An Exposition of Nymphomania at the Tate

New show opens at the Tate:

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Love for Sale – Rupert Everett – Channel 4

Brilliant …need time to digest but initial reaction is deep respect for Mr Everett.

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Erotic/Pornographic – Roland Barthes in ‘Camera Lucida’

Pussy leQueer photographed by Robert Maplethorpe

“Another unary photograph is the pornographic photograph (I am not saying the erotic photograph: the erotic is a pornographic that has been disturbed, fissured). Nothing more homogeneous than a pornographic photograph. It is always a naive photograph, without intention and without calculation. Like a shop window which shows only one illuminated piece of jewelry, it is completely constituted by the presentation of only one thing: sex: no secondary, untimely object ever manages to half conceal, delay, or distract… A proof a contrario: Mapplethorpe shifts his close-ups of genitalia from the pornographic to the erotic by photographing the fabric of underwear at very close range: the photograph is no longer unary, since I am interested in the texture of the material.

The presence (the dynamics) of this blind field is, I believe, what distinguishes the erotic photograph from the pornographic photograph. Pornography ordinarily represents the sexual organs, making them into a motionless object (a fetish), flattered like an idol that does not leave its niche; for me, there is no punctum in the pornographic image; at most it amuses me (and even then, boredom follows quickly). The erotic photograph, on the contrary (and this is its very condition), does not make the sexual organs into a central object; it may very well not show them at all; it takes the spectator outside its frame, and it is there that I animate this photograph and that it animates me.”

Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography
(Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida New York: Hill and Wang, 1981.)

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No Money, No Honey!

Spanish Prostitutes. Photo: Pete Leonard/Corbis

High class prostitutes in Madrid are taking a political stand against the banking fraternity by withdrawing sexual favour until they agree to provide credit for economically challenged families and businesses. Lee Moran for the Mail online writes “bankers became so desperate they called in the government for mediation.”  (from breaking news on ‘Russia Today’) The strike was initiated by the prostitutes’ trade association with one sex worker claiming ‘We have been on strike for three days now and we don’t think they can withstand much more,’  Bankers were also said to be posing as architects or engineers to circumvent the boycott.

Madame du Pompadour - Sexual Politics in 18th Century France

Political power and the prostitute have been unlikely bedfellows throughout history with sexual blackmail a powerful tool …perhaps even a patriarchal achilles heel. In eighteenth century France, Madame du Pompadour, the long standing mistress of King Louis XV was directly involved in the nation’s policy and was even blamed for taking the country into the Seven Years War.

I wish them every success and raise the flag of protest with the words of one comment on the article “No money, no honey!”

Read more:

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100 Countries and their Prostitution Policy

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Jon Milwards Blog: ‘Dirty Words’ and ‘Life of a Call Girl’

Jon Millward's Blog - Call Girl 'Survey'

In October 2010 Jon Millward (journalist/writer/social commentator) carried out a textual analysis of over a million words used, in field reports, to descibe escorts by the men who had paid for them.  He looked at the frequency of descriptive words and plotted them on a scale.

” My intention was to find out something about the mind of the average punter by pouring over the words he unconsciously chose to use in his recounting of paid-for sexual experiences.”

There were some interesting findings such as: words like ‘slim’ ‘nice’ and ‘blonde’ were most poplular for describing girls and Milward also found the descriptions to be  “amazingly detailed, often bizarre, never degrading, and—at times—surprisingly funny” He went on to make an ‘infographic’ to place the results.

Dec 2011 – Life of a Call Girl: Fantasy Vs Reality (Survey of Escorts)

In December 2011 Milward followed up the ‘Dirty Words’ survey with  ‘Life of a Call Girl’ where he attempting to find out a bit more about the escorts’ thoughts and expereiences. He compiled a database of more than 700 ‘call-girls’ and sent them an email inviting them to participate in a survey. 300 read the mail and of these 30 women responded to a survey he had designed. The survey of 40+ questions about their experiences, history and ‘vital statistics’. He describes how he decided on the questions

“I spent a long time putting together the survey’s questions. I wanted to make sure I didn’t guide the respondents into answering in ways that might be pre-empted by my expectations or prejudices. To get around this, lots of totally open-ended questions were included. Others were multiple choice, but I think the most important ones provided a blank slate for the women’s answers.”

In true journalistic fashion Mr Millward was looking for controversy but found none. He thought perhaps the average age for first time sex  would be young but the results showed 16.5 years which is only 6 months below the national average for women. He says:

 “A negligible difference. That became the running theme when I continued to sort through the responses. Where I expected to find controversy, there was none (29 of the 30 women entered into the job by choice), and where I anticipated a mundane answer I got shocked practically into silence (just wait until you see the list of ‘most bizarre sex acts requested’).”

I wonder how a survey of 30 women with good advertising, computers and time can actually say anything meaningful about the whole escort experience, but it is fascinating nonetheless and i especially like the amusing extracts/comments.

There are a series of interesting infographics to describe his results.

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