Death At The Mall

Posted: November 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

These images could have come from an S and M porn site, being such excellent displays of objectification of submissive women, by a tall, dark handsome dominant man.

But actually they are adverts for suits, which can be viewed at London’s Westfield shopping centre.

An article criticising them called the images ‘almost pornographic’.

Almost? These pictures are more pornographic than most of the pornography I see. More horny, more suggestive, more ritualised, basically more my cup of tea.

And they are also quite chilling. Look at the man in the second image. See how static he is, how like a mannequin, how rigid and unmoving. Look at the women’s bodies, so still, lifeless.

If the models in these images are ‘almost’ anything they are almost dead.

So the metrosexual has killed S and M. He has done for women’s fashion. He has basically murdered sex. And now Patrick is coming for pornography and advertising too in one fell swoop.

My only hope in this nihilistic, abject wasteland that was once our culture, is that the ‘steeze assassin’ is also suicidal. Our only hope is that he might kill himself before he destroys us all.

Comments
  1. Thanks for pointing these out. I hadn’t seen them yet. You’re so right that they’re pornier than porn.

  2. they are so porny they have been taken down from the shopping centre and are now all over the internet instead, which is where porn should be isnt it?

  3. Smilenka says:

    Except that they were virtually unknown until they got a few complaints.Lol. When l lived in the UK l got the impression that the UK still has a Victorian attitude to sex. l live back in Bulgaria now and this ad campaign would not have raised an eyebrow.

    Smilenka

  4. Okay, in the last post you said that rape culture doesn’t exist. Yet here you seem to be showing examples of (part of) rape culture in action. I’m confused!

    ***

    More along the lines of the topic of the OP, though:

    I think the most curious thing about the second picture is the cup of tea from which the woman is apparently taking a delicate sip. Not quite sure how that could be possible if any action at all were taking place between the two characters, and that more than the actual figures is what makes that image look dead. There’s no motion, no interaction (no intercourse, if you will) between the two characters, each is apparently indifferent to the other’s presence as a human being (just as you say, they look like lifeless mannequins). It genuinely has killed off the sex or BDSM in the image.

    ***

    That last thought kind of feeds back into my reaction interpreting these images as “rape culture”, in that they are dehumanising not just women but the entire act of sexual interaction, which in turn I think is part of the way in which cultural messages minimise the importance of clear (enthusiastic) consent.

  5. well I think most porn is ‘dehumanising’ isn’t it? It depends if you think images of people, especially women, which are dehumanising, lead to rape. I don’t. That’s why I don’t believe in rape culture. I don’t think pornography causes violence!

  6. hmm says:

    It’s interesting that some people take a cultural message or a political message as reality itself. While others worry that a message will change reality by influencing its audience.

    Feminazis: rape culture stems from rap music saying “bitches” which leads to women being raped (*everywhere* of course).

    Right wing: feminist accusations of patriarchy and sexual harassment are making men so paranoid they can’t approach babes, let alone get it up.

    So should we fear the effects of porn or the effects of censorship. Either/neither?

    Art does have a visceral effect, proven by how unsatisfying this poster is. For all the reasons snowdrop said, this is a lifeless image : ritual without immediate reality, a symbol of something that is not actually there. If you want pain in your pornography, you won’t find it in this one. If art is so independent of life …. where am I going with this…?
    yeah, how come we seem able to substitute art for life, so often, in spiritual/emotional matters (obviously, you can’t sub food with a movie or a book).

    I mean, I’d love to see these two models (not necessarily with each other) in some hard porn, making their eyes open a little wider.

  7. hmm says:

    oh, maybe we’re all in danger of having sex this way. in front of a mirror, posing violent tableaux, mildly, without even selling the photographs because there will be none taken in our unenterprising prudery as ordinary citizens. we will be the photographs. medium is message. but is message the medium.

  8. hmm says:

    well, I’m just masturbating on your site here (figuratively) ,

    but it strikes me that

    the self aware media critique web always talks about culture as mediated and electrified these days (for some decades a buzzword). But most people aren’t doing any of this stuff. (as if I know).
    And media crtique always has a weird tone, like a right wing bubba who’s outraged at liberalization. It’s just weird to imagine that when hip, challenging people want to discuss the media, the force placed in showing how out there culture has become is the exact same argument that conservatives use.
    I’m not pointing at you but at EVERYONE (I mean it).

    The liberals may “know” about it while conservatives only know “of” it by luck, their paranoid fears just being the correct guess. Yet, most people have jobs, and, I’m sorry, this shit don’t fly in most jobs. I walk the street alone or with friends, and I still feel all the same insecurities, I know all the safe “zones” where I can aim and all the ones I fear to, and I see others are the same.

    It’s difficult to judge at work, because every admission of what you do afterwork is layered within barriers of privacy and self presentation. I don’t tell my colleagues my fantasies and although it’s tempting to believe I’m the only one who is human and lies about it, while they’re all inferior robots, it seems a bit too ego flattering.

  9. feel free to masturbate on my site any time hmm. I find that kind of hot!

  10. I see what you are saying hmm. I dont claim to know what is going on in the media but I do think it is worth looking at media images as they do say something about us and our culture. what that is I am not sure.

