Thursday, April 13, 2006

Never Enough Erotic Cannibalism Department

Lady Divina
Originally uploaded by mephistosdreams.

A major characteristic of (post-(post-))modern art is in its use of transgressive imagery. But as art became "pop", transgressions become mainstream, and so the transgressive artist must come up with new ground for transgression.

So hey, why not combine two transgressions in one piece?

So... we have a beautiful and sexy woman that most would envy, or desire, or both. And she's dressed in glistening black latex, but leaving both face and breasts somewhat exposed and in clear view. Even if you dislike latex, you must admit it's erotic in an animalistic way.

The glistening is due to blood, which has been smeared all over her face, breasts, and hair. And she's eating a heart.

Now, I'm not claiming the picutre is high art at all. It's tempting to state, "Yes, yes, eating the heart symbolizes the loss of love, I get it, let's move on." And it's easy to dismiss this photo by dismissing the transgressions: "Fetish wear? Cannibals? Those fads are SO last year. We're into flip-flops and senseless wars now!"

But hold that thought for a moment. Take a moment to really look at this photo. The execution is marvelous--beautifully composed, properly lit, and remarkably simple. Her expression is both crazed and lusty, forcing you to wrestle between disgust and desire.

Now, of course, there's the whole matter of eating. Carol Adams has made a career criticizing the use of meat as sexual metaphor, and I'm sure she'd consider this picture to be vindication of her theories. Whether or not she is right, cannibalism metaphors have been used to describe oral sex for almost as long as oral sex has existed. Throw in the mass quantities of blood--a fluid that mainly differs from semen in the types of cells in it--and it would almost seem like bukkake. (Not work-safe; no nudity.)


Ahem. Sorry, I realize we live in a culture with a weird fascination with death. I also know that cultures all around the world have had their fascination with death. But no matter what, unless you have a fetish for cannibalism too--and I won't rule that out--chances are you're still wrestling between desire and disgust, and all attempts to analyze fail to take away the desire or the disgust. In that it succeeds so well in inspiring that conflict internally, it's successful as art, despite its subjects.


belledame222 said...

Interesting. Yeah, I'd been meaning to write about the connection between eating and sex for a while now.

but briefly: glad you brought up Carol Adams. One thing I'd found ironic about I Blame the Patriarchy was how in some ways it/Twisty takes the radfem POV that all porn is patriarchal and therefore should not exist in a perfect world, BDSM is patriarchal, this kind of sex means this, that kind of sex means that. Badsex=objectification=women are *consumed.* And women can be the perpetrators, too, if they say like spanking their girlfriends: they are then "getting off on patriarchy."

But dinner is a perfectly fine and neutral subject, including meat.

ah well.

belledame222 said...

...whereas Hugo Schwyzer has a link to PETA and has talked frequently about his own issues around eating. I'm farther from his positions in general than I am from Twisty's, I suspect; but in some ways I find him more consistent.

Popess Lilith said...

Hey belledame222, and welcome! One point I didn't point out but wanted to mention was that, if I recall correctly, "vampire" was fin-de-siecle French slang for "lesbian," presumably because of a tenuous connection between cunnilingus and menstruation. That'd make the heart itself more like a juice box than entree--if you'll pardon my metaphor. I don't think this extra knowledge removes eating from the equation, however. Drinking does have its niche in sexual acts but not so much in its metaphors. Incidentally, however, it would emphasize the presence of death, which has its own connection to sex.

I'm honestly not sure if I accept Carol Adams' theories. It almost seems more like a comparison between meat-eating and the use of sex and sexuality against women. From a vegan's point of view, it may resonate well, but as an omnivore I don't think in terms of morality in regards to whether or not an animal died for my food. Instead, I approach the subject of meat from one of utility, fully realizing the consequences and adjusting my diet as much as I can while still getting the nutrition I honestly doubt I could get from rice and beans.

But I'm not much of a dietician. Of course.

belledame222 said...

Well, if I understand it correctly, it ties into the whole notion of "objectification," you know. If you hate the idea of women being treated as pieces of meat, you might eventually extend it to hating the idea of animals being (more literally) treated as pieces of meat.

Which, in itself, sure, I get it. I don't follow it myself, but in a way, I actually could buy into veganism more than the purist anti-porn proposition. After all, it's a lot clearer that animals don't "consent" to being killed and eaten.

My suspicion is, though, that a lot of the radfem hardcore people don't actually give the notion of "consent" much truck in the first place, and that this all has to do more with some gut-level horror of the notion of the animalistic nature of themselves. Purify, purify. Ironically, this impulse to me strikes me as far more directly derived from "the patriarchy," or at any rate *our* patriarchal tradition(s), than say a lifestyle including consensual BDSM. The only difference is that instead of placing the "bad" lusty, aggressive drives in the Devil, they're placed in the patriarchy, which seems to mean "biological men," much as Dworkin and descendants swear up and down that they believe it's nurture, not nature, that makes so many men act as they do. Either way: if a woman starts acting in lusty cruel aggressive ways herself, she's clearly "unnatural" in some way; and this notion is different from Victorian notions of Womanhood how?