Showing posts with label macrophilia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label macrophilia. Show all posts

23 Jul 2019

Bigging Up the Gibson Girl

Charles Dana Gibson: The Weaker Sex (1903)


I. 

Although - like many Englishmen - I have a great fondness for American women, I was never particularly excited by those turn-of-the-century beauties given us by the illustrator Charles Dana Gibson. 

That is to say, Gibson's Edwardian ideal of femininity - combining slightly old-fashioned or straight-laced elements with more modern aspects - is not really my ideal. I like the slender, youthful features and the way her elegant neck is exposed thanks to the pinned-up (pompadour) hairstyle, but I'm not so keen on the fullness of figure and overly fussy fashions.

From the perspective of sexual politics, the Gibson Girl also leaves something to be desired; she was not quite new enough to be considered a New Woman and didn't fully share the latter's progressive vision of social and political change.

Thus, whilst she may have enjoyed some of the freedoms that the New Woman had campaigned for, she didn't seem to threaten the phallocratic order or wish to usurp traditionally masculine roles. Nor was she about to chain herself to any railings; the Gibson Girl was many things, but a militant suffragette she was not. Ultimately, she enjoyed her privileged life in a Gilded Age. 


II.

There is, however, one aspect of the Gibson Girl that does fascinate; she was sometimes depicted not as a traditionally passive paradigm of womanhood, but, rather, as a sexually dominant and teasing figure who enjoyed humiliating her lovers and making men feel small as she cheerfully crushed them underfoot, or, as we see in the image above, closely examined them in every detail as if they were some kind of inferior specimen or human insect. 

Whether this tells us something about the wilfulness of American women, or Gibson's own perviness, I don't know. But this little-commented upon theme of macrophilia identifiable in his work is surely worthy of further research by those interested either in the history of American illustration or the history of fetishism (or both). 

Although I wouldn't particularly wish to be abused or toyed with by a giantess - and I certainly don't have any desire to crawl inside a cavernous vagina or swallowed whole - I can understand the appeal of a fifty-foot woman and it doesn't surprise me to read that macrophilia is trending on an increasing number of porn sites and that the internet has played a crucial role in helping to develop and popularise this sexual fantasy.

The 18th-century statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke may have supposed it impossible to ever love a giant, but that merely shows the limits (and inherently conservative nature) of his erotic imagination. As does the all-too-predictable view of St. Louis-based clinical psychologist and radio show host Dr. Helen Friedman:

"[Macrophiles] are playing out some old, unresolved psychological issue. Maybe as a child they felt overwhelmed by a dominant mother, or a sadsitic mother. Maybe they were abused. [Macrophilia] is not so much a fetish as a disassociation from reality. It's part of an internal world. The macro's submersion in fantasy serves as a substitute for a more normalized approach to sex. Healthy sexuality is about personal intimacy. It's about feeling good about yourself in a way that expresses caring, and feeling a connection to another person."

This is so laughably ludicrous - almost beyond parody - that I don't even know where or how to begin to refute it. So I'll end the post here and leave this to others, such as Dr. Mark Griffiths, to do; someone who has an altogether more sympathetic and sane understanding of this and other paraphilias. 


See: Mark D. Griffiths, 'Big Love: a beginners guide to macrophilia', Psychology Today (9 April, 2015): click here to read online. The quote from Helen Friedman was taken from here. 

This post was inspired by - and is dedicated to - Miss Shirin Altsohn (aka Shirinatra), the vintage lifestyle model who knows how to nail the Gibson Girl look to a T: click here




20 Jun 2017

Entomophilia 2: Crush Fetish

Crush20 by Unknown 1886 (2017)


Although some men (and, let's be honest, it is mostly men) enjoy watching women crush larger animals including live rodents, birds, fish, and even kittens beneath their feet (a practice that is illegal in many countries, including the UK and US), most devotees of crush porn are content with the so-called soft version that makes do with sexually sacrificing invertebrates; insects, arachnids, crustaceans, molluscs, etc. (a practice against which there are no laws and creatures about whom even many animal rights activists don't seem to care).

