Marilyn Chambers - RIP

Marilyn Chambers Pictures, Images and Photos

I saw this on a newsfeed, then searched around for good coverage, of which this AVN article seems to be most comprehensive.

Marilyn Chambers, like Bettie Page, was unapologetic in her sexual expression. Her early work as the "Ivory Soap" girl gave her a similar "messes with the Madonna/whore dichotomy... does not compute" kind of vibe that also characterizes Bettie Page's appeal.

She starred in films such as BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR and INSATIABLE, which, despite the fact that my creepy uncle had them on Betamax, were attempts to "legitimize" hardcore pornography as a genre of mainstream filmmaking. Despite porn becoming a multi-billion dollar business, the division between "mainstream" fare and "adult entertainment" remain within the Hollywood community (with the line blurring somewhere near VH1's ROCK OF LOVE BUS).

Chambers did "cross over" in David Cronenberg's RABID (see! see!), but ended up returning to adult filmmaking, in many different capacities, often trying to produce work that was at least quasi-sex-positive.

Marilyn was found in her Santa Clarita residence by her daughter on Sunday night. She was 57 years old. Cause of death is pending.

Frankly, it is hard to embrace all of the adult industry, as much of it is juvenile

and filled with not-so-great portrayals of women. However, a society that ghettoizes the expression of sexuality in media, so it can condemn/decry it en masse, seems equally as pathetic. Maybe Marilyn really did want a world where we didn't require two entirely separate industries to release a movie where naked people do what naked people do. It seems like that could lead to a more enlightened society that would take some of the piss out of both of the negative extremes.

I won't hold my breath!

(Netflix THE FILM IS NOT YET RATED if this topic interests you -- it explains why frank, realistic sexuality is marginalized by the Motion Picture Association of America... and how the NC-17 rating, that was to free serious cinema, failed so spectacularly.)