Before Ellen Willis was a radical feminist countercultural writer, she was a timid, 20-year-old bride. Her conversion journal, “Up From Radicalism,” is up at Guernica today (reprinted from “The Essential Ellen Willis”).
Remember when Tavi Gevinson tweeted “Memoirs of a Non-Prom Queen" and all the baby feminists of the world discovered Ellen Willis? My work here is done.
“The first time I ever discovered that she wrote about sex and pleasure was when I found this magazine called Caught Looking. It was this really cool onetime publication of feminist writers writing about porn, juxtaposed with lots of pornographic images. I was like 7 years old. I’d show my friends, like, Oh my God, there’s this sex book that I found. And I sort of figured out that she’d written something in there — I could kind of read it, kind of not — and it was the first time I realized, Wow, my mom actually writes about sexy topics! Racy topics. That was my first introduction to porn. It wasn’t some cheesy Channel 35 or Playboy situation. It was a critical journal full of smart feminists.”
I talked to NY Mag about putting together “The Essential Ellen Willis” and what it was like growing up with my mom. Shoutout to the New Yawkas who get the Channel 35 reference!
Sooo excited to show y’all the trailer for “The Essential Ellen Willis,” which is coming out in a mere week! The trailer, which is really more like a mini-doc, features the wisdom of Irin Carmon, Alix Kates Shulman, Daphne Brooks, Jay Rosen, Jennifer Baumgardner, and my dad, Stanley Aronowitz.
Oh, and my boo Aaron Cassara made the thing!