this agreement Madonna founded  Maverick, a multi-media entertainment company. Since by contract she had total artistic control over any of the work released by Maverick, the agreement she signed with Time Warner concerning what not to do in  Sex  became obsolete. [5][6][7] Some of the pictures for the project were shot at  Hotel Chelsea, New York. Other locations included Times Square’s all-male burlesque  Gaiety Theatre. Originally to be titled  X, Madonna changed her mind when  Spike Lee’s film  Malcolm X  began to be promoted. (The film was released three weeks after the book. ) She would go on to tell  Vogue  magazine: â€Å"This is a really good symbol, and I thought of it first. â€Å"[8]  Warner Bros. commented that  Sex  was very difficult to produce, requiring contributions from many different printing and publishing companies. [9]  They also stated that in order to generate any profit, the book would have to sell at least 350,000 copies. [10][11]  Madonna hired top-notch talent for the development of the book;[12]  she counted on the help of friends from the music, film and fashion industry. [9]  The singer hired  Fabien Baron  as the art director,[13]  fashion photographer  Steven Meisel, editor  Glenn O’Brien, make-up artist Francois Nars and hairstylist Paul Cavaco. [1][6][14]  The  Sex  book had a range of influences – from punk rock to earlier fashion iconoclasts like  Guy Bourdin  and his surrealism, and  Helmut Newton, in its stylized, sado-masochistic look. [15]  Madonna originally wanted the book to be of an oval shape in order to simulate a  condom  but the printing and manufacturing of such a book would have been too expensive. Meisel would later comment: â€Å"Madonna and I can keep up with each other† and that â€Å"I’m doing things to make people think too. It’s not really to antagonize or to push people’s buttons. It’s really to present another way of seeing things. â€Å"[1] The pictures were taken almost entirely in  Super 8  format, and most of the photo shoots took place in  New York City  and  Miami. Locations in New York City included the  Hotel Chelsea  and Times Square’s all-male burlesque  Gaiety Theatre  (dancers from theatre participated in one of the book’s photo sessions), whereas in Miami the majority of the sessions were shot at a house Madonna had purchased just before starting the project, and in several beaches and streets. [1][5][16]  One morning during the four-day Florida shoot Madonna was prancing around her 14-bedroom house in Miami completely naked, when someone jokingly suggested she go out on the street, then, according to Baron â€Å"the next thing we’re in the street† where allegedly â€Å"cars screeched to a halt, motorists whistled, and one entranced cyclist fell off his bike. â€Å"[1]  This was just one of the many crazy episodes that took place during the shooting of the book. According to Baron, during the photo shoots â€Å"[Madonna]’d do something crazy and then we’d come up with something even crazier†. One of the most shocking photographs made for the book, which featured two women in  post-punk  attire flanking Madonna with one of them holding a knife to Madonna’s crotch, was dismissed as it was considered too violent. At some point, while the book was being produced, some of the photographs were stolen, but were quickly recovered by the  FBI. [1]  According to  New York  magazine, there were approximately 80,000  photographs taken for the book,[17]  but only a handful made the final cut. [1]  The printing of the book was extended for 15  days[11]  making the total production process last about eight months. [18] Design and content[edit] The picture shows the leather string worn by Madonna in theSex  book, as well as in the â€Å"Erotica† music video. Below the string, an image from the book can also be seen. Wrapped and sealed in a  Polyethylene terephthalate  (PET) Mylar bag,[19][20][21]  Sex  contains 128  pages and is  spiral bound  with an  aluminium  cover that has the word â€Å"Sex† stamped in the middle[14][22]  and a warning label. [23]  The front page also shows Madonna against a sky blue backdrop. [22]  Three different types of paper were used for the printing of  Sex  and the design was overseen by Madonna and Baron & Baron Inc. (consisting of Fabien Baron and the photographer Siung Fat Tjia) who had previously collaborated with the singer designing the cover art of her fifth studio album,  Erotica. [11][24]  As this was the first project for Maverick, the packaging was crucial; however Madonna did not have faith in Warner Book’s â€Å"mass-market† publication