Tuesday, July 12, 2016

More Nudie Pics Coming. Lesson Not Learned.

Wendy Rose, as Object
I pretty much hate any advice anyone gives me, particularly unsolicited advice. Especially non-praise unsolicited advice.*

That is why I was highly displeased to receive this message from someone named Amy: "Yet another example of drawing in readers with a picture of an objectified woman for an article on sex."

Wow, I could almost hear her judgmental sigh. "Yet another....  SIGH."

After ruminating of a variety of bitchy replies, I finally settled on something more conciliatory:  "Well, I am a woman and I chose it because it spoke to me. Or maybe that's what The Man wants me to think... Anyway thanks for your opinion, Amy."

If you hear any implied snippiness in that last sentence, well, that's because it was there. 

The picture in question was this:

It accompanied a post on a sexless marriage ("Having No Intimacy for 23 Years is Killing Me"). I chose the photo because I liked the visual idea of someone having to store their sexuality away in a box. Also I totally wanted to oppress women.  

Anyway, to her credit, Amy ignored my snippy tone and sent along this note and photo: "I thought you might be interested in this image I created to illustrate the phenomenon I was describing. Food for thought... :)"

(For the record, if you start at the upper left hand corner of the pictures of the women and go clockwise, I've used photos 1 and 3 on this blog.)

I get what she's saying and respect her for questioning what we do and fighting the power and all that, but for me, it wasn't as simple as objectifying women to draw in readers. At least I don't think so. I'm certainly willing to have that conversation. Let me explain and you can decide if I've got Stockholm Syndrome and don't realize it. (Please frame all comments in the form of praise, see above.)

My first point would be that--at least according to sexuality studies--women actually don't respond sexuality to photos of half-clothed hunks. They may say they do, but the goings-on in their vaginas tell a different story. What makes women wet are photos of said men only with a visible hard-on, plus pretty much any other hard-coreish visuals including men giving men blow jobs, women with women, people jerking off, straight-on hetero fucking, even monkeys mating. In other words, everything but the shirtless dude photos. So there's that. 

When I pick a photo a naked woman for this blog it's because I think it is beautiful or evocative or sexy. Generally I am seeing a part of myself in the woman in her pose of rapture or submission or power or bad-assery. I am not thinking "Leer at this lady" but more "Behold this sexuality!" Which, in my mind, is different. It's about owning or claiming or just simply witnessing the desire or adondon or pain or transcendence of that particular sexual moment.

My Muse in this matter was (and is) Wendy Rose, she of Church of the Victorian Cult. Wendy was (and is) the sexiest woman I have ever met in my life. She is gorgeous, for one, like a edgier Ann Margaret, with crazy tousled red hair, insane lips, legs, boobs, all of it. But what is really sexy about her is her crazy-ass brain. She is whip-smart and funny, but operates at a poetic vibrational frequency slightly too wild for Earthbound reality.

Wendy Rose
Here's an excerpt from her Facebook post the other day:  "It's not a rocket science or a mermaids nest or a falling light from the sky or a sphere up there...It's my birth right. A dash of fiction and a dose of truth. It's all living somewhere deep and deeper down inside of you." See? I don't know what the fuck it means, but I love it.

Wendy has impeccable taste in music and fashion and art. When she lived in the apartment above me in LA, her apartment was filled with candles, exotic scents, and possibly one too many cats. But what struck me is that she had surrounded herself with beauty, particularly art depicting the female form.  

To me, it certainly didn't seem like the art was there to do the apartment equivalent of drawing in readers. It was more a celebration of women and sex and beauty. By surrounding herself with these images, Wendy Rose was claiming their power for herself and enhancing and enriching her own sexiness with their silent aura. 

On her Church of the Victorian Cult Facebook page, Wendy Rose is still creating her world of beauty and poetry, madness and inspiration with midnight scribblings and images like this:

I fucking love this! And, it's probably not wise or flattering to admit this--but I can completely identify with the chick (there I go again--oppressive language!) in this photo. I have existed in that psychic/emotional space. I see this and feel it and claim it. This is a Truth and I celebrate it. Huzzah, motherfuckers! 

