This essay employs pornography to explore the politics of race, gender, and sexuality at play in mimetic performances of Bill Cosby’s The Cosby Show. Focusing on Not the Cosbys XXX (2009), a pornographic parody of the sitcom, pornography is shown to be a venue that lays bare the politics of race, sexuality, and gender that energize cultural practices of mimesis. In mimicking The Cosby Show, Not the Cosbys XXX reveals the racial, sexual, and class politics of authenticity critical to mimesis as a salient technology for the (re)production of blackness in visual culture. Pornography’s spectacular multiplex mimetic performance, which the author terms pornmimicry, brings the quotidian dynamics of mimicry into focus as a primary mode of identificatory performance. More than a frame to elucidate racial sexual performance in pornography, pornmimicry helps us to understand the concomitant pleasure (and violence) bound with the broader cultural repetition of blackness as itself a mimetic practice.
Copying Cosby: Pornmimicries of Race, Sexuality, and Gender
ariane cruz is an associate professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Her book The Color of Kink: Black Women, bdsm, and Pornography was published with New York University Press in 2016. In addition to contributing chapters to several books, her publications appear in journals such as Camera Obscura, Feminist Studies, Hypatia, Women and Performance, the Journal of American Studies, the Black Scholar, and Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society. Her research interests lie at the intersection of black female sexuality and black visual culture.
Ariane Cruz; Copying Cosby: Pornmimicries of Race, Sexuality, and Gender. differences 1 May 2020; 31 (1): 98–134. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-8218788
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