process. Hence Baron suggested to transfer the packaging job to Nicholas Callaway’s bespoke Callaway Editions. [25]  Charles Melcher, co-publisher with Callaway for the book, said that they usually did â€Å"exquisite art books, $100 high end, beautiful things†. But it was a challenge for them to process Madonna’s ideas into reality. The artist wanted the packaging to be sealed, so that the reader had to tear it up and read. [25]  They considered various kinds of clasps before zeroing on the idea of the sealed bag as a reference to a condom package. The metal cover was Madonna’s idea, who took the inspiration from the 1979 album,  Metal Box  by  post-punk  band  Public Image Ltd. [26]  Melcher recollects, â€Å"We were talking about materials for the cover, and we went into her kitchen. [Madonna] pointed at the metal plate at the back of her stove and said, ‘I want something like this’. I was very impressed with the way she interacted with her world to source things. â€Å"[26]  The company bought about 1,500,000 pounds (680,000  kg) of aluminium, a pound for each book. The designers had to do the front and the back covers, while rolling, stamping and ionizing the metal. [26] The book opens up with the introduction: â€Å"Everything you are about to see and read is a fantasy, a dream, pretend†. [27]  Throughout  Sex, Madonna offers  poems, stories, and  essays. [5]  She also uses the  pseudonym†Mistress Dita† as a homage to German actress  Dita Parlo; her friends in these stories are Bunny, Dex, Stella, Chiclet and Stranger. [3][28]  According to biographer  J. Randy Taraborrelli, a big part of the book is read as a letter to a  pornographic magazine. [3]  As a thank you for recovering the stolen pictures during the making of the book, in the credits of the book Madonna mentioned the FBI for † †¦ rescuing photographs that would have made  J. Edgar Hoover  roll over. â€Å"[14][29]  Madonna also wanted to explore the notion of power in  Sex. Melcher said that the artist wanted to talk about â€Å"gentle and hard, soft and violent [in  Sex]. She was playing out all those elements in her book. That was reflected in the materials: uncoated, soft paper on the inside and hard metal coating on the outside. â€Å"[25] Just like the text—which was mostly written on top of photographs—the photographs on the book are highly sexual and depict  nudity, simulations of sexual acts,  bondage,  homosexuality  and  analingus, with accessories such as knives, whips, masks and chains[5][17][30][31]  although full  intercourse  is never shown. [14]  Aside from unknown models, featured in the book are actress  Isabella Rossellini, rappers  Big Daddy Kane  and Madonna’s then boyfriend  Vanilla Ice,[18]  model  Naomi Campbell,[32]  gay porn star  Joey Stefano,[10]  actor  Udo Kier, socialite  Tatiana von Furstenberg, and nightclub owner Ingrid Casares; however theheterosexual  photos in the book involve only Madonna and Vanilla Ice. [14]  Madonna herself is featured partially or completely naked. One of the book’s most famous photographs shows Madonna  hitchhikingcompletely naked in Miami. [3]  The book also reflects a great part on Dita’s perspective towards her own sexuality. Dita writes in  Sex  that her â€Å"pussy† is a temple of learning[33]  and that exposing it, is really a homage to it (â€Å"It’s hard to describe it smells like a baby to me fresh and full of life. I love my pussy, it is the complete summation of my life†). [34]  Sex  contains statements like â€Å"ass fucking  is the most pleasurable way to get fucked and it hurts the most too†. [3]  Others include â€Å"[t]here is something comforting about being tied up. Like when you were a baby and your mother strapped you in the car seat. She wanted you to be safe. It was an act of love†[20]  and â€Å"I wouldn’t want a penis. It would be like having a third leg. it seems like a contraption that would get in the way. I think I have a dick in my brain†. [20][31]  In  Sex, Dita also pointed out that â€Å"A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want†. [35]  The book includes Madonna’s perspective on  pornography: â€Å"I don’t see how a guy looking at a naked girl in a magazine is degrading to women. Everyone has their sexuality. It’s how you treat people in everyday life that counts, not what turns you on in your fantasy. If all a person ever did was get off on porno movies I would say they are probably dysfunctional sexually, but I don’t think it’s unhealthy to be interested in that or get off on that. I’m not interested in porno movies because everybody is ugly and