As Jeremy Biles notes in an essay on Georges Bataille and those he likes to term (after Jeff Vilencia) crush freaks, the latter are:

"sexually aroused by the sight of an insect exploded beneath the pressure of a human foot - usually, but not necessarily, a relatively large and beautiful female foot. Sometimes the insects meet their demise under the force exerted by a naked big toe. Other times, it is the impaling heel of a stiletto or the raised outsole of a platform shoe that accomplishes the extermination."

Crucially, as Biles goes on to say: "the crush freak typically fantasizes identification with the insect as he or she masturbates, and savors the sense of sudden, explosive mutilation attendant upon the sight of the pedal extrusions". This is why crush fetishism cuts across both podophilia and macrophilia, although Biles himself - rather unconvincingly - prefers to relate crush fetishism to technophilia, i.e. sexual arousal associated with machinery, rather than the feet of giant women.

I suppose the key is that lovers of crush porn feel shortchanged by the usual money shot of an ejaculating penis - they want to see (and need to imagine) a whole body exploding in every direction at once; the agony and the ecstasy of bursting bodies is the ultimate transgression of boundaries, making the values of society go splat via a perverse act of sexual violence. 

Diminutive former child star Mickey Rooney may have disapproved - although his concern was more for the children of America than the creatures being stepped on - but crush fetishism, like most other perverse forms of love - including philosophy - has something important to teach us; not least the absurdity of insisting upon an essential connection between Eros and morality.


See: Jeremy Biles, 'I, Insect, Or Bataille and the Crush Freaks', Janus Head, 7(1), pp. 115-31 (Trivium Publications, 2004). Click here to read online.

See also: Hugh Raffles, Insectopedia, (Vintage Books, 2010); particularly the chapter entitled 'Sex', pp. 267-90. 

In the above, Raffles points out that most crush fetishists don't give a damn about insects, even though they may intensely identify with them during a moment of "wildly disorienting arousal". And neither do they attempt some kind of becoming-insect in order to escape the limits of their humanity. They just want to get off by pretending to be in the position of a bug underfoot; i.e., they just want to feel themselves worthless, disgusting, and vulnerable. For crush fetishists, the insect is merely a means to an end.       

Those interested in reading part one of this post on insect fetish should click here.  


15 Jun 2015

In Defence of Giant Lovers

The Meeting Place (detail) by Paul Day 
POV shot by Stephen Alexander


Whilst I wouldn't say I'm a fan, I certainly admire much of Antony Gormley's sculptural work and share many of his criticisms and concerns to do with public art. 

I think he's right, for example, to argue that many pieces unimaginatively plonked down in our airports, stations, and city centres lack ambition or challenge and fail to address the question of what role statues might play in the 21st century. 

However, I'm disappointed to discover that he seems to particularly despise Paul Day's giant brass figure of two lovers embracing at St Pancras International Station, as I quite like it. The Meeting Place might be crude and ill-proportioned - might, in a word used by Gormley, even be described as crap - but it can still excite fetishistically, even if it fails aesthetically.

For not only does the female figure have very lovely calves and ankles, given emphasis by her high-heeled shoes and tip-toe posture, but she also invites an upskirt peek (although, alas, there's nothing to see). 

And then there's the fact that she's thirty-feet tall, which surely brings out the macrophile in many a man. I don't know why it is that giant women - or, more precisely, the thought of being crushed beneath their feet - is so ingrained within the pornographic imagination, but so it is and Day's sculpture obscenely exploits this fact (whether or not he consciously intended to do so).

So, to conclude, we might say this: that whilst The Angel of the North artistically intrigues as an erection, it doesn't solicit an erection; it makes one wonder, but it doesn't make one want to perv.