Have you ever wondered how revolutionaries are made? Like, no really, when I read about someone who dedicates their life to making change and I always think, “How in the Hell did they come to be where they are?” It’s quite a gift to be able to have that question answered in real time. Polly Whitaker has a memoir out that is more than just a recounting of her life, but it is also the memoir of a moment in the sex-positive movement. The first time I met Polly Superstar in person she had her own float in a parade in San Francisco. I’m sure she wouldn’t say it was her float, but rather it was the float she helped organize to represent her community in the civic festivities. But c’mon. It’s Polly. To me, the float was hers and she had earned every sparkly square inch of it. In the years since, I’ve gotten to know her as a brilliant and brave woman. Thoughtful and insightful. I’ve always enjoyed the brief moments in between our hectic schedules where we have a chance to compare notes. Now, you can have that exchange with Polly too.
Polly isn’t a parent, but her own parents and the story of her childhood are major themes in the narrative. This bit, I really loved:
“Aged five, I took a trip to the National Gallery in London, accompanied by my father’s first wife Marjorie—a very traditional woman, the total opposite to my mother. In the quiet whispering rooms of this classic museum of art, I faced a huge canvas of a naked woman surrounded by nymphs and satyrs, giving herself over in communion with Bacchus. I looked up and asked in a very loud voice, completely inappropriate for the surrounding volume of the gallery, but totally innocent in its tone: “IS THAT WOMAN A SEXUAL MANIAC?” Marjorie had no reply for me. She looked down, mumbled something about not wanting to miss the Constables, and pulled me quickly through to a room filled with landscapes. I went home that day and drew anatomically correct pubic hair and nipples on all my dolls, aghast at their lack of accuracy.”
Polly’s mother was a sex therapist and her father a balloonist. Maybe a perfect combo to make a sex culture revolutionary? Note the patch on her jacket… “ballonists make better lovers.” Sort of exemplifies her parents sense of humor! I asked Polly is she ever considered following in her mother’s footsteps. She said: “No, I’ve never been very academic. I’m an artist and I’ve always known that. When I was a teenager making decisions about what to do with my life I didn’t think about a career. I wanted to be a rockstar. I followed my heart and refused to compromise. Sex therapy sounds like a lot of work. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how connected I am to my mothers work.”
It seems Polly’s parents were sex-positive before being sex-positive was cool: “I was raised without shame around sex. I know that makes my experience pretty unique. Questions were answered when they came up, in simple terms I could understand. I was never fooled or mislead or lied to. My parents raised me with a very encouraging, liberal outlook and raised me to think for myself, be responsible for my actions, and appreciate the value of friendship. I think they did a great job.”
I think they did too! I really enjoyed reading this heart felt and brutally honest memoir. I’m grateful to be included in the book tour so that I can support more honest conversations about sexuality in our culture. You can check out the other reviews and interviews of Polly: Sex Culture Revolutionary here: http://www.pollysuperstar.com/virtual-tour/
This post is part of the Polly: Sex Culture Revolutionary Virtual Book Tour. If you make a comment in the thread below you’ll be automatically entered in a chance to WIN a LIMITED EDITION signed hardcover copy of Polly: Sex Culture Revolutionary.
The comedian Margaret Cho called it “Raw, untamed, emotional beauty–Polly is a true supernova. This memoir is as touching as it is hot, as moving as it is a masterpiece.”
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