So yeah, more naked chicks coming. Lesson not learned.


* I recently took the Martin Seligman "signature strengths" test and my lowest strength--aka "weakness"--was humility. Which, in my opinion, is clearly the best weakness to have. If you want, go over to Seligman's Authentic Happiness/Positive Psychology site and take the test. Long, but interesting and revealing.

Addendum 8/28:  Please see Amy Luna Maderino's response in the comments section.

Addendum 7/13/16:  Rerun for Miss Wendy Rose who is doing some cancer ass-kicking. I'm mad for the woman.  

(Male female image comparison chart by Amy Luna Maderino)


Fitzlurker said...

This may sound odd, but I've been reading your blog for a while now and I, a healthy hetero male who enjoys viewing indecent images as much as the next guy, have never once seen an image on your site and thought, "Wowza! Hubba hubba! Shawing!" etc, etc, ad nauseum. I have viewed them as artful, meaningful additions to the posts. (With the exceptions of those images of toys you are giving away or mocking, like the vagibutt thing from a few months ago.) But, I have never seen them as something to get sexually excited over. They are no doubt pleasing, but it's not why I read your blog. Just wanted to put my two cents in. Keep doing what you do Jill!

Jean @ LadyJWanderlust said...

I have no advice, but your beautiful pictures is what originally drew me to your blog. I thought they were erotic, yet beautiful and tasteful. Many of them have an "old-timey" feel that I loved. I appreciate that kind of art and I don't really care what bitchy women like "Amy" have to say.

I stayed for the articles, just so you know. Keep being you. Your blog, your house, your rules.

Jill Hamilton said...

Futz my new goal is to make you go Wowza. Or hubba-hubba at the very least.

Jill Hamilton said...

Lady J-- was not meaning to malign
Amy. While I don't dig the correcting I do welcome the chance to talk about this stuff.

Thanks for you lovely words. You KNOW I love that #%&@!!

Jim said...

I'm an actual nudie photographer. I stay clothed, the women don't.

I don't work for any of the skin mags, and I don't have my own porn site. I don’t think of myself as a pornographer. When I'm lucky, my photos hang in public. That’s who I want to be when I grow up – a fine art photographer. Maybe I’ll get to do an occasional fashion pictorial. That would be cool.

By virtue of the fact that I am a man photographing women, and the photos are sexy, I have been accused of committing violence against women. My photographs have called an act of violence against women. Why? Because the women are sexy and naked. Those are both no-nos.

I often feel like I would take less shit about what I do if I were a woman. It's surprising to me when women give women the same stupid shit (that I get) about this issue. Then again, there's a litany of stuff that women give each other shit about that I'll never understand.

In one instance, when a woman was berating and telling me I was committing violence against women, I pointed out that one of the photos had hung in a gay pride show. Based on that information, she decided that the one photo had suddenly become ok.

That little confrontation nicely summarizes the problem. How can the exact same nude be ok in a gay pride show, but be depicting violence against women in another show? Same photo, same gallery, different shows, but somehow the content of the photo became different? Makes no sense.

The answer is that the issue was never my photo, or its content, or me for that matter. My critic changed the unique personal context in which she viewed my photo. She decided my photo was about violence against women and then she decided it was ok. The photo never changed. The values she projected on the photo changed – and that’s not about me, that’s about her. That’s the whole “art as a mirror” thing.

Beyond that one anecdote, here's the "feminist" logic about this issue (as far as I can tell):

1). A sexy photo of a woman sexualizes all women.

2). Sexualizing a woman against her will is rape.

3). Because all sexy photos of women sexualize all women, and because some women don't want to feel sexualized, all sexy photos of women are sexualizing at least some women against their will. Ergo ... all sexy photos of women are an act of rape.

My response to that logic: I'm not sexualizing you against your will. Your reaction is personal and has nothing to do with my work or whatever triggered your response.

The photo I mentioned earlier is a woman who is full frontal nude, wearing army gear, and holding a US flag upside down. I thought I was making a sorta 60s influenced anti-war statement. I had no idea that I was committing rape. Also, for reference, when a similar photo hung in Orange County, CA … people weren’t pissed about the nudity. They were pissed about the depiction of the flag. Context is everything.

