Nothing unusual here in this photograph by Helmut Newton:
But when placed in relation to the offense it may cause to some sensibilities, then it gives us somthing to think about. Sexual identity is touchy.
Consider this argument by Laura Kipnis
"Preserving an enclave for fantasy is an important political project for the following reason: pornography provides a forum to engage with a realm of contents and materials exiled from public view and from the dominant culture, and this may indeed encompass unacceptable, improper, transgressive contents, including, at times, violence, misogyny, and racism. But at the same time, within this realm of transgression, there's the freedom to indulge in a range of longings and desires without regard to the appropriateness and propriety of those desires, and without regard to social limits on resources, object-choices, perversity, or on the anarchy of the imagination."
The way we understand our sexuality still is a realm of transgression because it foregrounds our culture's system of taboos and myths that enables us to deal with our anxieties and contradictions. Transgressing a culture's borders of what is allowable or premissable in terms of taboos and myths is a political engagement.
As Laura Kipnis says:
"Pornography may indeed be the sexuality of a consumer society. It may have a certain emptiness, a lack of interior, a disconnectedness -- as does so much of our popular culture. And our high culture. (As does much of what passes for political discourse these days, too.) But that doesn't mean that pornography isn't thoroughly astute about its audience and who we are underneath the social veneer, astute about the costs of cultural conformity, and the discontent at the core of routinized and civilized lives. Its audience is drawn to it because it provides opportunities -- perhaps in coded, sexualized forms, but opportunities nonetheless -- for a range of affects, pleasures, and desires: for the experience of transgression, utopian aspirations, sadness, optimism, loss, and even the most primary longings for love and plenitude."
Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at October 30, 2003 10:24 PM | TrackBack