faking it and it’s just silly. They make me laugh, they don’t turn me on. A movie like  In the Realm of the Senses  turns me on because it’s real. I’ve been told there are some good  Traci Lords  movies but I’ve never seen them. I wouldn’t want to watch a  snuff movie. I wouldn’t want to watch anyone get really hurt, male or female. But generally I don’t think pornography degrades women. The women who are doing it want to do it. No one is holding a gun to their head. I don’t get that whole thing. I love looking at  Playboy  magazine because women look great naked. â€Å"[20] Release and promotion[edit] Rapper  Vanilla Ice  (left) and model  Naomi Campbell  (right) are among the celebrities that appeared in the book. Both appeared in explicit images along side Madonna. The initial preview of the book was met with a huge amount of controversy, as it showed a nude Madonna wearing a rabbit’s tail, shaving the  pubic hair  of a naked man, and cavorting outdoors with a dog, suggesting  bestiality. [8][17]  The Vatican  urged its people to boycott the release, saying that it was â€Å"morally intolerable†. [36]  Indian customs officials said that the book offended the country’s public morality. The  Press Trust of India  (PTI), India’s domestic news agency, quoted a top customs official as saying the book would be seized under a section of the Customs Act prohibiting entry of indecent literature. [37]  Citizens of  Alexandria, Virginia  filed a complaint with the city’s police department on behalf of a group called the Rapides Parish Chapter of American Family Association, claiming that it violated Louisiana’s anti-obscenity laws. [38]  South US Baptists did not want their Bibles coming off the same printing presses as Madonna’s  Sex  and threatened to stop doing business with a Chicago printer. The Nashville-based Baptist Sunday School Board, a division of the Southern Baptist Convention, reviewed their $2. 1  million ($3,529,215 in 2014 dollars[39]) printing contract with R. R. Donnelley & Sons. Board President James Draper said he was infuriated that Donnelley also printed â€Å"such an obscene book†. [40]Entertainment Tonight  reported that Madonna herself had initiated the mayhem with the explicit content in the music video for â€Å"Erotica†, walking bare breasted at designer Jean Paul Gaultier’s fashion show and posing nude in  Vanity Fair  magazine. [41]  A writer for  The Sacramento Bee  said that since the press wanted â€Å"controversy†, Madonna was willing to provide them â€Å"fodder† with her â€Å"antiques†. [42] Madonna then said she was â€Å"doing this to liberate America — free us all of our hang-ups†;[5]  she also revealed in a letter that â€Å"This book doesn’t tolerate risky sexual practices†. [3]  Nicholas Callaway from  Callaway Arts & Entertainment  said that the book was â€Å"inevitably going to be controversial. The book explores every aspect of sexual fantasy. It’s hard to calculate the effect, [but],  Sex  should be considered ‘art'†. [43]  Originally it was rumored that  Time Warner  was nervous about the release of the book; however, in an interview with  Vanity Fair, William Sarnoff, president of Warner Books, said he felt that Madonna â€Å"should pursue all avenues of creativity as she defines it†. The Warner company had also previously assured that they would make sureSex  reached its main  target audience  and also reminded that the book was safely wrapped in a Mylar bag to prevent in-store peeping and contained a warning label. [5]  Michael Kilian  of theChicago Tribune  published an article on October 7, 1992, regarding the then upcoming release of  Sex: â€Å"Prepare thyself, [†¦ ], The mega-event of the millennium is to occur in precisely two weeks. It’s an event far more mega than the November election, the collapse of communism or even the crowning of  Leanza Cornett  as the new  Miss America. † Kilian also described it as the â€Å"personal sexual fantasy picture book in all Christendom, then it goes far beyond all previous ‘truly twisted’ personal sexual fantasy picture books—perhaps beyond all imagining what such a book could be†. [43] On October 15, Madonna threw a pre-release party at New York City’s Industria Superstudio, and signed all the invitations under her  Sex  alter ego  Ã¢â‚¬Å"Dita†. [44][45]  During the party, Madonna showed up dressed as  Little Bo Peep  and even carried with her a stuffed toy lamb. [29]  Madonna’s publicist Liz Rosenberg showed concern at first due to â€Å"what the parents of America’s impressionable teens will soon be thinking† but later said that it â€Å"all depends