Pleasure Activism | Adrienne Maree Brown

Summary of: Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good (Emergent Strategy)
By: Adrienne Maree Brown


Embark on a journey to discover the liberating power of pleasure in ‘Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good’ by Adrienne Maree Brown. This enthralling book exposes the notion of pleasure as a potent force in personal growth and empowering marginalized communities. Brown introduces the term ‘pleasure activism’ – the work of reclaiming wholeness, satisfaction, and liberation from oppressive forces. By delving into topics like the erotic, trauma, bodily connections, and radical honesty inspired by influential figures such as Audre Lorde and Octavia Butler, Brown envisions a world where embracing pleasure can be a stepping stone towards healing, empathy, and a more sustainable future. Open your mind and heart to the transformative power of pleasure activism.

Pleasure as a Form of Liberation

Pleasure can be a form of political activism, especially for women, femmes, and LGBTQ+ individuals who have been oppressed. Pleasure has been wrongly associated with indulgence, but embracing pleasure is about feeling whole and satisfied. This message is exemplified in Alana Devich Cyril’s story, who found pleasure even during her battle with cancer. Adopting pleasure as a practice can heal dissociation from one’s body and fight depression.

The Power of Erotic Pleasure

Pleasure activism is a call to prioritize joy and pleasure in our lives, especially for marginalized individuals who experience systemic oppression. The author of this book draws inspiration from Audre Lorde’s essay “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power,” which redefines the term erotic as a potent form of pleasure that can help people heal from pain and repression. The erotic is not limited to sex, and it can provide a deeper understanding of oneself and enable a positive relationship with the body. In contrast, pornography is often about objectifying and repressing women, which is disempowering. Burlesque is one way of expressing the erotic and cultivating pleasure, as it involves loving and celebrating one’s body in its entirety. Through burlesque, performers like Taja Lindley can connect pleasure with the political while transcending past traumas. Overall, pleasure and erotic pleasure, in particular, can be empowering and transformative, enabling individuals to live in a world of their own creation while feeling completely Present in their bodies.

The Power of Embracing Pleasure

Embracing pleasure can lead to a fulfilling life. The author’s process of connecting with her “orgasmic yes” helped her understand what she truly wanted in life. By working with like-minded collaborators rather than competitors, she was able to make better decisions. When facing challenges, it’s important to assess options and look for the sense of opening up and feeling alive. By connecting with our yes and helping others do the same, we can make the revolution irresistible and create a future free of internal suffering and oppression.

Pleasurable things in life – a political issue

The author of the book believes that the criminalization of drugs is mainly ruining black and brown futures. While the legalization of marijuana is turning into a political issue, the marginalized and oppressed communities continue to face discrimination. The author shares personal insights on using drugs to experience pleasure and feel more connected to the world, but also acknowledges the potential dangers of drug use. As a precautionary measure, the author practices moderation and takes breaks from drug use. The author has also found support from the Harm Reduction Coalition, an organization that provides non-judgmental strategies to reduce the harms associated with drug use. The book presents a thought-provoking perspective on the politicization of pleasure and how it affects different communities.

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