Edited By Elizabeth J. Meyer and Dennis Carlson
12. Spicing Up the Curriculum: The Uses and Pleasures of Erotica Noir in the Urban Classroom
Of Panties and Pedagogy
Spicing Up the Curriculum
The Uses and Pleasures of Erotica Noir in the Urban Classroom
Alyssa D. Niccolini
Purple Panties is sitting on the desk. It sits brazenly, mockingly, provokingly in my classroom. Its cover displays an entanglement of voluptuous brown thighs. Above the ‘P’ in Purple, a hand cups a breast and a head tilts back in pleasure. Hips arch below the title, their curves echoing the elaborate sweeps of the font. Body & text. The hips are enwrapped in the scantiest of lavender satin.
I avert my gaze as I walk up and down the aisles of my classroom. I ask students to open their copies of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. Together we interrogate questions of race, class, and gender. We dissect representations of female bodies—particularly African American female bodies. We discuss rape and beauty. But as we talk, Purple Panties sits there on the corner desk. The gleam of well-oiled legs and satiny panties mockingly mirror the glossy purple Everbind© cover of The Bluest Eye. I try to override its presence by ignoring it. I struggle to silence it by asserting my pedagogy. I seek to belittle it by filling the classroom with Pulitzer prose and Nobel thoughts. But there it sits, bold-faced and unashamed, burning an amethyst flame in the margins of my room.
Purple Panties is a collection of lesbian erotica edited by Zane (2008). Heralded as the “Queen...
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