How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle for anything less than a fulfilling life? Author and editor adrienne maree brown finds the answer in something she calls “pleasure activism,” a politics of healing and happiness that explodes the dour myth that changing the world is just another form of work. Drawing on the black feminist tradition, she challenges us to rethink the ground rules of activism. Her mindset-altering essays are interwoven with conversations and insights from other feminist thinkers, including Audre Lorde, Joan Morgan, Cara Page, Sonya Renee Taylor, and Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Together they cover a wide array of subjects—from sex work to climate change, from race and gender to sex and drugs—building new narratives about how politics can feel good and how what feels good always has a complex politics of its own.
Building on the success of her popular Emergent Strategy, brown launches a new series of the same name with this volume, bringing readers books that explore experimental, expansive, and innovative ways to meet the challenges that face our world today. Books that find the opportunity in every crisis!
adrienne maree brown, author of Emergent Strategy and co-editor of Octavia’s Brood, is a social justice facilitator focused on black liberation, a doula/healer, and a pleasure activist. She lives in Detroit.
PRAISE for Pleasure Activism:
“[brown] demonstrates how we can tap into our emotional and erotic desires to organize against oppression.” —Colorlines
“adrienne maree brown...continues to stake her claim as one of our most critical thinkers and strategists by intentionally combining the power of story-telling with practical applications to help readers conjure their own definition of pleasure and how it is inextricably linked to every part of our existence.” —Monica Simpson, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective
"adrienne marie brown is back, again dropping wisdom about alternative ways to live at this deeply fucked-up moment ... Let this book be the best Valentine’s Day gift you’ve ever given yourself." —Vice/Broadly
“adrienne maree brown dives deep, head first, into a fast swirling pool of pleasure-related topics. She swims her way from one end of the pool to the other with some help from her body-wise, experienced, friends. This book is all at once so cool, and so hot, with a rainbow of glorious compleXXXities. Pleasure Activism is bound to make a huge splash!” —Annie Sprinkle, author of Explorer’s Guide to Planet Orgasm—For Every Body
“Engaging with politics and social justice issues, whether it's climate change, race, or gender, can feel like work (and it is). Adrienne maree brown makes the case that you can feel good while doing so ... [Pleasure Activism] will challenge you to rethink your approach to changing the world.” —Mashable
"Pleasure Activism is an invitation to know ourselves and be in conversation with the desire of our lustful imaginations... [I]t makes our personal liberation irresistible." —Jasmine Burnett, activist and anti-oppression consultant
"adrienne maree brown elucidates a philosophy of Pleasure Activism to transform individuals and so the world. Her explicit instructions encourage orgasms of the body, mind and spirit. First, in support of our own authentic lives, then so that we can live in loving community with others. It’s like a wise and juicy black goddess reopened Eden and said, 'Okay, everybody, let’s try this again.'" —Veronica Vera, author & founder of Miss Vera’s Finishing School For Boys Who Want to Be Girls
I. Introduction: What Is Included in Pleasure Activism?
pleasure as a pathway to liberation
II. Pleasure Principles
III. Essays and Interviews
[Title TK] Interview with Joan Morgan
Fuck you, Pay Me: The Pleasures of Sex Work, by Chanelle Gallant
Pleasure Activism and the Legacy of “Uses of the Erotic”: A Conversation with Cara Page
The Sweetness of Salt: Toni Cade Bambara and the Practice of Pleasure (in 5 tributes), by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
[Title TK] Interview with Sonya Renee Taylor
[Title TK] Interview with Dallas Goldtooth
Pussy Power and Visual Gaze, by Favianna Rodriguez (photo essay)
Pleasure Through Gender Transition Part One, by Micha Cardenas
13 Erotics of Care, by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Pleasure Through Gender Transition Part Two, Holiday Simmons
Pleasure after Surviving Sexual Assault, Amita Swadhin
[Title TK] A Conversation between ZiZi and the Rocca Family
The Black Burlesque Artist, Taja Lindley
Sex in Public, by Rashida KhanBey and Suguey Hernandez
Legalize it, by Chaney Turner
[Title TK], by brASS burlesque
IV. Tools for Pleasure Activists