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…?

The 1950s and times past, sublimated, resurfacing as fantasy

1950s-spanking One of the sites I’ve learnt a bit from in the past few weeks is Fetlife, which is something of a Facebook for the kinky community. The total list of kinks one can subscribe to (fess up to?) is amazing. Stuff I’d never thought of. I’m such a classic spanker that 98% of the list just passes me by. (There is much to say about bondage and spanking, and spanking vs bdsm from the spanker point of view, but I’ll leave that for future posts.)

But one of the things that struck me in the kink list – and to which I subscribed – is “1950s lifestyle.” Got to love this well-known coffee ad alongside…

But what is “1950s lifestyle” as a “kink” saying? It’s saying, what was normal in the 1950s is a bona-fide sexual kink now. How can that be? Yes, we know from psychology that “normal” is a social construct that moves around. But I think there is even more to it.

I think nothing fundamental (“archetypal” if you like) in the human psyche can be buried. Sometimes social norms allow a behaviour to be given fuller expression; sometimes they contrict it. When constricted, the practice goes behind closed doors, or behind closed fantasy eyelids. But it doesn’t go away.

In this case, the unburiable archetype is the Head of Household (HoH), as protector, mentor, and final authority – and the safety and structure in this. Yes, the world has moved on, and women’s empowerment and fuller lives and careers as real earners and decision-makers is an excellent thing.

But this is a new turn in a long, long human history. It presses on the archetype that presses back, that must surface somewhere. When we spank or are being spanked, we are letting out, playing out, and reaffirming this very core element of the human psyche. It is so fundamental and presumably (I’m no anthropologist) was functional in creating surviving human groups that, like much of our physical and social response structure inherited from ages past, is deeply written into our psychic makeup.