Did you hear about those foresters who were chased away by a few naked women? I believe it was somewhere in India. The foresters caught a group of illegal tree cutters, but took to their heels when the wives of the tree cutters suddenly appeared and began to undress themselves.
The story reminded me of what a good friend once told about a powerful army which also fled for a group of naked women. This would have supposedly taken place in antiquity, but I never succeeded in finding any information about it. Thís story in its turn made me think of a gripping passage in the book Blood of Spain by Ronald Fraser, about the Spanish Civil War. It’s a witness account of the execution of republicans by the Falangists. Just before being shot by the firing squad, two women lift op their dresses to show everything’. Was this meant to be provocative? Was it desperation?, the witness wonders. He doesn’t know. He does know that the executions draw a lot of attention every day, precisely because of this kind of display.
There is a brilliant comic strip by the Flemish comic artist Ilah, Measly Misogynist, in which we see a woman hunched up very tightly, as if to isolate herself from the evils of the outside world. Then we see her relax and in the end she provocatively shows the world her sex, which you can almost smell. The viewer feels he’s being sexually intimidated. The victim has become a ruthless aggressor.
I discovered this new website, one of the most fascinating sites I ever came across. It’s called I shot myself . It’s a site with naked girls. I know, there are naked girls aplenty on the internet. But this site is different. The girls are not professional models, or porn stars, or Eastern European or Philippine unmarried mothers desperately trying to make ends meet.
These girls are dentists, teachers, artists, they study economics, or they work for the embassy in Tokyo. There is also a writer from The Hague. These are every day young women, maybe your sister or niece is among them. Maybe that one mousy collegue who never says anything. They photograph themselves, from below, from above, they photograph their cunts, their arses from up close. They do not show any mercy. Not for themselves and not for us. We get to see everything: joints of thighs like jewels, navels like round goblets, which wanteth not liquor, bellies like heaps of wheat set about with lilies, breasts like two young roes that are twins, necks as towers of ivory. But also the lovehandles, the skin that is a little too pale, the acne, the moles, the irritated skin of the shaven genitals, the hair between the buttocks, the white discharge, the oversized inner labia. Everything, in short, that is retouched in glamour photography. And you know what? The photographs are hotter for it.
There are videos as well. Of a woman who does nude yoga, a woman masturbating in her garden, a woman playing with herself while spouting pseudo-philosophies, a woman pissing all over her kitchensink to get to her landlord, a woman who, obviously nervous, films herself naked in public elevators, a woman who tries to fit a Barbie doll in her vagina.
One has to wonder: why are they doing this? Is it politics? Is it art? Is it just for kicks? It might be therapeutic. Someone who photographs herself this way, looks at these pictures, who lets others see them does not have a negative self image. She is at peace with her physical shortcomings, feels comfortable in her body.
Not long ago I had placed a photograph in a magazine that I work for. The photo was of a naked woman who, obviously very much at ease, sat in such a manner that the viewer -unpurposely- had a clear view of her vagina. The accompanying text mentioned the suffering this woman had gone through in her life, and the scars this had left. The photograph invoked quite a lot of aggression in some readers. One of them sent me a photocopy of the picture, on which he had drawn an arrow pointing to the vagina. This is the réal scar’ he had written. I had never realised that the mere sight of a vagina, a simple vagina, the origin of the world, could release so much negative energy in people.
Fear of the vagina has a firm grip on the world. That is why the three major monotheistic religions are so misogynist. That’s why the oppression of women is omnipresent and so aggressive. That is why there are men who force women to cover themselves in cloths and tents. That is why there are wómen who force women to cover themselves in cloths and tents. That is why there are women mutilating and sewing shut the vaginas of their own daughters.
The women on I shot myself refuse to be ashamed any longer for what is natural. They refuse to modestly cover themselves out of fear of the wrath of the loudmouths. On the contrary, they shove their cunts in our faces and tell us: If you don’t like it, you may look the other way’. They are the shameless resistance against misogyny. In my eyes they are heroines. Goddesses even. I worship them.
Lately Peter Breedveld is addicted to the soothing music of Juana Molina.
op 04 07 2005 at 23:28 schreef rupert:
great article. we’d just like to say hello from "oscar and naomi" on ISM. good see that people are enjoying the site for being what it is and writing about it which helps everyone understand pornography a little better.