You’ve Got Something On Your Face: Ejaculatory Imagery in Courtney Trouble’s “Nostalgia”

I’m presenting at the English Undergraduate Symposium on Saturday! I am equal parts terrified and excited.

Here’s my outline. It’s super messy. But it’s something! I’ll post as it gets fleshed out. And I’d love feedback.

– Introduce the idea of feminist pornography, Trouble as a queer feminist pornographer (specifically state that not all feminist pornography is queer, but this film is) and introduce Nostalgia and the films it remakes (I estimate 3-5 minutes for this bit)

– Talk about ejaculation and how it has been theorized by feminist critics (starting with the critique of it as misogynistic and aggressive, moving into contemporary critiques that are more nuanced) (1-2 minutes)

– Run through the ejaculation scenes in the original porn – every. single. scene. includes male ejaculation onto the female performer’s face, and in Behind The Green Door this scene is a psychedelic, 7 minute slo-mo loop of semen flying through the air and landing on Marilyn Chambers’ waiting, passive face (2-3 minutes)

– Analyze the ejaculatory imagery in Nostalgia.

 – In the remake of Behind The Green Door, two female-bodied performers ejaculate onto the torso of the “Gloria” character. I believe that using this as the first scene centers ejaculation as the culmination of the sex act/scene, and it is relevant that this scene is the one that most closely mirrors the original film. Unlike in the original, the moments of ejaculation are not ejaculator-onto-passive body – she is making eye contact, she’s not restrained, and she engages with the two performers who are ejaculating onto her. This sets up the rest of the film, which is marked by active participation on the part of the character who was primarily passive in the original films. This also recovers the D/s elements of the Behind The Green Door scene by showing voluntary rather than forced submission on the part of the Gloria character. This ejaculatory scene is fully embodied – we see the female-bodied performers squirting onto Gloria’s chest and belly. This is also the final scene in this sequence. Another possibility is that this scene irrevocably (within the film’s universe) queers the act of ejaculation. There are no biologically male performers in the film, but this scene makes it clear that sex acts are not aligned to sex parts in the way that much mainstream heterosexual porn portrays them to be. (ie – not just cocks are capable of ejaculating, and not just passive heterosexual or fetishistically bisexual women are the recipients of ejaculate.)

 – In the remake of Deep Throat, glitter! Still simulated as coming from a body – either the strap-on or Madison Young’s throat. This is a further queering of ejaculation. In this scene it is entirely ambiguous whether the glitter ejaculate comes from Young’s throat (earlier in the scene she says she wants to “squirt glitter”) or from the condom-covered silicon cocks. Either way, it is not a ‘natural’ way for ejaculate to get out of a body and onto another body.

 – In the remake of Bablyon Pink, cake! Moving further and further from the true-to-original style of the first scene, and also moving further and further from the embodiment of ejaculation and into a fully constructed/disembodied model of ejaculation.

 – In the remake of The Devil in Miss Jones – no ejaculation AND no punishment for female sexuality. This completely decenters ejaculation as the culmination of the sex act/scene. (10 minutes)

 – Brief discussion of what this might mean for heterosexual pornography, where ejaculation from male bodies still needs to be recovered and re-imagined, so that we are not left with the idea that male ejaculation onto bodies is always misogynist or aggressive. Cite that facials article. (1 minute)

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