For me personally, I don't see much difference between photographing women and flowers. That's no bs. I'm sometimes blown away by the fragile beauty and the amazing natural colors I see in flowers. I don’t get a hardon looking at flowers, but they sometimes take out of my zone and into ecstasy. My mind goes blank. Flowers are sensual.

And yup, I like women. I don't have the same feelings about guys. When I look at nudes of women, which I do a lot, I'm sometimes blown away. I’m taken out of the space I’m in and into a feeling of ecstasy. It’s that same fragile beauty. I get lost in it. I love that feeling.

Bottom line ... are there abusive people who think that they can do whatever they want and that other people don’t have the right to say no? Yes. Does that abuse include rape? Yes. But sexuality isn’t the only arena where abusers exist. We live in a culture where people are taught (especially in religion) that abuse is normal, tolerable and acceptable.

The solution abuse isn’t more repression. It's more education and better mental health care.

blue said...

i wrote a half-page snippy comment on an article (about how lame DYI is) the other day, before realizing the only thing i wanted to say was "if you don't like what i'm producing, quit bitching and produce something you like." the best criticism is creative. so instead of telling you which pictures to use on your blog, maybe this lady could make a blog about female sexuality using pictures of hunks. it beats picking fights with ladies about who's the better feminist.

Chaffyn said...

I *love* you, Jill !!!

I'm an old coot and my generation made great strides in liberating the "weaker" sex. At this point in my life I am tired of political correctness. That's why I didn't move to Portland, nice as it is.

So call me a knuckle dragging throwback. I'm a socialist, too. If you don't believe in socialism, don't turn on your tap water.

Jill, I know you've been lying awake at night fretting over Amy's criticism. You listen to me, girl: It's okay. You may relax now.

Who's your daddy?

Anonymous said...

I am pretty hard core feminist who gets pissed when women's bodies/sex are used to sell products and in my opinion that is not what is going on here. I think you chose the photos that celebrate, not denigrate, women's sexuality. If you ever cross the line, I'll send you a holier-than-thou email to let you know.

Unknown said...

Whoa wait a second, though, let's not conflate "things a woman's vagina does in a laboratory" with "the final word on what turns women on." Sometimes women are turned on by things and don't exhibit a vaginal response. It's called non-concordance and it's a thing.

It's an important thing to keep in mind, because valuing a woman's physical response over what she actually says she's enjoying sexually paves the way for shit like "well she was wet, so she must have wanted it." Nobody's vagina has a better idea of what they want than their brain does.

But on the topic of arty naked ladies, I've never found the photos you choose to be particularly exploitative.

in bed with married women said...

Jim, thanks for your insider's knowledge and thoughtful comments!

blue, are we allowed to say "ladies"? so confusing...

Chaffyn, oh, big daddy, you made my day with this sentence: "If you don't believe in socialism, don't turn on your tap water."

betty, your opinion in particular, means tons to me on these sorts of matters. so thanks. xoxoxo

and Unknown, you just blew my stinkin' mind! now I am ruminating on the idea of brain vs. body re: sexual arousal and decision-making. I *think* I have ascribed a greater wisdom to body in the past--like "this guy seems unsuitable and not even horribly attractive, but my body sure as hell wants him. Clearly it has access to Greater Wisdom." BUT is it greater wisdom or just a random misfire and, if it's the first case, should it take precedence over rational thought?

It seems like men are well acquainted with the idea of thinking with their "other brain" and have figured out how to deal with it, but maybe women not so much. Anyone want to weigh in on this?

Amy Luna Manderino said...

I am the 'bitchy" Amy your readers are referring to. :) Thanks so much for taking the time to consider my opinions on this subject, but I have to disagree that you represented my views accurately.

First, my original comment, taken out of context, might seem "unsolicited" but I had already posted my original point on the Facebook page you posted on (creating a discussion), so when you posted your article, I said "Yet again..." because you were entering a previous discussion. :)

Second, I could tell from the headline of this blog that my point was entirely misinterpreted. You are defending something I never attacked. Let me be clear--I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH USING PICTURES OF WOMEN TO ILLUSTRATE ARTICLES ABOUT SEX. I have a problem with ONLY using pictures of women to illustrate articles about sex. You, therefore, really misrepresented my position.

