There has been a lot of hoo-hah in Australia in recent days over an Elle McPherson Intimates catalogue that shows a woman in what some women argue is a demeaning position. The photo in question is here:

Elle McPherson shot creates uproar

The assumption is that the woman on the floor has been the subject of domestic violence, although some have also wondered if she was doing a “line” of coke or simply trying to get a stain off the carpet.

The furore reminded me of this billboard from a couple of years ago:

Voodoo Men Dogs

At the time, a complaint against the billboard (one of some 60 received) was dismissed because the powers that be regarded it as a “satirical comment on a patriarchal society”.

Which I frankly call “bullsh*t”. The billboard is clearly sexist, and in our view fighting fire with fire only results in, er, bigger fires.

For what it’s worth, I think the McPherson pic is yet another example of “Dom-Sub chic” neo-porn, which given the runaway success of a book (I use the word cautiously) like Fifty Shades of Grey seems hardly a surprising tactic, and which is popping up everywhere.

Fashion? Porn? Erotica? How do you tell? Does it matter?

Fashion? Porn? Erotica? Just great photography? How do you tell? And does it matter? Why?

The recent story from the fire brigade bemoaning how many times they’re called on to free people from handcuffs where they’ve left the key out of reach would seem to imply that what might once have been considered extreme has become more mainstream, albeit somewhat incompetently.

Heigh ho, Whatever gets you through the night.

What is clearly impossible to ascribe to any such image, of course, is any sense or understanding of “consent”, or otherwise. Because a woman (or man) assumed to be adopting a consensual submissive role might be acceptable, whereas a depiction of a rape or other anti-personal violence clearly would not. (Well, not in our opinion, anyhow.) But how does one know from a still image?

How on earth the reader or viewer is intended to work out the difference, sometimes, is quite beyond our ken.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

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Comments
  1. People are idiots. That is my first statement. My second is this, women gobbled up Fifty Shades of Grey; this poorly written schlock flew off the shelves of every book store as if it was gold. Women fuel the soft porn industry, they can’t get enough of it. While they are decrying the Rape Culture and whinning about the demeaning views of women in media, they continue to read and write books that cast fuel on the fire.

    There is a BDSM culture. It exists and is no longer as underground as it once was. As with many other sub-cultures, it is time for us to get over it, time for us to accept people do not necessarily live behind white picket fences and do it missionary style. You know what? So what! This means it is a market to tap (obviously) and a market with money.

    Rape = No
    Willing Submissive = Yes

    How do we tell the difference in media? I don’t know.

    Like

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