The life of the mind is sexy, even if it’s inadvertent

So, I was scrolling through some pictures and couldn’t help from pausing over this one:

A nice girl, with a lovely bottom. Just another photo, right?

What got my juices flowing is the depth of communication created by the poster in the background. The poster itself can be seen in more detail here, but briefly it is the famous 1911 US socialist “Pyramid of Capitalist System,” showing how capitalism “really works”. (Whatever your politics, its incontrovertible that a handful benefit wildly while most grind through life worrying about their mortgage and health care, and maybe that’s not the best way to organise the world?)

Anyway, the point is the poster in the background changes everything in the foreground. Suddenly it is no longer just another girl showing her bum, but a really quite complex musing on exploitation and choice. Because of course, nudity is political. Who keeps their clothes on, who takes them off, who is the viewer and who the viewed, is all about power.

Women’s organisations have, with mixed success, drawn parallels between exploitation of workers and of women — mixed because, submission and proto-exploitation is a very common erotic choice. Desire is mostly politically incorrect and all that. Also (let’s avoid naivete) the undressed women is not powerless. She has quite significant control over the owner of testosterone and can shape him to her will.

With all that in mind, suddenly there is a lot going on in this picture for me. A statement on many levels. And as one who finds thinking women sexy, I find myself fantasizing what else this woman has to say? Yes, I drool over her cheeks, but an interesting head makes them twice as nice.

It’s likely this is all my construction — the poster probably just what was there in the background when some leering photographer snapped pictures of just another model. But, there is the worker’s cap to make the link, so maybe I’m right…?

32 Responses to The life of the mind is sexy, even if it’s inadvertent

  1. aisha48 says:

    What an interesting post. I didn’t even notice the poster, but you’re right, it changes the context. Well, maybe. Also always nice to hear from a man who likes intelligent women. Thanks goodness, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered there are a few more of youall around!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


  2. Susan says:

    The photo is art and is open to the interpretation of the viewer. Interesting thoughts on it. Glad to see you posting again.

  3. Lilith Pane says:

    I’m new to your blog so perhaps this is typical of your kind of insight, but I was blown away by your musings as inspired by this photograph. I’ll be looking forward to your next post as I troll your archives.


    Love, licks and lashes,

  4. oatmeal girl says:

    I noticed the poster immediately. Well, OK, it was a second or two after appreciating the body in the foreground. Thank you so much for doing the research so we could better see the painting, which is interesting in its own right – especially after the dismal results of the recent US elections.

    One thing I noticed about the photo is that while the model is presenting the viewer (and photographer) with her lovely ass, her shirt is raised in front, towards the poster that at all but the bottom level represents the oppressors. The choice of cap is surely deliberate; everything is carefully arranged and even the shirt evokes a working man’s undershirt. I sense a mixed message, and her attitude seems to suggest both submission and defiance, of baring her breasts to her owners while knowing that their power over her is limited by her power over their lust.

    Very nice find.


  5. Em says:


    I tried to find a contact link, but was unsuccessful. So, sorry for posting this in the comments, but my blog has moved. Would you please update your link for Emma Enchanted to


    P.S. I found your blog, through your link to me and have been having a wonderful time reading back through the archives!

  6. paoloindublin says:

    “…..the undressed women is not powerless”….I must agree with you on this point.

    The naked woman is a very powerful image indeed.

    The need to ‘tame’ them now and again can be intense at times.

  7. pateinduced says:

    I think the photographer had time to develop a mood, a theme, complex as you suggest. The site “” uses everyday models in front of the camera of a single photographer. The other images are not as “deep” as this for props and characterization.

    There are the hard chair, simple table–both in other shoots–but an antique radio, simple glass of (wine?) and the poster are added to this scene. The model wears a simple undershirt, a workman’s cap, simple hair style and; really, a simple pose.

    It is all quite subtle. And, as far as I see it, the photographer is orchestrating everything. The photographer is male.

  8. Eugenie Osmun says:

    The mood is political, besides being sexy. Perhaps the fall of capitalism.
    The model would appeal to a kind of bi-sexuality – boyish on top (cap, shirt and profile) to a very feminine and round bottom.

  9. Christina says:

    My question would be the tall young woman having her picture taken in her living quarters, or is the picture on the wall of the Photographer’s house?

    I found your blog purely by accident; visiting I think David’s [A view from the top] blog!

    I shall also read your previous posts when I have some time!!

  10. Sean says:

    The ‘boyish’ hat she wears is one often chosen by Lenin.

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