Sunday, August 28, 2011

Playing The Prudes, Then and Now

An ad from the 1950s demonstrates the fate of housewives (most adult women of the time) who did not check coffee for store-freshness, whatever that was. Check out the expression on the wife's face, however. Seems to be having a great time!

The 1950s were a different time. Not that I was around back then, but as an erudite scholar of all things weird, the 1950s are a time of great interest to me, because they were VERY weird times, especially in terms of relations between the sexes.

Can you imagine any ad like the one above getting off the drawing board nowadays without setting off fire alarms, rabid wolverines and flaming nuns in an advertising agency in the U.S.? I think not! But in the 1950s, the sexism was so deeply ingrained in the culture that such an ad would have merited nothing more than a patronizing pat on the tush of the woman who came up with it from the art director who stole it from her, though of course it would have been considered just male prerogative and not theft in those days. It was indeed a “man's world.”

No one would have ever protested such an ad in those days, except for perhaps those few women who were on the leading age of the coming feminist movement, and they had little or no traction in mainstream society and would not have been noticed had they done so. That ad, outre by modern standards, was not done with the intent of irritating or enraging anyone.

Now it is true that MUCH more sexist ads are published nowadays (see below) but the difference here is … the modern sexist advertisers know EXACTLY what they are doing (see my piece on the Roger David ad in Australia for an example). The things that makes the 50s bondage/maledom ads different is that they were oblivious to any sexist content, and to sexual bondage content as well.

A bitgagged model in a modern fashion ad. I'm not sure what she's supposed to be selling, but dammit, you just know it's cool and sexy!

The people who made the image of the bit-gagged model understood the sexual content and they understood that it was going to piss the hell out of some prudo-feminists. And they were perfectly all right with that. Fashion industry advertisers regularly create ads intended to rouse the prudo-feminists in much the same way that fashion advertisers in the 1950s regularly created ads intended to irritate garden-variety prudes.

They do it because it is one of the easiest ways to make your firm/products look cool and sexy is to create products that outrage the uncool and the unsexy. In the 1950s, that would have been garden-variety prudes, and the ads merely had to be sexy or naked or whatever approximation of those were allowable at the time.

In the 2000s outraging garden-variety prudes is passe, because most everybody likes sexy except social conservatives. And it is so fricking easy to outrage a moral conservative of the Christian fundie stripe that you get no points for it. The Christian fundies are correctly perceived as having no influence in the culture in the areas of fashion and art.

The new uncool is prudo-feminists. Feminism still has a little currency, but the brand of it that became prudish and angry about sex and sexual imagery (I refer to them as "prudo-feminists" because I got no beef with feminists generally) well they are a perfect target. And so they become the new way of defining cool ... by being so uncool. Hence all those ads aimed at infuriating them.

And I, for one, am glad! Serves 'em right.

And nowadays, advertisers can use nudity AND bondage in their ads! The best of BOTH worlds!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gagged Girl Ad Banned in UK

The gagged T-shirt image that has aroused so much furor. Looks to me like she could lose the gag just by not holding it in place with her mouth. This is not the ad in question. Link to it is further in.

A fashion ad put out by a company called Roger David has been banned in Australia. The ad showed a young model with a badly done Photoshop of a flag gagging her, and a bar code tattooed on her shoulder, spelling out the word “slave.” She holds up her hands to make a “heart” sign, and is wearing a strapless dress though the shape of the dress suggests the straps were just Photoshopped out. Plus, her hands appear to have been Photoshopped in – they appear to be way too long and at the wrong angle. Here's a link to a story about the banning along with the image in question so you can judge for yourself.

The censorship board cites the apparent youth of the model (while acknowledging that she is in fact 18 years old) the “slave” tattooed on her shoulder, her “disheveled appearance” and so forth and decided, “what the hell, might as well censor SOMETHING by these guys.”

My impression is that the clothing designer has been pushing for a public outcry over its products, playing the line fairly cagily, although it's line of T-shirts with the words “I Like Rape!” were none too subtle. They've also got a short with an image of a gagged woman that has inspired some manufactured outrage. The gagged woman in the shirt image is so sloppily gagged she is clearly holding the “gag” in place … if that's what it is. The word “Hollywood” is imprinted on the gag so there's some definite symbolism there, but in context with the other stuff they are doing, they seem to be working the bondage imagery hard but very carefully.

I don't think the censorship is justified. Sure the girl looks like she could be under 18, but she also looks like she could BE 18 … just another of those skinny-ass fashion models they use all the time. And the disheveled hair … yeah, um, that means slavery all right.

The real story seems to be that there's a major league prudo-feminist in Australia (no I won't mention her by name, but if you google some of the keywords in this story about half of the hits will be her website) getting traction with her “who'll think of the women and children?” approach. Let's hope her blight is limited to Australia, and that she eventually over-reaches (they always do) and loses traction in Australia as well.

The mistake Roger David made, in my opinion, was having such a young-looking model. If the prudo-feminists can link bondage themes/imagery with child porn or child trafficking concerns, they can nail you. That's why I'm linking to the image on Mumbrella and not putting it on my blog: why borrow the trouble that Roger David so desperately strove to obtain?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Greyman Reviews Great Book, Does Other Stuff!

The Greyman has posted a review of my book Slavegirls on the Movies and On TV: The Hottitude of Servitude, and he has said some very nice and, in my opinion, completely accurate statements about my book, which to be fair, is the only book ever written on the subject, due to other people apparently having better things to do with their time. Heres' a link to the review, check it out, and of course, there may be other stuff on The Greyman's site worth looking at, although it's hard to do a second act after praising my book, there are some EXCELLENT posts on the upcoming movie “Uninhabited” which apparently features gorgeous Aussie bikini babes bound and gagged. Intriguing!