on your idea of lovemaking, which in Madonna’s case, should give new meaning to the word erotic†. [5]  Both  Waldenbooks  and  Barnes & Noble  prepared corporate statements that the managers could share with customers who are offended by  Sex. (Both statements defended the right of bookstores to provide â€Å"diversity and choice† to customers and say censorship is not the role of bookstores. )[23]  Many book stores, too, stated that the book would not be sold to anyone under 18 and that it would be for display only behind the cash register. [5][23]Bookstore owner David Epstein stated that â€Å"The feeling of most people who have ordered the book is that Madonna is something special, that this is cutting-edge art, [†¦ ], they’re not the kind of people who are buying it because it’s smut and dirty pictures. People are interested in it as art. â€Å"[23] Sex  was finally released on October 21, 1992, by editorials Callaway and  Warner Books;[14][43][46][47]  it was also the first work released by Madonna’s company Maverick. [1][5]  To accompany its release, a  comic book  as well as a promotional single containing a stripped-down version of â€Å"Erotica†, titled â€Å"Erotic†, were made available. The book was released by Madonna as alongside her fifth studio album  Erotica, which had been released a day earlier. [5]  With an initial print run of one million copies of the first edition in five continents and in five languages,[47]  the price of the book was $50 ($84 in 2014 dollars[39]) at retail, making sex an â€Å"expensive visual book†. [43][46]  Nevertheless, the book managed to break records regarding the number of copies pre-ordered before the release. Nicholas Callaway pointed out that the book was an unprecedented hit, because the print run of an average art book ranges between 5 and 10,000  units. [11]  He described it as â€Å"the largest initial release of any illustrated book in publishing history†. [10][11] Due to the high scandal and controversy surrounding the book, there wasn’t really any need for Madonna to promote it;[30]  however, one of the few promotions for the book Madonna did, was appearing on the cover of the October edition of  Vogue, where she appeared dressed in â€Å"Hippie trip† fashion. These photographs were taken by Meisel. [48]  After the book was released, on October 22, 1992,  MTV  aired a special called  The Day in Madonna, hosted by  Kurt Loder  (the title of this special was a pun of the title of the channel’s daily show  The Day in Rock), which profiled the release of Madonna’s  Sex  and her album  Erotica, even taking the book to the streets to allow people, including a sex therapist and group of real-life New York Citydominatrices, to view it. MTV also interviewed many people who had viewed the book on the day of its release at the HMV music store in New York City. In celebration of the release of the book, the store held a Madonna look-alike contest and set up a booth where people could view the book for one dollar a minute, with all of the proceeds going to Lifebeat, the music industry organization founded to help fund AIDS research. [9] Critical and commercial reception[edit] â€Å"I don’t think sex is bad. I don’t think nudity is bad. I don’t think that being in touch with your sexuality and be able to talk about it is bad. I think the problem is that everyone is so uptight about it and have turned it into a bad thing when it’s not, if people could speak freely, we would have more people practicing safe sex, we wouldn’t have people being sexually abused. † —Madonna discussing the negative backlash surrounding the book. [12] The book received negative reaction from critics,[47][49][50][51]  conservative and  feminist  Ã¢â‚¬Å"anti-porn† groups,[1][52]  due to its sexually explicit photographs which many characterized as â€Å"hardcore pornography†. [53]  Taraborrelli opined that much of the book appears surprising and not shocking. [54]  He derided the whole concept as childish and impetuous rather than an adult book. According to him, though Madonna insisted that she was trying to demystify sexuality altogether, the author believed she just wanted to publish pornographic text and pictures and get away with it. â€Å"She was being a brat, not a revolutionary†, the author concluded. [54]  Author  Lucy O’Brien  declared that the book was a bold, harrowing exercise in frustration, and despite Madonna’s attempt at invincibility, the book appeared as â€Å"a curious act of self-destruction†. [55]†The overwhelming effect of the book is numbing,† complained  Rolling Stone. â€Å"The images