Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lady Gag Order

It used to be that spanking was a playful S&M activity, a holdover from the world that Steven Marcus described in The Other Victorians. Regressive childhood associations were reinforced when the naughty boy or girl, having had his or her pants pulled down, got a red bottom after being bent over someone’s knee. It was all fairly mild stuff that played upon notions of good and bad. But the ante is going up when it comes to the sexually explicit material that can be found on the Internet. Gone are the fake squeals of pain and pleasure that used to accompany old-fashioned videos, with their nurses or police uniforms, depending on the side of the dominance/submission divide a porn actor or actress was portraying. What seems to be selling now are real tears. The fourth wall has broken down and many online sexual sites specialize in producing scenarios in which the “actors” fall apart on camera. For all the viewer knows this could be part of the script, in much the same way that the Stage Manager addresses the audience in Our Town. Or it could be real. If an actress has had enough of being whipped, gang raped, gagged, facialized, asphyxiated, golden showered or expectorated on and she has a nervous breakdown on camera, all the better. The metteurs-en-scène, rather than feeling irritated by the divagation, seem to revel in it in the same way that credit card companies enjoy making more money when their customers fail to fulfill their obligations. Why do people enjoy seeing sex that appears to be a violation? Why do car drivers slow down to ogle horrible accidents? Why is this trend in pornography more prevalent today than it was in the past? Who knows? 

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