Photos are of me from a shoot we did a couple of nights ago. I had bought a black Chinese Cheongsam mini dress with red brocade on it, and I’d been wanting to take pictures in it. It started the theme, and I took it from there. Shooting on our loft deck, creating an oriental atmosphere is not difficult propwise in our home, since much of our decor is already there. I had fun with it, and when it was time to play with the photos in photo shop, I didn’t alter my features any, since the makeup had already given me a eurasian look. I just softened everything in the way that I’ve seen in advertisements and magazines of Chinese origin. I was quite pleased with the results.
I felt a little like an exotic chubby james bond girl cliche or something like. It’s always challenging to photograph stereotypes, the submissive and sexualized asian flower house girl. Tapping into the stereotype that is already media exploited, and putting my own porn twist on it… art or artifice? Why do I do it, because I enjoy the role play, I enjoy the fetish of the stereotype, whether it’s the submissive servile asian girl, school girl, or the dominant school mistress, or… whatever the take on it. I don’t see submissive and servile, as second class or weak. I don’t see it as negative, and I don’t see it as misogynistic or disempowering of women. I also don’t believe it’s real, it’s fantasy, and fantasy erotica is a good place for fantasy in my opine. I’m no more a servile submissive eurasian bond heroine as I am a strict and domineering school marm, or any other role play I play with, on or off camera. Stereotypes become problematical when people assume that reality is modelled after them. Or worse, they try to model reality after them. When we ‘play’ with things, we claim them as fantasy, and we put new power into them.
Things degrade when one allows the stereotype definition of ‘woman’ of ‘asian’ or even of ‘submission’ or of ‘sexy’ to take over from their own personal definition, of their own reality, and when the locus of control shifts from our internal compass, to that of the socially constructed… lie. When we mistake fantasy for reality, or buy into the dogma of the ‘norm’.
I was watching Oprah the other day, and they were talking about teen girls, and they were discussing the sexual excesses felt to be prevelant in this generations youth. That there is a growing cavalier attitude towards sex and sexuality in young teens. There were a few young teens sharing their stories, and discussing how within their peer group, and with peer pressure, that they had been very sexually promiscuous, and sexually active, and had felt it was no big deal – but now, now they had seen the light, and how negative and damaging it really was, and they were going to abstain from their previous practices. There was a lot of teary eyes, nodding heads of agreement, and holding hands with mothers in the sidelines. I was for a moment… perplexed. With friends, months before, party girl, wild child, orgy hostess – now, on Oprah, repentent, almost born again, good girl.. good girl… bad girl. Extremes, stereotypes… Well, I wasn’t buying it. I decided that I wasn’t looking at two opposite extremes at all, I wasn’t looking at a big transformation, big revelation, or big change in this person. In fact, this girl in my opinion, in this particular instance, was doing the exact same thing she was doing a few months ago when she was in bed with two friends. She was seeking approval, validation, identity, emotional connection, any number of things, from her context. With friends who felt sexual activity was cool, positive, and chic… she was sexually active, cool, positive, and chic… on Oprah, amoungst conservative concerned adults, she was once again, in the same role, but for the opposite behviour. In one group, sexual activity was good, in the other sexual activity was bad, and what she was doing or not doing was about the group she was identifying with at the moment, rather than what was coming from her. Would the real child please stand up? My stance – what is healthy and positive in this situation, for any person, is for their actions, to be based on their sense of self, their internal compass, their knowing what it is they really want, what is healthy and positive for them – NOT on what the extreme of either the peer group, or the parental group would dictate. For one teen that may be a very active sex life, I had one as a teen, and felt it was a positive and loving one, and wouldn’t change it for the world. For another teen, it may mean abstinance. What’s damaging is taking someone elses message of what is good and right for you, and applying it to you, when you’re own internal compass, is telling you something different. Letting their be an external dictation to your actions. People will argue that youth don’t have the ability to be guided by their own inner voice, and that they need external values/controls imposed on them, for their own good. Many people will argue adults need it as well. That our laws, our rules and regulations, or morals, or religious beliefs, or whatever doctrine is out there is absoultely necessary to guide people, and that without it, there would be mayhem and chaos. We are afraid, afraid of ourselves, and of trusting ourselves. I say the opposite is true… the more we let external voices tell us what is right and wrong, the more we rely on the judgement of others, the more responsibility we place on governing bodies… the less responsibility we learn to take, and the less ability we have to trust ourselves, and the more we fear. That external guidelines, have an subtle and dangerous effect, of undermining our own inner guides. The loud voices of mother and media, religion and the right, drown out that little voice inside, that always knows…
we are good.
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