are derivative, and Madonna herself seems far too eager to shock; that, not even prurient arousal, seems the ideal response the book tirelessly seeks. The potency of  Sex’s subject matter is dissipated by Madonna and Meisel’s self-congratulatory – and silly – sense of their own ‘bravery,’ as if their naughty games were somehow revolutionary. â€Å"[56] Roger Catlin from the  Hartford Courant  said that the passages from the book were â€Å"too dirty to quote here, even the funny ones†. [8]  The Daily Beast  said that â€Å"the book is neither groundbreaking (save that it features a major star) nor particularly sexy [†¦ ]  Sex  is convincing only when it’s playful, as when she appears nude in a Miami pizzeria, chewing a slice while a baffled customer looks on. Elsewhere, she’s simply undressed with no place to go†. [19]  Richard Harrington from  The Washington Postgave the book a mixed review by saying: â€Å"Is  Sex  shocking? not really. Mostly because it’s Madonna, and somehow we’ve come to expect this from her. Is  Sex  boring? actually, yes†. [18]  During her review of the book, British author  Zoe Heller  from  The Independent  wrote that it was â€Å"the women who once saw Madonna as a witty feminist role model who have been most alarmist about her latest pornographic incarnation† and that â€Å"previously, they say, Madonna played with traditional images of feminine sexuality in a subversive, ’empowering’ way. But now, with sado-masochism and rape fantasies, she has gone too far. â€Å"[34]  Calvin Tomkins, author and  art critic  for  The New Yorker, wrote that â€Å"unfortunately, the book is going to be mistaken for  pornography†. [57]  In his review,  Ed Anger, columnist for  Weekly World News  said that: â€Å"Madonna may be the best singer in the world today, but she has no right to take off her clothes in her book†. [58]  Vanity Fair  deemed it â€Å"the dirtiest coffee table book to ever be published†. [12]  Caryn James from  The New York Times  was negative in her review stating that â€Å"There is plenty here to offend the meek (whips and chains), the self-righteous (gay men and lesbians), not to mention the tasteful (a tacky and cluttered art design)†. [14]  Vicki Goldberg  from the same newspaper was also dismissive of the photography of the book saying that â€Å"Unfortunately, not many of the images are very good photographically. Many are just pictures, or just porn†. [47] Despite all the controversy and negative backlash, which included the book being banned in Japan shortly after its release,[59]  Sex  proved to be a commercial success, selling 150,000  copies on its release day in the United States alone. [60]  Hundreds of copies of the book were pre-ordered, prompting book sellers to say that  Sex  was â€Å"shattering their sales records for advance purchases†. [61]  A week later, the book’s sales exceeded the 500,000  units[1]  and eventually topped  The New York TimesBest Seller list. [18]  Giselle Benatar wrote in her article â€Å"Sex & Money†: â€Å"This isn’t the publishing event of the year, it’s the publishing event of the century. â€Å"[1]  A day earlier, Tyra Braden from  The Morning Call  wrote that she and some friends concluded that the book â€Å"might become a collector’s item a few years down the road†. [22]  In just three days, the book had managed to sell more than 1. 5  million copies worldwide. [1] Social impact and aftermath[edit]. Madonna’s performances inThe Girlie Show World Tour  faced negative reactions from conservative groups who deemed the singer immoral. Dubbed at the time â€Å"The Queen of obscene†,[62]  Madonna and the  Sex  era is considered by many as the artist’s most controversial and transgressive period. [63][64]  The book, widely panned by the press, is regarded as one of the factors that shaped the social reaction and critique towards Madonna during the early 1990s. [31]  Her fifth studio album  Erotica  was affected by the negative press surrounding the book. [65]  In March 1993Spin  magazine wrote an article praising the book,[66]  but months later in  Mexico,  social communicologist  Nino Canun presented a  television special  called  ? Y Usted que Opina? (en: And what’s your opinion? ), where the audience, among them a  priest, presented their arguments as to why â€Å"this morally clueless singer shouldn’t perform in the country†, making reference to the then upcoming  Girlie Show World Tour  which was set to visit Mexico. Later, during her concert in Mexico, Madonna wore a  charro  sombrero  and simulated an  orgy  with her dancers onstage, as a response to these