Invisible Bondage In Advertising

The following visual gem came to my attention via a long pedantic article on images of women in advertising. The author, in expounding on the overuse of images of passive receptive women, identifies (correctly, I think) this image as a bondage posture with invisible bondage:

invisible bondage

Alas, she then terms the image “misogynist iconography”. Come again? Are there really still people in the world so narrow-minded and sexist that they see male hatred in every image that so much as hints at BDSM erotica? What about all the women who enjoy not only bondage, but the expression of their sexual power through the creation of bondage erotica? Apparently, such women (and the men who love them) aren’t allowed to exist in this author’s politically correct world.

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4 comments on “Invisible Bondage In Advertising”:

Hiromi commented on September 21st, 2005 at 9:39 pm:

Or it could be a modified “Camel Pose” (a yoga posture).

You Filthy Man commented on September 23rd, 2005 at 12:45 pm:

Thank you for posting this interesting entry. Aside from the obvious, that these are merely blatantly sexual images made to spur the buying impulse in consumers at a gut level, I was surprised to read the original comments at the site referenced. You would have thought the entire positive women’s sexuality movement had never happened.
I guess there are still people who haven’t read much beyond 70s-80s era Andrea Dworkin books.
But, I’m preaching to the choir here, I know.

JG commented on September 30th, 2005 at 5:47 am:

This comment just appeared on that blog entry. Since I posted it, and since I fully expect the blog owner to delete it forthwith, I’m also posting it here as follows:

I’m having a struggle understanding this article, partially because of its general verbal incoherency, and partially because I don’t identify well with what I perceive to be Sour Duck’s sexual viewpoint and apparent religious extremism.

For most of us, Kate Winslet’s fingers are not phallic symbols – they are merely fingers, no matter where she chooses to stick them. If fingers turn someone on due to their vaguely phallic appearance or their proximity to the mouth, it is not my place to condemn that. Nor would I speak a word against the messy hair fetish (one wonders whether perfect hair would have been deemed doll-like female perfection), or the open mouth fetish and the invisible bondage fetish brought up elsewhere. But most people do not identify with these highly unusual and exotic turn-ons. These are not things I think SD identifies with. The perversion I sense in SD’s writing is the tendency to identify one or more perversions in everyone and everything else she encounters. The piece makes it clear that a variety of highly unusual sexual practices obsess SD to the point of distraction.

Simultaneously, though, I’m puzzled about SD’s strongly condemnatory approach to the subject, reminiscent of authoritarian religions. This is a rhetorical piece, not an informative one. In SD’s world, adverts “insist” on things, when a less or differently biased viewpoint might admit only a possible interpretation. This, combined with the strong condemnation of sexual behaviours and the obsessive identification of that behaviour even where it is not clearly suggested to all, is similar in character to highly conservative Christian sects. Similar paranoid delusions and condemnatory statements issue forth more or less regularly from certain segments of the Evangelical, Fundamentalist, and Roman Catholic branches of Christianity, for example. The tone of the piece is also reminiscent of Muslim fundamentalism in many respects, particularly in its a priori acceptance of the fact of perversion where its presence is, at best, arguable. In this, SD appears eager to be giving aid and comfort to those who are normally strongly against gender freedom. A fellow-traveller?

Speaking from a more personal perspective, I’m disturbed by SD’s unwillingness to allow women to choose their own place and their own roles in society. The anonymous commentator “Crys T” addressed this more explicitly:

The whole point of misogynistic use of these images is that whole question of consent is not even raised, let alone dealt with.

Do we really believe that the women who posed for these photographs were coerced into posing? Do not at least some of them have enough financial independence to have said “no” if they did not approve of the message of the photograph? I’m frankly not much affected by any of these photos in any particular direction – they simply don’t ‘speak’ to me. But I don’t see the moral problem if a flexible model wants to show off (as in the last photo) or if a physically strong model wants to use and show that strength in holding a difficult pose (in the ‘invisible bondage’ photo) – and I don’t mind, even if they want to do this in front of cameras. It may not be my, or your, cup of tea, but restricting women’s freedoms does not seem to be the best way to further any political goal except female subservience and passivity. Sour Duck would, in other words, do well to rise above the condescending and outmoded pop feminism of the 1980’s and contribute something truly productive to our discussion.

Bondage Blog » Blog Archive » More Invisible Bondage commented on October 9th, 2005 at 11:24 am:

[…] Since we were talking about bondage postures sans bondage, here’s a stunning vintage pinup girl kneeling in a slavegirl pose that just cries out for handcuffs. I’m sure the Goreans have a special name for this one. […]

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