You know when you’re reading a news story and you feel like there’s no hope for the world and everything is awful and fuck it I’m just going to sit on my couch and watch a video of cats playing with a treadmill on a loop for an hour? This seems to happen fairly often for me, including this week.
Recently in Seattle, a pornographer thought it’d be a supersexihot idea to go to a veterans cemetery and hang (yes, hang) women on ropes from cannons and memorial statues. The bondage porn photoshoot has led police to investigate possible trespassing violations [note: link contains blurred versions of some of the photos.]
The outrage this has provoked very clearly is at the “disrespect” of the act. That is, the specific location where the porn was made makes it disrespectful. What – you thought people give a damn about the production of images featuring women bound and hung by rope? C’mon, this isn’t the year 2390, y’all! (2390 is when the radfem revolution will be complete; mark your calendars!) Even so, there is something to that. Not so much the whole “desecrating Our War Heros™” thing as the “female humiliation is everywhere” thing. It’s not awful enough to produce this in private; nope, you’ve gotta go where people’s dead relatives are and do it there.
But wait! He has an explanation for why he had to do it there and it’s totally nuanced and artistic and stuff:
The photographer, in a statement, said his intent was for the photos to make people think.
“The title of this series is Spoils of War,” wrote Patrick Andraste in a statement emailed to KOMO 4 News. “The model is Japanese American, and some of her family was interned in the relocation camps during WWII. Her grandfather was a combat vet during WWII and a long time peace activist. (She) wanted to show that the truth of our country’s history is disturbing.”
I’d say our present day is pretty disturbing too, bro. Like, did you hear about this guy who strung up a woman in cemetery and took phot– oh, right. Also, one can do a lot to simply “make people think”… dude could throw his literal shit on the ground, photograph it, and say that he wanted to perform a visual critique of Bergsonian intuitionism. By all means, do that (and I’m sure you could even get an MFA out of it too). But of course women’s bodies have to be used as tools to communicate his ‘message’. But I’m sure I’m just missing his self-aware irony that replicating forces of oppression represents. It’s meta! Or something! It’s just definitely not problematic or rapey. Nope.
On the photographer’s website, there’s another photo set from last month depicting a woman in latex garb out on the sidewalks of downtown Seattle. The caption mentions that they were playing “terrorize the tourists”. In this particular set, passersby are not cropped out of the photos. Rather, they are fully visible, reacting to what this man has thrown into their lives. Oh, you just needed to go to the bank? FETISH IN UR FACE. For all the talk of consent and boundaries within the ‘community’, part of the thrill in this is that there are non-consenting people involved in what he’s doing. It is the erasing of boundaries that makes it appealing in the first place, knowing that you are violating someone.
And now, cats and treadmills. Because the world is hateful and you deserve better.