comments. [67]  Continuing her provocative imagery, Madonna starred in the erotic thriller  Body of Evidence, which featured the singer fully nude and in scenes engaged in simulated sexual acts. [68]  In March 1994,  Madonna appeared as a guest  on the  Late Show with David Letterman, using profanity that was required to be censored on television and handing Letterman a pair of her underwear and asking him to smell it. [69]  The releases of her sexually explicit film, album and book, and the aggressive appearance on Letterman all made critics regard Madonna as a sexual renegade. She faced strong negative publicity from critics and fans, who commented that â€Å"she had gone too far† and that her career was over. [70]  Later on the song â€Å"Human Nature† from her sixth studio album  Bedtime Stories  (1994), Madonna addressed the public backlash the book was still receiving, particularly with the lines â€Å"Did I say something wrong? Oops, I didn’t know I couldn’t talk about sex. I must have been crazy,† as well as the line â€Å"What was I thinking? â€Å". [31] The perfect iconic goddess of  True Blue  had all gone. In the same way that sixties beauties like  Nico,  Marianne Faithfull  and  Brigitte Bardot  set about destroying their beauty after they were famous, the very thing they felt limited them, Madonna annihilated hers. Within a few short years she moved from teasing flirtation to desperate sexual display. It is ironic that after the triumph of  Like a Prayer, she hits this bathos. Being a blond again set her off in the wrong direction. It was as if with the  Sex  book she showed the underside of the Hollywood dream —Lucy O’Brien,  Madonna: Like an Icon, page. 254[71] Madonna herself would later say: â€Å"I wouldn’t say I regret it. I’ve made mistakes and learned from them. Most people want to hear me say that I regret publishing my  Sex  book. I don’t. What was the problem was releasing my  Erotica  album at the same time. I love that album and it got overlooked. â€Å"[72][73]  However, author Andy Koopmans in his book  Madonna  (2002) would comment that the singer regretted both publishingSex  and recording  Erotica  and that the book â€Å"had affected everything she did later†. [74]  It was not until 2003 that Madonna would once again declare that she regretted nothing; â€Å"I’m not apologising in any shape or form [†¦] I was interested in pushing buttons and being rebellious and being mischievous and trying to bend the rules. There was a lot of irony in the  Sex  book and I am poking fun at a lot of things and I am being kind of silly and adolescent and I am being very f you, if a man can do it, I can do it. â€Å"[75]  A year earlier on 2002, Naomi Campbell confessed to â€Å"have a lot of respect for Madonna being bold enough to come out and do a book on sex. I’ve never reneged on that†. [76]  However in 2009, rapper Vanilla Ice, who was Madonna’s boyfriend at the time of the book’s creation, confessed to not being happy with the book once he saw it. â€Å"My friends were like, ‘Dude, that’s cool man’, but I was like, ‘I’m dating her, it’s not cool to see your girlfriend with all these other people’ [†¦ ] It kinda ruined the whole thing. I wonder what her kids think of that book? Here she is writing kids’ books now but they’re going to see it and go, ‘Mommy, what were you thinking? ‘†[77]Another of the book’s models, actress Isabella Rossellini, told  Out  magazine that she regretted her participation on the book; â€Å"I don’t think the book worked, even though the photos were extraordinary, and some of them quite memorable. I think there was a little bit of a moralistic sort of ‘I’ll teach you how to be free! ‘ – and that bothered the hell out of me. â€Å"[78] Later reviews towards  Sex  have become more positive. The authors of  The Porning of America: The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go from Here  (2008) have commented that â€Å"the book is particularly interesting in the way that, like many of Madonna’s works, it portrays sex in terms of domination and power†,[31]  whereas Jane Raphaely, editor-in-chief of  Cosmopolitan  praised Madonna’s â€Å"liberated behavior on  Sex  [†¦] the fact that she takes all forms of pornography and systematically demystifies it by putting it under her control†, in an article in 1996. [79] Brian McNair, author of  Striptease Culture: Sex, Media and the Democratisation of Desire  (2012) praised this period of Madonna’s career, saying that she had â€Å"porno elegance† and that â€Å"Sex  is the author of a cultural phenomenon of global proportions [due to the critics] and