What Are Bondage Do Mean, Mainstream People?

For the record, this is bondage, from Bondagerotica sponsor

I scan the Web ceaselessly for interesting material for my blog, or frankly for my own edification, and I came across a fascinating bit of silliness on a celebrity-oriented pop culture site called “Hollywood Life.” It was an article entitled: “15 Hollywood Bondage Girls: Angelina Jolie, Miley Cyrus & More! Who’s Hottest?” Check it out here!

As you can imagine, I was there in flash. For the record, Hollywood Life is very much a mainstream celeb blog, not a bondage blog with an interest in Hollywood. And if you follow the link to the article and look at all the pics, you will see what I saw: not a single fricking bondage image in the lot of them. No one is tied to anything, not even themselves! No gags are to be seen! It's all just women dressed in black strappy dresses!

You can imagine my disappointment.

Well, actually I was not all that disappointed, because I was not all that surprised. It has become evident to me that the term “bondage” as used in the mainstream, especially the mainstream fashion/celebrity press, means “diddly squat.” Well, that's taking it a bit far. Actually what mainstream folks mean by “bondage” is what kinky folk mean when they say “fetish-y.” Black strappy dresses, shoes, chokers, necklaces, etc., that SUGGEST bondage but don't involve any actual tying of anyone to anything, including themselves.

I suspect this is a result of the general perception that bondage is the kinder, gentler aspect of BDSM, after all, it's pretty commonplace to hear women say they like “mild bondage” or “bondage” but of course BDSM is too out there, because it includes pain and whips and so forth, which the mainstream has not adopted … yet. (I'm not sure I WANT them to adopt it, is nothing profane?) But still, I suspect the term bondage is going to get thoroughly denatured by mainstream folk looking for a term that sounds edgy and kinky but can be applied to stuff that is not actually all that kinky.

Thinking about it, it's another aspect of plausible deniability. They want viewers to imagine that the wearers of these garments are kinky, but without straight-out advertising what their particular kink is, and with a certain ability to deny that they are kinky at all … just that they were REFERENCING kink in their fashions, as it were. Sort of like a Slave Leia outfit references Star Wars, not just slave girls.

This portends badly for bondage fans generally, because really, our sites don't get the eyeballs that mainstream celeb/fashion sites do. As a practical matter, bondage is likely to eventually mean anything kinda strappy in the way of clothing, with no implications about tying, chaining, gagging, etc.

I personally would be in favor of using the term “fashion bondage” to refer to mildly kinky looking clothing that kinda relates to bondage, rather than having the word “bondage” taken wholesale. But given the numbers, I fear it would be easier to get Sarah Jessica Parker to play a game of naked twister with Jessica Alba in Madison Square Garden while the cameras roll. More fun, perhaps, but … incredibly difficult!

Finally, Miley Cyrus was named the best of the celebrity bondage babes by the website's visitors. I would not have voted for her, despite being of legal age, she's still kinda young for that. I get the impression, however, that there are a lot of Miley Cyrus fans who think she should win every celebrity contest, ever, and this was one of them so they swarmed the site, creating a really lopsided victory for Ms. Cyrus. Frankly, in terms of bondage I doubt Ms. Cyrus was the most qualified contestant by a long shot, if you know what I mean. And what I mean is, Angelina Jolie? Lady frickin' Gaga? Come on, both of these women have fostered a public image whereby if a video came out of the two of them squirming in a lesbian bondage 69 spreadeagle in Madison Square Garden while being anally raped by dildo engines, well, it would be seized on by the media with great delight, but nobody who follows celeb sites would be ASTONISHED by it.

I do not think the same can be said of Miley Cyrus. But then, what do I know, I'm not a fan. Maybe her fans know something I don't.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lucille Ball the Naked, Chained Slave Girl

Lucille Ball is naked and chained in Roman Slavegirls of 1933.
Lucille Ball would have turned 100 this week, had she lived to be a hundred. The hard-living, hard-smoking former chorus girl was quite the little wild thing in her early days, ready to take on any role, which is how she got her breakthrough role as a naked slavegirl chained to a cake in Roman Scandals of 1933 a pre-Hayes Code comedy that went wayyyyy farther than anything that could have been done in the dismal Hayes Code Era that blighted American films for the next 30 years or so.

Of course, it WAS 1933 and there WERE limits, hence the knee-length hair on all the slave girls. I think Lucille was the second one from the left, but I'm not certain.
Ball went on to produce “I Love Lucy” the comedy that pretty much created the mold that we now know as the television sitcom. She and Desi founded a major studio (DesiLu) and she generally proved to be a major success as a businesswoman, though by many accounts, Desi was very much prone to cheat on her in their marriage. But to us she'll always be a hottie, and a hilarious hottie at that, and so we salute her for the hilarity and hottitude of her celebritude. Here's to you, Lucy!

What a cutie!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Check Out Captain Kidnap

"Let me just search her panties for clues, captain!" One of many great images from the Captain Kidnap blog.

Just added a new site to my list of Bondage Blogs, Captain Kidnap. I noticed he has me on his site list, so I thought I'd return the favor. He has a ton of posts, not all of which will be of interest to readers of this blog, but he does have a nice feature: a category list. You just click on the category that describes your interest: gags, bikinis, pantyhose, whatever ... there are a lot of them to choose from, and a lot of posts. So check it out by clicking here, on the photo above, or by clicking on the link in the blog list to the right of the posts.