Friday, 29 September 2017
I wonder how many of you know my friend Oatmeal Girl? I’m using the word ‘know’ reservedly – as far as it is possible to know someone in this, rather desolate at times, cyber landscape. I’ve never met Oatmeal Girl – we only really became aware of each other when we both had stories published in 2010, in Logical Lust’s ‘Best S & M III’.
I know that she follows my blog – silently – very, very occasionally leaving me an astute, thoughtful comment…I know from those comments that I am communicating with a refined intellect…a lover of words, finding the right word…the perfect word following the perfect word.
But most of what I know about Oatmeal Girl comes from her blog – ‘Submission and Metaphor’. From her intriguing poems and poetic prose I learn that she is a submissive woman in a compelling relationship. Oatmeal Girl speaks exquisitely of how she willingly relinquishes control bowing humbly to the man whom she loves and adores, her Master. She refers to him as ‘the Sadist,’ sometimes as ‘the Fiend. The Sadist knows what is best for her – the tasks he sets her are acts born of love, just as Oatmeal Girl’s dedication to the tasks are a demonstration of her love and devotion for him.
Yes, they love -- but let’s not be shy about this daunting, haunting relationship -- Oatmeal Girl tells of butt plugs, caning, chains, collars, floggings, masochism, masturbation, orgasm denial and spankings. These are the things that inform their love for one another. It must be an exhausting relationship at times and not just for the submissive who time after time submits to the ordeal. The Dominant has to plan, organise, take care of his submissive and take care of himself – keep himself physically fit, emotionally fit too.
At this point it seems appropriate to give Oatmeal Girl the opportunity to read what I’m saying about her, so I forwarded my ramblings to her. Here is her response – as you will read – in some ways I am right – in others I fall way off the mark.
“What intrigues me is the impression you have of the relationship from the glimpses I've given into some of my emotional reactions to it. What you (and many others) mainly see at this point - because that's what it seems I've been describing - is the love part of it. Which is only part of the foundation of the relationship. As the fiend reminds me periodically - and as I know deep down inside - the CORE of the relationship, which we must never stray from, is that he really IS my Master. I really do belong to him. Oh, not in some sort of slave registry thing. But in a very real internal sense. He really does see into my soul, he knows me, he freed me, his dominance isn't based on tearing me down but on building me up and teaching me to treasure myself the way he treasures me. We don't just "draw heavily on S&M." The power exchange is the foundation for it all. And it was only after years of training, with catastrophes along the way, that the BDSM side of it was solid enough that it became safe for him to connect with me - at times - as a lover and as a friend.
Which is obviously something I haven't made clear enough on the blog.
It is certainly fine for you to speak about us as you have, based on what you have gleaned from my writing. And, in fact, now it really is a love relationship. Now and then, speaking to him, I'll refer to "all the different ways we are together", referring to my being his mistress, his pet, his submissive, his slave, and his own little girl. But eventually that makes him uneasy, and he'll repeat that if we lost sight of the core, we will lose our way and get into trouble.
And he's right.
BDSM isn't something we just DO.
It is not a game.
This is what we are.
Deep inside, in truth, this is what we are.
But there's nothing you've written that reveals anything that should not be revealed. So that's fine.
Where you call him my "Dominant Master" I would just say he's my Master.
What you say about planning and organizing is absolutely true. He does work things out in a very detailed way before each visit and has a long-range plan as well."
Recently, a fellow tweeter told me that the stories that I write are disgraceful. Apparently, I write of sex without love; I write of pain, degradation and cruelty – She hasn’t actually read any of my stories, she just somehow ‘knows’ what they’re like. If I could be bothered to have a dialogue with her, which I cannot do because she has blocked me on all social media, I would argue that my stories are about people who are very much in love – they just happen to have ‘kinks’ and it is how those kinks inform their relationship -- that is what I find interesting.
And that is why I am intrigued by Oatmeal Girl – despite the S&M, her poems and poetic prose are a dedication of her love for the ‘Sadist’, the man she adores – the man who adores her. She is in an all-consuming love affair with the Sadist – without him, she is nothing – without him she would shrivel and die, like the autumn leaves on my magnolia tree -- exquisitely scarlet when they fall, only to turn muddy brown, found in the spring, as thin and fragile as finest tissue paper in their skeletal remains.
You can visit Oatmeal Girl’s blog “Submission and Metaphor” here.
Follow Oatmeal Girl on Twitter. @oatmeal_girl
Friday, 1 September 2017
I think a lot about pornography. I’ve written about it too; you’ll probably be familiar with my tweets regaling the powers that be that writers and artists have no clear guidelines on what exactly is pornographic. But am I being fair? One girl’s porn is another girl’s erotica. There is stuff that disturbs me profoundly, but may not affect you one teensy weensy little bit.
Let me say right away that I am not talking about “hard core” porn here. I wish that there were not those horrible images of children on the Web. I wish that the sites could be shut down as soon as they pop up. “Snuff” films too. Sites where people can get off on death and torture; that is not what I am talking
A while back I looked at Aubrey Beardsley’s beautiful pornographic art. Beardsley’s lovely pen, ink and brushwork. His images are graceful; elegant. Yet they do convey humiliation; disgrace and depravity. Tiny naked men with massive erections being farted on by huge women. The image of lascivious Salome speaking lovingly to the severed head of John the Baptist hints at necrophilia. And even more tiny men are dwarfed by their own massive erections.
