I read this article yesterday by one of my favourite fetish photographers, and it really struck a chord with me. I’ve been taking a human sexuality class this summer and thinking about how our socialization of gender roles and even our attempts at de-socializing gender roles all play into fetish and kink and the debate raging around them, by both people within and outside the community. Pelicanh brings a great dialogue to DeviantArt, and in my appreciation I have posted his article below.
“About 10 years ago, I got very interested in shooting images of people who had fetishes. I was, and continue to be, fascinated by what things turn people on. I went places and saw things that caught me quite by surprise and some things that made me horribly uncomfortable. I have tried to keep an open mind and in some cases decided to try whatever it was just to see what the hell was, to them, so very wonderful about what they were involved in.
I’ve seen people go nuts over feet, rubber, latex, bondage, flogging, caning, rope suspension, and encasement.
There are examples of pretty much all of these things in my gallery, so I won’t go into detail as to what they all are, but one thing I WILL say is that those who enjoy a certain fetish… REALLY enjoy it.
I have also learned that much of it is sexual but, at the heart of it, driven by psychological and emotional desires.
The first time I saw someone get flogged, I winced every time the flogger smacked their back. I kept thinking, “What happened to that person as a child that would make them want that?”
So…in the interest of science… I stepped up and said, “Hey…flog me!”
I think I had a bit of a goofy upbringing but certainly knew my parents loved my siblings and me, so there is no horrid abuse story. I love who and what I am too, so there is no self hatred going on.
The Dom said to me,”Hold on to that post!”
So I did.
WOW… that kinda stung (and trust me – I don’t do pain!) but to my amazement, it felt kinda good! As the Dom (a guy that has become a dear friend of mine) continued, the “whacks” got harder. Finally after, I would guess, 10 minutes, he stopped and told me I was done. Hmmm… I didn’t “feel” particularly “done” and it felt like I had been given a nice massage. But about 20 minutes later, I realized he was right and he had taken very good care of me in that he understood the physical reactions a body goes through. I was exhausted!
So now my “scientific” experimentation was piqued! SO – I got spanked, caned, suspended with rope, and put in an encasement tube! Not all on the same day, mind you, but I had to find out! woohoo!
Much to my dismay, none of it gave me any kind of sexual satisfaction or even the remote beginnings of a chubby.
Spanking kinda irritated me, caning stung and pissed me off, being suspended was either like hang gliding or pretending to be a gymnast… great fun but no woody and if you clown around like I did, you’ll get a rope burn. The encasement tube was hot and restrictive which didn’t trigger any claustrophobia but did just kind of get on my nerves UNTIL someone else got in with me! That was …uh… interesting but eventually too warm for my taste.
Being tied up bored me because I wanted to participate BUT tying someone else up and doing things to them was kinda sexy to me!
I had been living with a woman 10 years when one day I said to her,”How does it feel to know that your boyfriend, after all these years, still lusts after you!?”
Her response was,”It pisses me off because I feel objectified!”
Why am I telling you all this? Because my dear friend, Perry Gallagher posted this image [link] and created a shit storm. Seems people have all sorts of issues with it. Some LOVE it and some HATE it.
“It objectifies women”, “…blah, blah, blah, that isn’t art”, “it’s degrading”…. “I want that!”…”Wish my boyfriend would do that!”…or simply, “HELL YEAH!”
My gallery is full of nude women. In my heart, I am not objectifying them, I am worshiping them. I am not putting them on a cross, I’m putting them on a pedestal.
I adore women, respect women, and love the models I shoot. I am fascinated and awed by their beautiful bodies and many of them have become dear friends because I love their spirits. To love a nude model’s body is no more degrading than loving a physicists mind.
For my girlfriend to tell me after 10 years of living together that she felt “objectified” was hurtful to me and an insult to my love for her. CERTAINLY, she was MORE that an object to me, I’d been LIVING with her for 10 years! My lust was a desire to express intimately how I felt and a longing to be close. Of course, I didn’t know she already had another boyfriend…so NOW I know where her comment came from.
When people make negative comments on my images, when a person comments about Perry being a “dirty old man”, when someone writes that we are “degrading” and “objectifying” women… it says more about THEM than it does about us simply by merit of the fact they don’t KNOW us.
Beauty, fetish, and sexual arousal are TRULY in the eye of the beholder. Who is to say what it OK and what is not. Certainly not I! If someone wants to wear latex, get spanked, get tied up, caned, flogged, or whatever… I may not find it desirable, arousing, or even interesting but it is not my place to call them perverts, degenerates, or people who “objectify” others. It is CERTAINLY a display of ignorance to comment about these artists on a personal level.
Look at the art of David Lawrence or
These artists are not drawing anime, taking photos of flowers, or sculpting out of clay. They are shooting the things they love and loving the things they shoot. I admire them for that!
Before we criticize, we should try to understand. Assuming we KNOW why and artist does what he/she does is naive, ignorant, and a HUGE insight into the person making the comment and says little or nothing about the artist.
Before we comment, wouldn’t it be a good idea to know first hand what we are commenting on?
I say go find your fetish… and don’t give me some BS about not having any.
I’m gonna go cheat on my Heineken and have a Stella Artois!”