It is your belief that women don't want to see pictures of hot guys and you referenced the Meredith Chivers' research to support your position, saying "so there's that." I don't think "that's that" at all. The research you cite is problematic for several reasons. The description of the man with the flaccid penis in the research you describe is that he had a "massive chest." A weight lifter's "massive chest" is actually unhealthy and it would be natural for women NOT to be attracted to an abnormal male body, conditioned my modern steroids to look out of the norm. Also, all of the other images were of something being done TO a woman BY a man. There was no image of a WOMAN fucking a MAN (meaning on top and grinding, which is how women most likely achieve orgasm). Women may be looking at the women in this research because we, as humans, male and female, have our eyes drawn to the person who is having something done TO THEM. Because the recipient of pleasure is seen as more sensual. Anyway, that's just TWO reasons why basing our belief that women don't find men's bodies erotic on ONE flawed study isn't a very strong position.

How about I offer some counter evidence? How about all the millions of screaming young women who go absolutely crazy over a shirtless Taylor Lautner or Ryan Gosling? Then tell me women aren't interested in looking at men's bodies...

I was hoping you and I would be able to...uh...go deeper on this subtle and complex issue. But, in mis-hearing my original argument and making me look anti-sex, you just succeeded in creating more polarization and less understanding, looking at the comments here.

And what was NOT addressed by your blog or your commenters was that I was SPEAKING UP FOR MEN. Men have a very controlled sexuality where they are not permitted to be sensual in public, and therefore not in the bedroom either. They must be active, not receptive, they are taught. As women, we can help liberate men sexually by publicly showing that we do appreciate men's sensuality by honoring their eroticism.

I want to add that I go into this in great detail in the free webinar on my website “Creating Yourgasm” that I give to universities and military installations (which I suggested you look at before you wrote your blog), so I did provide you with the research materials to represent me fully before you wrote on this topic.

Although I am discouraged at how you choose to address this very important discussion, I want to say again that I believe you were trying to be fair and create a productive dialog...but in missing my point entirely, we still have yet to have THAT discussion.


Amy Luna Manderino

in bed with married women said...

Amy--yes, obv. I did misunderstand you. I didn't go to your web site (people sent me their work/sites all the time and I can't/don't/won't look at it all) and based my response only on the words you sent me. Which I repeated here, verbatim. As far as previous discussions, the only thing I can find in my records of comments you've given me is one in which you wrote: "Please try to use polyandrous' instead of 'slutty.' Thank you"

I think we're probably generally on the same page on these sorts of issues but for some reason have completely different communication styles that rankles the other one.

Also I think Taylor Lautner is icky and I will be annoyed if my vagina responds favorably toward him if I'm ever a Chivers subject.

Anyway, I'll put an note above in the text of the blog directing people to your comment to see your take on it.

Then maybe we can stay away from each other for awhile. Yes?

Amy Luna Manderino said...

Verbatim, I said...

"Yet another example of drawing in readers with a picture of an objectified woman for an article on sex."

You heard me as saying I have a problem with OBJECTIFYING women. I have a problem with objectifying WOMEN. If you had read the previous discussion, you would have caught the subtle difference. As I said, you entered a previous discussion on that page, so missed the context of my comment.

Of course you do not have time to read everything everyone sends you. But you chose to take one sentence you read on the internet out of context and create a monster from it, when you had the resources offered to you to create a balanced discussion on an important topic.

Again, I am sorry that the lack of prosody on the internet has created more discord and confusion, as I agree with you that we're probably generally on the same page. :)

Amy Luna Manderino said...

In fairness, I think your readers should also know what I wrote to you BEFORE you wrote this blog, verbatim...