I get the idea that Aubrey Beardsley was not comfortable in Victorian society. That the Victorians were sexually repressed has been well documented. Aubrey Beardsley delights in showing the hypocrisy of the Victorian era; he made people think, then and now, by poking fun at society and its values. And that made me think again. What about social context? Different eras have different values and standards about what is acceptable and not. So does social context justify pornography? Does Aubrey Beardsley’s clever satirization of Victorian sensibilities and values make pornography okay?
How about the Art of Hans Bellmer?
Die Puppe series 1932
Hans Bellmer was born in the city of Kattowitz in 1902. Kattowitz was then part of the German Empire (it is now Katowice, Poland) Until 1926 he’d been working as a draughtsman for his own advertising company. He initiated his doll project to oppose the fascism of the Nazi Party by declaring that he would make no work that would support the new German state. Represented by mutated forms and unconventional poses, his dolls were directed specifically at the cult of the perfect body then prominent in Germany.
He produced the first doll in Berlin in 1933. Long since lost, the assemblage can be described thanks to photographs that Bellmer took at the time of its construction.
The images show Bellmer's assemblage, made of wood, flax fiber, plaster, and glue, under construction in his studio or arrayed on a bare mattress or lacy cloth. Seductive props sometimes accompany the doll—a black veil, eyelet undergarments, an artificial rose. Naked or, in one case, wearing only a cotton undershirt, the armless doll is variously presented as a skeletal automaton, a coy adolescent, or an abject pile of discombobulated parts. In one unusual image, the artist himself poses next to his standing sculpture, his human presence rendered ghostly through double exposure. Here Bellmer's own body seems to dematerialize as his mechanical girl, wigged, with glass eyes, wool beret, sagging hose, and a single shoe, takes on a disturbing reality.
And what of today? There is so much porn available on the Web it is difficult to talk about it constructively. A lot of porn involves children. The police are vigilant, but find it increasingly difficult to keep up with the demand of sick minds.
We have to talk about the terms and conditions of pornography. I think of the children’s Beauty Pageant industry; it is popular in the US and becoming increasingly popular here in the UK. Children, girls as young as three playing at being mini adults, polished and coiffed. As Melissa Henson argues in her recent CNN.com op-ed, subjecting young girls to child pageants contributes to the sexualizing of 3-year-olds. For example, a recent episode of Toddlers and Tiaras contained footage of a mother dressing up her daughter like Julia Roberts’ prostitute character on Pretty Woman for a pageant. Furthermore, on both shows, parents are often applying layers of makeup and spray tanning their daughters for performances and dressing the girls in risqué costumes that are just part of the show.
Elizabeth Day, writing for the Observer on Sunday 11th July 2010 interviewed Amber age seven.
“They parade in miniature ballgowns, wear false eyelashes and can be as young as five… We venture into the world of mini beauty pageants to meet the young princesses and their pushy parents.
“To all intents and purposes, Amber is a confident little girl with an array of enthusiasms and interests. But it is hard not to notice as she talks that her eyelids are powdered with gold eyeshadow. Her hair has been styled with two sparkly hairclips and she is wearing a pale pink dress studded with fabric flowers. Later, she will show me a certificate she was given for taking part in the Mini Miss UK competition earlier this year. Because as well as being a normal seven-year-old, Amber is also an aspiring child beauty queen.
Did she enjoy entering the beauty pageant? Amber thinks for a second and then nods her head. Will she be entering any more? "Yes." She pauses, a touch uncertainly. "If Mummy told me to."”
The work of Jake and Dinos Chapman is about as shocking as you can get. Children, girls, sexualized and grotesque. Are the artists saying something about childhood and children as a commodity?
"The job of a work of art is to raise questions about its terms and conditions," said Jake Chapman in an interview with Time Out London. "That’s what we do. We present the viewer with a puzzle. We put an injunction on speedy consumption, by refusing to offer a straightforward aesthetic experience. And to defend the integrity of the work, we produce a bit of turbulence that makes it more than a simple sip – of art." Dinos told Time Out, "By the time we die we will have done everything – flower arranging, pottery, origami… We have no signature style; the work is recognizable for its attitude, not its form."
The age at which very young girls are sexualised is becoming younger and younger.
Jake and Dinos Chapman investigate society’s taboos. Their fiberglass mannequins are unsettling and unnerving; they are meant to be. The girls in their distorted poses stare out blankly; their gaze challenging the viewer.
The Chapman’s images are unpleasant; to say that they are not nice is a terrible understatement.The very existence of the mannequins addresses the very heart of human experience and moral behaviour. We don’t know what to think and we flounder. We are repelled. But surely these grotesque mannequins are nothing to
do with us, are they? The girls eyes lock onto our horrified gaze.
“Don’t you dare judge us;” they are saying. “You created us.”
Thanks to Francis Potts for introducing me to the work of Hans Bellmer. Francis can be found at his blog.
and at Twitter. @Francispotts