Early feminists had railed against pornography and the objectification of women, but feminism was evolving and succeeding generations began to reevaluate the role of the women in the context of Enlightenment notions of freedom and liberty. It would be hard to consider the famous Italian porn star and politician la Cicciolina, who was the wife of the sculptor Jeff Koons, to be an example of a woman who was exploited by men even though she might, in fact, be the object of their fantasies. Entrepreneurial personalities like la Cicciolina and Madonna marketed their own bodies without the need of exploitative male pimps and were in control of their own destinies. By the 1980's Vagina envy replaced penis envy as the manifestation of covetousness between the sexes. As Camille Paglia would point out in Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nerfertiti to Emily Dickinson women had superior powers, both physically (genitally) and metaphysically, of which men were in awe. Men’s need to compensate with increasingly violent pornography centering around the notion of submission, in particular gagging (deep throating) and defiling (facials), were signs of male jealousy rather than male desire (and ultimately exemplified the higher regard in which females were held by their male counterparts). Within the short period of time from 1969, in which the Stonewall riots occurred and gays had begun to assert their rights, heterosexual men and women had begun a journey of their own, characterized by a new dialectic in which self-realization and self-expression challenged both classical feminist and male chauvinist ideals.
[This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.]