"The "cavemath" model of sexuality of predator (strong male) and prey (sensual female) makes for unsatisfying sex for men and women. We don't know what we don't know. We will evolve from the "battle of the sexes" to the "alliance of the HUMANS" when we give men their humanity by allowing them to be sensual and the first step is appreciating their visual sensuality, as well. It may disturb some men and women at first who are wedded to the idea that men must always be strong, but I think we can get past that...and we need to! "

Jill Hamilton said...

Not sure where or when you might have written that to me but here you go.

Dani said...

While I agree that Jill and Amy might be on the same general page, the tone in each of their responses couldn't be more different. I'll take funny and smart over strident/superior/angry and smart any day.

Amy Luna Manderino said...

"I'll take funny and smart over strident/superior/angry and smart any day."

Funny libel is still libel. :)

Again, I've found on the internet, we tend to hear the tone we "expect" and not necessarily the tone intended.

Since Jill has already painted me as "bitch," Dani, it's possible you are bringing a bias to how you are hearing my comments, which are simply meant to clear my name and views, which were utterly misrepresented, even though I had communicated them to Jill.

Sorry if I wasn't "funny" enough in doing that!

I've also noticed on the internet that, if you can't find fault with the person's argument, the next step is to criticize the person.

I address these fallacies that are "dumbing down" our public discussions of important topics (such as attacking the person or their delivery and not their argument) in my talk "Smarting Up: How to Spot Bullies and Bullshit" that I also give to universities.

Amy Luna Manderino said...


"Not sure where or when you might have written that to me but here you go. "

The comment where I explain my views about men's sensuality being the issue at hand is the exact comment you replied to this morning when you told me about this blog...so I'm puzzled as to why you can't find it, since

you just "replied" to it this morning.

I can send you a screen shot, if you still can't find it.


I'm starting to feel like Alice in Wonderland, lol.

Jill Hamilton said...

thank you for your kind offer to send me a screen shot but I went over to that comment and there was this whole "read more" link to push which I hadn't pushed. so there it is, alice. you're right. let's keep apart now, shall we?

Kellie @ Delightfully Ludicrous said...

Strange, I wouldn't have considered that picture to be objectifying women. I thought it was quite beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Whatever, Amy. In the end, a stupid comment. The photos on this site are consistently outstanding.

Chaffyn said...

Ms. Manderino ~

Thank you for your thorough contribution to this discussion. I do not misunderstand you.
I feel you may misunderstand the purposes, themes, and especially the tone of Jill's blog. In case you missed it, Ms. Hamilton is a humorist.

You may have missed it if you failed to look at any page on Jill's web site, so here ya go:

"In Bed With Married Women is a place to talk about sex
in all its funny, weird, boring, smokin' hot glory."

In my book humorists are allowed great latitude, altitude, and most often strange attitude.

It's obvious you hold passionate opinions and you absolutely have every right to express them. I encourage you to do so. Open debate is a healthy, muscular thing too often missing in our society. Your debating skills are strong and sharp. You express yourself well.

Taking a wild guess, I'd venture you're an academic. A couple of hundred years ago, as a young fellow, I thought seriously about making a life for myself in the University. As I familiarized myself with that milieu I soon realized it was not the life for me.

Because of that early exploration and because I continue to maintain many friendships within that community and because I sometimes am intimately involved with this or that university department and the internal politics thereof, I understand that even tenured professors cannot afford to express their ideas with more than a light sprinkling of humor. They are also required to defend their positions, theses, and opinions adamantly until the cows come home. As I said, I guess you are an academic.

Jill's readers are probably not academics. If some are, indeed, they are not here to propose the strictest argument possible, to put finishing touches on a theoretical apology, or to whittle a stick down to a perfect, finite point. We are here to have fun and talk about weird shit. Get it, Amy?

To whittle this stick down to a fine, sharp point, I'll bring this homily to a crashing conclusion:
The very last thing we do here (in fact we just don't do it at all) is saddle our politically correct horse, Old Naggy, and ride. There is but a singular, tinkler Rule here at IBWMW.

We are testily testicular and barbarian ovarian when it comes to this one rule. In fact it is known to the regulars here as The RULE, so please pay attention. We're going to share it with you, Amy. Bless your sweet little heart! I'm pretty sure you'll actually love it!

