Monday, January 24, 2011

Show Some Restraint

This is a photo upload from the swimsuit issue’s Facebook page. Apparently lack of closet space and/or hangers during the 2011 shoot resulted in an improvised method of hanging all the bikinis: they strung a room with rope.

“Rope goes a long way!” declares Darcie Baum, Assistant Editor of the swimsuit issue.

Is there a little kinky flirtation to that statement? Or am I just a pervert?

Because there is a significant category of SI pose in which the model is handling or otherwise interacting with rope…Of course, swimsuit photography repeatedly finds itself on boats and beaches, two places where rope is often handy. Sooner or later it’s going to be used as a prop. It doesn’t mean there are any B&D implications.

Except… In this photo from 2007, Anne V went beyond just posing near some rope and plunged straight into coiling it around her bikini-clad body:Also in 2007, Yesica Toscanini actually managed to get herself lassoed:And in 2003, Sarah O’Hare seemed unable to stop trussing herself up:Well, it’s still nonsense. I mean, they’re just playing with the rope. Of course it’s going to find its way around their bodies; there’s only so much you can do with a length of rope.

Well, what if we removed the rope from the equation altogether? Might there be poses that kind of look like the model is tied up, even in the absence of any actual rope?

Let’s see. Would you like her tied to a post?
Maria Joao, 1978 • Stacey Williams, 1993 • May Andersen, 2003

Esti Ginzburg, 2010 • Christine Teigen, 2010

Or chained to the ceiling?
Julie Henderson, 2008 • Cintia Dicker, 2009 • Bar Refaeli, 2010

Or secured to a frame?
Jeisa Chiminazzo, 2008 • Jessica Gomes, 2008 • Bar Refaeli, 2009

Or spreadeagled on a couch?
Rebecca Romijn, 1999

Or just standing submissive before you?
Kim Alexis, 1988

Or—why not?—staked out as a sacrifice to the Kraken?
Lujan Fernandez, 2001

I always thought this 2010 pic looked like Julie Henderson was some bikini-clad cattle rustler who’d been tied to the back of a horse and led into town upon her capture:Now, do I seriously believe all these are supposed to make me think of bound swimsuit models? No.

Do I believe none of them are? No.

I remember a behind-the-scenes video from 2007 (I can’t find it anymore) in which Julie Henderson and Jessica White were wandering around what looked like a Walmart. At some point, Julie picked up a fishing net and “captured” Jessica. Jessica asked, “Now that you have me, what will you do with me?” Julie said something like, “Hmmm, I’m not sure…” Then a female off-camera voice said, “It’s like a really bad porno!” And everyone laughed.

I don’t think many people would claim that the swimsuit issue is explicit. Many would call it quaint and innocent, as sexy materials go nowadays. But it is sexy, and there are certain shadowy-corner sexual triggers that can be pulled with some degree of subtlety.Food for thought.

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