The Femisphere: A Link Roundup

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Prince (1979) Album cover

A News Roundup of Body Politics, image and Body Justice News.

Prince is Dead

The gender-bending sexual revolutionary who rocked the world with his unique funky/rock/soul/pop musical genius has left us too soon. For me and my friends, who happen to have already been in mourning, it feels especially hard to believe. Another inspired, inspiring human is gone and for many it is a terrible loss. So consider this a special edition of the Femishpere with some links to get us through it by celebrating the impact of an Icon.

  • Vox shares Why we grieve artists we’ve never met, in one tweet. “Any time a revered person dies, the established stages of grief seem to launch into hyperdrive. The second the news drops, final and cutting to the quick, the ripples start to spread. Soon enough, the grief feels magnified, becoming an ever-complicated web of shifting memory, gutted despair, muddled controversy over their worth, stark regret. Maybe there will even be some joy.”
  • The pop and R&B icon inlaid his albums with brazen pansexuality and gender norm coquetry . …Prince was flamboyant in both his masculinity and femininity. He wielded his outrageous guitars like extensions of his manhood while vamping under winged eyeliner and plentiful jewels. He even bragged that his traditionally feminine features lent him a special sexual power. “The way I wear my knickers around this booty tight / Make a sister wanna call me up every night,” he sang on “Prettyman” in 1999. “Everywhere I go, people stop and stare / They just wanna see me swing this pretty hair.” Prince didn’t just disregard the boundaries of gender and sexuality: He kicked straight through them in platform heels, gyrating his very visible bulge in naysayers’ faces for good measure. “
  • “He could strut in a diamante-encrusted suit, he could wear a flowing white shirt and trousers. He could wear yellow trousers, carry a guitar in many colors, and wear gold sunglasses. He once said, quoted later in Vice, “People say I’m wearing heels because I’m short. I wear heels because the women like ’em.” He was selling sex, lasciviously—and blurring as many boundaries around masculinity and femininity as possible. – Sex, Sexuality, and Purple: What Made Prince The Ultimate Fashion Peacock

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  • Nichole Perkins writes how prince taught her about female sexuality.” I’ve been fascinated with sex since an early age, and even as a child, I knew Prince was “nasty,” but it drew me to him even more. Prince built a reputation on his risqué songs, like “Head” with lyrics that said, “I know you’re good, girl/ I think you like to go down.” With songs like “Soft and Wet,” it’s easy to think that Prince only sees women as objects made for sexual pleasure, but looking further, his songs show women with the same sexual urges as men. Acts like Salt-N-Pepa and Madonna were equally important in showcasing women’s desires through song during my childhood, but Prince’s work resonated more with me.”

 

  • Steven W. Thrasher explains how Prince broke all the rules about what black American men should be. “In recent years, long after I figured I was gay, I started buying Prince on vinyl: five albums have gotten me through writing this: 1999, Parade, Controversy, For You, and Around the World in a Day. Prince was so ahead of me in my own understanding of what it means to be black in this country, to have a sexuality and gender expression at odds with the white men who try to tell everyone else how to behave – and to embrace what is amorphous, not easily categorized, beautiful, and yet unknown.”

 

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The cover of Prince album, Lovesexy