In this Book

The Ohio State University Press
buy this book Buy This Book in Print
summary
As the first survey of its kind, Soft in the Middle positions the contemporary softcore feature as a middlebrow form of pornography. This genre of film and video has been produced by a complex and often elusive industry situated in the ambiguous “middle” regions between hardcore and Hollywood. In meticulous detail, Soft in the Middle demonstrates that softcore’s under-the-radar success and pervasive cultural devaluation may be understood in terms of the “postfeminist” strategies employed by successive generations of producers and distributors, each intent on overcoming obstacles to the mainstream distribution of pornographic material. Softcore and its American precursors became more “feminized” and “female friendly” as their distribution widened, a process hastened in the 1980s by the industry’s transition to private, non-theatrical modes of distribution and exhibition (e.g., home-video outlets and premium-cable networks like Cinemax). One of the byproducts of this development is that contemporary softcore has frequently resorted to what are arguably anti-male or “misandristic” attitudes and depictions. Clearly, the genre challenges traditional assumptions about pornography, including those held by feminists on both sides of “the porn debates.” Drawing on original industrial research, extensive sampling, and wide-ranging scholarship, Soft in the Middle offers a nuanced look at a discreetly indecent genre whose central commodity has always been female nudity. The book examines the genre’s history, describes its deflationary trajectory, and differentiates the reading patterns of its disparate audiences, including “cult” critics and feminist critics. Naturally, the book also considers the genre’s formal and ideological conventions, surveying its most exemplary subgenres, styles, and motifs—and lavishing particular attention on its most influential studios, directors, and texts.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Table of Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. List of Illustrations
  2. pp. ix-xii
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Preface and Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xiii-xvi
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Chapter 1. Introduction: Approaching the Softcore Feature
  2. pp. 1-22
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Chapter 2. Soft v. Hard
  2. pp. 23-44
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Chapter 3. The Disorderly Feminization of Classical Sexploitation: Tracing the Genealogy of Contemporary Softcore
  2. pp. 45-76
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Chapter 4. "Spicy, but Not Obscene": Industrial and Formal Retooling in 1980s Sexploitation
  2. pp. 77-109
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Chapter 5. Class, Gender, and Genre in Zalman King's "Real High Erotica": The Conflicting Mandates of Female Fantasy
  2. pp. 110-130
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Chapter 6. Sex is Dangerous, So Satisfy Your Wife: The Softcore Thriller in Its Contexts
  2. pp. 131-158
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Chapter 7. Softcore as Serialized (and Feminized) Featurette: Postfeminists Propriety on Late-Night Cable
  2. pp. 159-183
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Chapter 8. The Softcore Public: A Cult of Bad Faith
  2. pp. 184-204
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Chapter 9. Corporate Softcore and Its Discontents
  2. pp. 205-229
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Chapter 10. "From Skin to Scream": Evolution and Elevation at a Cult Softcore Label
  2. pp. 230-250
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Conclusion: Whither Softcore?
  2. pp. 251-258
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 259-287
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Film- and Videography
  2. pp. 288-304
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 305-316
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents
  1. Index
  2. pp. 317-334
  3. open access
    • Download PDF Download
    contents

Additional Information

ISBN
9780814272336
Related ISBN
9780814210222
MARC Record
OCLC
1229137983
Pages
334
Launched on MUSE
2021-01-09
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.