Please peek here: IBWMW University

whoresandhookers said...

Jim, nude photography is God's gift to pervs* like us. It makes going back to college tolerable for me to take nudie pics of hottie female coeds and turn them in for homework assignments, usually get an 'A' -- with teacher/student eyes buggin out during portfolio show-and-tell (girls especially love them, even married MILFs!).

IBWMW: If men used their little heads more to make the women's little heads happy, a whole lotta problems would get solved. Too many girls tell me they fail to orgasm during sex, even when they have many partners, yet have 6 orgasms with me (or continuous). Guys, it ain't that hard to do! Just reduce the amount of weird "sex" and focus on the basics. Study it and raise your level of competence, like a successful profession or a serious hobby. Working girls tell me they just want a guy to focus 100% on them for change, to win their hearts and minds (and prossibly their vaginas) -- good advice for everyone. As for nudie pics on blogs, it's easy to do porn selfies, but they rarely look as artistic as hijacked pro/semipro shots, though they can look extremely hot -- probably too hot for friends and family. Which is why I keep my selfie porn to myself and my significant-yet-UTR others, and only post "artistic" nudes (smirk).

"I Am A Pervert* Like The Rest In Fashion."
-Terry Richardson

*heterosexual male

Akai said...

Loath though I am to add to the pig-pile of commenters, Ms. Manderino, I am bothered by your conflation of "health" and attractiveness in the line "A weight lifter's "massive chest" is actually unhealthy and it would be natural for women NOT to be attracted to an abnormal male body, conditioned my modern steroids to look out of the norm." I would also like to see some evidence for your claim that most women achieve orgasm by "riding" a man.

dusky said...

Wow. Firstly, I COMPLETELY agree with your hatred of advice, or anything that feels like it however it was intentioned. So if Amy was taken out of context, I think this is the simple explanation for why that would be - advice sucks!

But to me, the point is, Amy did accuse you of objectifying women (whichever word her emphasis is on) for the sake of drawing in readers, and in that she is wrong. It is interesting and very worthwhile discussing all the intracies of why we react to certain images in certain ways and how the patriarchy has moulded us in that. But your intention has to me always been to illustrate your ideas with beautiful, sensual images that capture the mood you are describing. And for your readers, your intention has been successfully achieved.

As a thoughtful feminist who thinks deeply about all the implications of everything, of course you would be offended by a suggestion that you are just titilating people for the sake of it. If Amy can't understand that premise then of course no further productive conversation can be had.

Fitzlurker said...

Wow. Throwback to a bit of controversy... still think you and your photos rock!

Fitzlurker said...

Wow. Throwback to a bit of controversy... still think you and your photos rock!

Jill Hamilton said...

Fitz--you shamed/encouraged me into finally writing a new damn post. It just went up. Good work!

Anonymous said...

Jill, love your work. Love the photos.

In this case, you did miss the point and then insisted on defending your right to continued willful ignorance rather mulishly (where a brief thoughtful answer beyond "and that's that" would've served better).
Check out Reddit for a bunch of subreddits where women lasciviously comment on selfies posted by men - it's pretty clear that, erect penis or no, droolworthy dude shots make beeyotches drool all horny like.

If the next time you care to illustrate your post with a beautiful _male_ nude, I (half-lezzie milf), for one, will be grateful as fuck.

Dusky, you may well be a thoughtful feminist, but you managed to totally miss Amy's point about objectification and imagery in relation to genders. She wanted to get equal exposure time for men, that's all. I think that's a noble aspiration.

Amy, kudos for defending your name. People don't realize how easy it is to badly affect someone's reputation & livelihood with a few off the cuff comments that are willfully deaf to one's actual argument. The worst part is when the person with the actually balanced argument is then blamed for (humorless!) insistence on having & reiterating a well reasoned argument that doesn't readily fit into a sound bite. This is a 21st century inattentive internet user's version of making fun of intellectuals (eggheads! In ivory towers!) whose utterances actually require nuanced thought. This is the difference between truth and "truthiness". Shrug & let the people who like to cover their ears & go "lalala can't hear you, yer boring!" have the smug satisfaction of their limited worldview.