By Albert Samaha
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As the carnal inspiration for schoolgirl action figures, naughty Halloween costumes, and an upcoming Hustler porn, Sarah Palin is the first overt sex symbol to run for The White House. Its not just her gender: few people were forwarding PhotoShop jobs of Hillary Clinton, with her shapeless pants suits and distant gruffness, in a stars-and-stripes bikini. Palin, however, has won attention not only with her everyman attitude, folksy patois, and run-on sentences, but also with her unapologetic sex appeal. At least, thats how author and sex expert Rachel Kramer Bussel sees itand why she's working on a web site that'll be a place where Joe Sixpack can stop quietly ogling the ex-beauty queen and start writing dirty stories about her himself.
Bussel's about to launch SarahPalinErotica.com, a collection of tales from the minds of professional writers and amateur smut lovers alikeand all of them about Palin. This kind of fiction allows people to use both facts and their own imagination, Busselwhose work has appeared in more than 100 erotica collectionsexplains over the phone. I dont think people are going to go to the site and jerk off to it. Its less expressly political and more about giving people something fun to do until we know the outcome of the election. She adds, Still, Im glad its all covered by the first amendment. Yeah, we bet you are.
Why a Sarah Palin erotica site?
Since the first day her candidacy was announced, Palin has been sexualized in the mainstream media. Her looks and her sex lifein terms of her pregnancy and her marriagewere the center of what was reported about her. It just seemed like a natural thing to see what people might come up with. The idea of analyzing her based on her sexuality is already in the air. The site will take that and make it explicit. For some of the authors, its a way to satirize her and her politics through sexuality.
Me, Im a democrat. Im voting for Obama. But Id love to see pro-Palin or Republican stories.
Is it possible for right-wing writers to express their admiration of Palin through erotica, the way television or videogame lovers do when they write fan fiction?
She does seem to inspire extreme fandom. There was the blog, Draft Sarah Palin for VP, that the kid was writing for a year and a half. A lot of [her appeal] is the cult of personality were not seeing around Joe Biden, though I think Obamas sexuality and looks have also played into this election Sex and sexuality are part of Palins story, between her kids and her daughters pregnancy. Some of the erotica about her thats already out there plays on her real traits, like her ambitions. In one of the stories ambition is what makes sex hot for her.
In the stories youve seenand the ones you expect to seedoes Palin play a role thats sexually empowered? Or is this an excuse to strip her down and humiliate her?
You know, Ive mentioned the site to people whove said, You should have Palin have a threesome with Hilary Clinton and Michelle Obama. Some people have said she should be the dom and some people have said she should be in a dungeon getting punished. Either of those roles would be sexually exciting. We dont know what shes into, so its about speculating about what we know about this public figure and does her personal sexuality match what we know of her political persona. You could ask that question of anyone in power: do they want to give up that power in the bedroom or do they want more power?
Where does this erotica fit in with the Palin sexism debate? Youre clearly a feminist yourself. Isnt there something hypocritical there?
I do think theres a tension. If I was starting a Hillary Clinton erotica website that would be trickier. I feel like its more okay with Palin because shes brought more of her sexuality into the public arena. Thats why Id love to see stories in support of her or from her point of view.
Someone suggested writing about Todd Palin. What do we know about him? What do we know about their marriage? Also, because she has some radical views around sexbirth control and abortion, for examplepeople are wondering about the intersection of Palins politics with her sex life . . . Those Photoshopped images that have come out with her in sexy clothestheyre a reaction to the way shes presented herself.
But what about the feminist idea that eroticizing Palin is really just an attempt to put a woman in power down?
Any woman in a position of authority is going to be sexualized Were probably going to launch with five or six stories, which will hopefully show a range of fetishes, since we dont really know what her personal life is like. I dont think thats even really relevant. Its more about what her candidacy says to erotica writers. Theres one story where a married mom is having a lesbian sex fantasy about her. What does that say? Im also hoping some people will take it as an opportunity. I teach an erotic 101 class. I tell them, 'Write an erotica story about George Bush.' If you can do that, and do it well, you can write erotica about anything.