Andrea Wood explores lesbian sex and romance in comics, a genre that has long captivated lay readers. Rachel Lumsden turns to Ethel Smyth’s 1913 composition “Possession,” an ode to same-sex intimacy that sonically melds passion, desire, and political commitment. Sharmila Lodhia’s account of Nina Paley’s film Sita Sings the Blues considers how a sexually-charged animated representation of a Hindu epic spurred battles over cultural authenticity. Ariane Cruz examines how sexual pleasure presses against racist histories in her study on black women and BDSM. Chloë Taylor addresses how women’s sexual desire is policed in contemporary sexology, while Lynn Comella explores recent books on pornography and the sex industry. Kawika Guillermo’s short story set in Las Vegas creatively renders the interplay between pleasure and danger, which is at the core of many articles in this issue. In News and Views, Wang Zheng recounts the recent jailing and release of five young feminists in China for their activism against sexual harassment.
The rendition of the song “Possession,” by Ethel Smyth, discussed in Rachel Lumsden’s article “'The Music Between Us': Ethel Smyth, Emmeline Pankhurst, and 'Possession'”:
The animated film Sita Sings the Blues, by Nina Paley, discussed in Sharmila Lodhia’s article "Deconstructing Sita’s Blues: Questions of Mis/representation, Cultural Property, and Feminist Critique in Nina Paley’s Ramayana":
We are pleased to announce that Marlon Bailey's essay on ballroom culture, “Gender/Racial Realness: Theorizing the Gender System in Ballroom Culture,” inFeminist Studies Volume 37, Number 2, won the 2013 Modern Language Association's Compton-Noll Prize for Best LGBTQ Studies Article.