thanks to this Madonna established her iconic status and cultural influence†. [28] Legacy[edit] Sex  is now considered a bold,  post-feminist, work of art,[64][80][81]  besides being labeled a â€Å"cultural book†. Martin Amis  from  The Observer  wrote an essay discussing the book’s cultural meaning. [28]  Critical theorist  Douglas Kellner  affirmed that withSex  Ã¢â‚¬Å"Madonna became herself, an artifact of  pop culture†. [82]  French academic writer  Georges Claude Guilbert  (author of three books about Madonna) described  Sex  as one of the most successful publicity stunts in history[83]  whereas Russell W. Belk, author of  Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Marketing  mentioned that the book is a  quality  product in  marketing. [84]  In 1992, Madonna had generated more than US$500  million ($840,289,305 in 2014 dollars[39]) to Time Warner in sales of both albums and the  Sex  book, despite the negative feedback. [85]  However, Taraborrelli commented in his book,  Madonna: An Intimate Biography, that those â€Å"who knew Madonna well at that time, knew what was really going on with her: theSex  book—and the outrageous antics that preceded it and would follow it—was really just something she used as a barrier between her and the rest of the world. â€Å"[54] For years it had seemed to Madonna that both her personal and professional life was extremely scrutinized by the public and  media, and although she had started this scrutinizing by her provocative works, she was tired of it. [54]  Being vexed at this interest in her personal life, Madonna fought back by creating the persona of a renegade, something so outrageous as to defy explanation, something found objectionable by most people. Taraborrelli said that in Madonna’s view, â€Å"she had no other way of fighting back†. [54]  The Boston Globe’s Matthew Gilbert analyzed the singer’s provocative attempt in an article published in the newspaper: â€Å"Madonna’s motive for baring her breasts to the public feels more like personal gratification, less like commitment to a cause. She’s not out to change the world. Let’s face it: Few people get erotic in front of millions of viewers for purely selfless political reasons. It’s hard to escape the view of Madonna as a difficult Catholic adolescent aiming the finger at everything repressive. And many of her songs are addressed to an authority figure of her youth — from God and Jesus Christ to her own father. The heart of Madonna’s outrageousness seems to lie beneath her liberal rationales, as if she’s acting out something private and the world is her couch, not to mention her bank. Her politics are largely Electral. â€Å"[86] According to some writers,  Sex  also helped Madonna make a name in the  porn industry,[62]  and earned her the title of  S&M’s first  cultural ambassador[87]  and was praised for recreating â€Å"porn-chic†. [88]  Humberto Quiroga Lavie pointed out that it was the fact that  Sex  was considered pornographic that helped it become a  bestseller. [89]  Steve Bachmann, on his book  Simulating Sex: Aesthetic Representations of Erotic Activity  pointed out that â€Å"perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of Madonna’s sexual phenomenon is the extent to which her book marked a new threshold in the pornographic franchise†. [90]  McNair wrote in his book that â€Å"Sex  brought out the personal underground to the surface of pop culture†. [28]  London art criticSarah Kent  wrote in  Time Out  magazine that the timing of  Sex  was â€Å"impeccable. [15]  Obsessions about the human body was in vogue, with Madonna’s book as well as artist  Andres Serrano’s â€Å"cumming shots† and  Jeff Koons’  The Jeff Koons Handbook, the latter portrayed fairytale pictures of the artist having sex with his pornographic actor wife,  Cicciolina. [15] Sex  has also become an important book in the  LGBT  community. Ben Shapiro, author of  Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future  wrote that due to its iconic status â€Å"Sex  adorns the coffee tables of hundreds of gay men andsperm banks†. [91]  Mark Blankenship, from the LGBT-oriented website New Now Next stated that â€Å"literature changed forever† with the publishing of  Sex. [92]  Madonna’s portrayal of  lesbian  love scenes in the book sparked debates about her own sexual preferences. [93]  This was an adjunct to the singer’s public relationship with comedienne  Sandra Bernhard, with whom she cavorted around, visiting lesbian night-clubs as well as partying. The LGBT communit

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