    Maybe these models work in pornos on the side? You never can be sure these days.

    I like the top image best the way he looks under her skirt as if he is not really interested in what he will find. i find that sexy.

    • hmm says:

      quote
      “I like the top image best the way he looks under her skirt as if he is not really interested in what he will find.”

      That’s a very ambiguous and challenging point of the male gaze.
      One kind of sexy in straight culture is the woman’s unavailable status, she’s hard-to-get, she’s wanted by all and can’t be had.
      Here that gets turned around and the effect is partly effective but somewhat dispiriting.
      Among homoerotic encounters, I always find the guys far hotter when they look at you with desire rather than when they’re superior. And the stereotypical image of sex in heterosexual images is of the salivating male lusting after and grabbing the pedestal-pure lady.
      There’s something kind of empty about a male who doesn’t seem to desire – it either means there’s no sex going to happen (like an overly repressed office) . Perhaps, seeing him rather than her as the focus, is what allows it to remain a sexual image.
      He clearly is the focus, being placed in the center or slightly off center. So this is either aimed at women shoppers or at rigorously gay men who see past the girl and focus in on him (and apparently want to dress “straight” for their double lives as quasi married conservatives, who must be seen to “own” their wives to pass ). And yet most feminists would only see the woman and speak of her oppression, basically ignoring what a piece of cake he is, offered up. Once again proving that feminazis don’t understand male desire among heteros because they don’t understand gay desire or female hetero desire.

  11. It is ambiguous, hmm. But it is partly ambiguous because different viewers will interpret different images in different ways.

    I find some things sexy due to my perspective and my particular ‘kinks’. Many feminists just hate the representation of heterosexual desire you are right about that!

  12. Jen says:

    I think many feminists hate the representation of desire full stop. Don’t think they enjoy the representation of homosexual desire any more than heterosexual. Some chick with big tits downloading pictures of women with big arses while listening to Mötörhead, swilling beer and swearing like a Derek & Clive album doesn’t really meet with their approval either. The whole deal is so anti-sex, I mean the whole idea of any number of adults enjoying mutual desire and a bit of power play is basically the root of all evil in terms of feminism. And like, I can see why a bunch of women are uncomfortable with all that stuff. I can see why they all bitch at each other rather than at evil men because, as far as they’re concerned, all they know about men is that some men are bigger than others (a reference I know you’ll get, as a Morrissey fan). On the other hand, that isn’t a political position, it’s a personal discomfort. Thinking of one’s personal discomforts as legitimate political positions is some real middle-class consumer-complaints bullshit.

    Although, if you enjoy the mental picture of frail powerless damsels being sat upon, gagged and stifled by tall dark strange men with machiavellian rictusses, you could do worse than read Kat Banyard or anti-Hooters campaign materials (I mean there’s so much passive voice and so many invisible subjects in that shit you can practically feel the weight on your spine and the ball gag in your mouth, I can imagine it being quite hot if you were into that sort of thing).

    Also, Smilenka: absofuckinglutely.

  13. Jen says:

    also it’s always a bit mystifying how the presence of fetish stuff in fashion is a shock to anyone. To be honest, Gok Wan’s getting disabled models in Arcadia group stores creeps me out waaaayyy more than this shit, not so much because I think he might be into a bit of disability porn, but more because he’s disguising his quite overt sadism as social justice.

    Although again, that’s generally what social justice means, in various contexts. It’s all a big swingers’ party.

    For the record, I find those photos too shiny to be a turn-on. Can’t even tell if the clothes are good. In the first one, he looks like he’s trying to decipher a dirty word written on her panties or else he’s dismayed to find she’s wearing Hello Kitty underwear. And in the second one he looks like he’s discovered a civilisation of tiny smurfs in the small of her back, while she’s used to the idea and is having a cup of coffee while waiting for him to stop marvelling over it and start fucking banging her already.

    But hey, that’s fashion.

  14. Very eloquent Jen! But where has your blog gone??

    I find these images horny as I like the clinical aspect. But I am a pervert after all…

  15. Jen says:

    Blog’s been nuked. I need to position myself in order to kick arse without ‘em getting off on it, and WordPress isn’t the place and everyone on Tumblr is like fifteen so I had Daddy Should Have Stayed In High School by Cheap Trick going through my head all the time.

  16. hmm says:

    Jen, you’re the BEST !
    Can I just suggest that in this age of scintillating pixels or electron hits (for those who hang on to the old crts) , all read between coffee breaks, there’s still a place for the live stand up comedian on a stage, and you are it.
    And I’m tired of women performers today talking about baking bread because it absorbs their body odor.

  17. hmm says:

    More sycophancy, but really,
    Trying to read the latest embassy cables, I find myself drifting away again and again (despite how effective they are as food for thought). SO I think this describes me as much as anyone:

    “Thinking of one’s personal discomforts as legitimate political positions is some real middle-class consumer-complaints bullshit.”

    As Patsy Stone might say, “I think she’s tremendous”.

    (at 4:40 if you’re curious as to the accuracy)

  18. you’re right Hmmm, Jen should have her own show, or at least a youtube channel! she cracks me up all the time. Go read her other comments! They are all classic!

  19. […] written before about the trend in visual culture for ‘dead bodies’ as a fashion […]

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