Link Love: Inspirations

A woman's clothed leg with a gold, high heeled stiletto show, presses her foot into a naked man's back in a wet shower.

Images borrowed from the Naked Men, Happy Women blog.

I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge some projects who have been doing/have done some fantastic work or saying some fabulous, thought-provoking things in regards to discussing the female gaze and male objectification.

And the best way to start this off is with a very important PSA.

Onto the projects!

Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze: I’m really sad to only have found out about this today, as the artist call ended May 20th! But the California Arts Council is curating an exhibition which will be shown at the SOMA Cultural Arts Center November 4th-26th. From their website:

The exhibition will examine the visibility of men and masculinity from female/feminist/transgender perspectives. In so doing it necessarily problematizes notions of “men,” “male,” “masculinity,” “women” and “female” while exploring new possibilities for the gaze. This is an inclusive show, and we welcome women and transgender artists to challenge what it means for “women” to look at “men.”

Not only will the male figure be taking on the historically “female” or passive role as object of the gaze, but the surveyor is now positioned as active  and critical of traditional gender roles, thus creating a truly feminist stance. The male body and its gender expression become spectacle for a woman’s viewing and contemplation. Surveying the ways men are represented in contemporary art by women, this exhibition will open new dialogues regarding the myriad of ways how women view men in today’s culture and society.

I’ll be checking this out, and hope you do too!

Filament Magazine: I talk about them a lot because I am really, really fond of what they do. Also, I write for them sometimes, so I’m biased! But they have taken this issue of creating an erotic magazine featuring the female gaze and they do it very well. From their site:

Kinsey popularised the idea that women aren’t visual in his 1953 book Sexual behaviour in the human female. The idea is still widely believed today, even though his research methods are no long considered reliable and more recent research using better methods has refuted his findings.

If only something else Kinsey said had been so influential: ‘There are almost no male or female nudes which are produced for the consumption of females’. In fact, many people believe that even though the vast majority of erotic imagery is produced by men for men, this material will ‘do’ for women.

Many women’s erotic magazines of the past used mainly photography created for and by gay men, sometimes even selected solely by men. In Filament, we only publish photography made for or by women. We call this process ‘female gaze’.

If this sounds like it might be up your street, you can pick up a copy from their site, or at one of their stockists (which include Good Vibrations and some Barnes and Noble stores).

Candy Rain: I haven’t gotten to flip through this yet, but if Filament is the filthy but elegant tea party, Candy Rain seems like the all-out kegger of the female gaze world. Which is kind of awesome. They’ve got a blog, too. Here’s a bit from a review of one of their launch parties:

Last night I attended the launch party for the second issue of Candy Rain Magazine, a glossy little treasure trove of cock shots geared towards “ladies who love the D.” (For those playing along at home, that stands for “dick.”) There were scantily clad people gettin’ it on all over the place. There were water guns. There was burlesque. There was booty rap. And yes, there were dicks, and lots of them. In a jarring reversal of spring break culture, guys could show their dicks to get in for free. Wooooo!

I also appreciated this bit of the article, which, I think, really sums up the difference between objectification of men by women vs women by men:

None of the guys who pose for Candy Rain get paid; it’s all strictly “pro boner.” They are not doing it for money, approval, or because society tells them to. (In fact, I’d venture to guess society tells them not to.) They are doing it because they want a bunch of girls to look at their dicks. In a world where women are supposed to get looked at and men are supposed to do the looking, I think it can be subversive to reverse the direction of the gaze. Contrary to popular belief, women are not solely attracted to men based on their income, accomplishments, or ability to care for children. We’re also into guys who look good naked! And, things being as they are, it’s a lot easier for a man to tell he’s doing it “because he really wants to” than because he’s oppressed by the matriarchy. I’m almost kind of jealous of men for how wonderfully un-complicated that must feel.

Read previous blog entry on here for some of the shit I’ve already heard on that front. It’s kind of a relief to read someone mirroring my thoughts. Order a copy of Candy Rain here.

A naked, wet man stands, head down, in a shower. He holds his penis. A woman in a sports bra looks off to the side, not quite at him.

Images borrowed from the Naked Men, Happy Women blog.

For the Girls: This website is devoted to creating porn from a female gaze, for a female gaze. I particularly appreciate their standpoint on what women might like to see, which is to say, giving space for variety:

We do our best to ensure the female point of view is given priority. Everything is geared towards female pleasure and female fantasy. In a practical sense it means we create our own content that reflects that female viewpoint, and it also means that we present existing photos, videos and movies according to what turns us on and what we feel our members would enjoy. We’re always looking for something different, something that depicts the spectrum of human sexuality in a positive way.

It’s often considered that “porn for women” is all about complicated storylines, soft focus and no real sex. While we quite like the soft focus, sensual stuff, we’re also not afraid of offering serious hardcore content. We aim to offer a full range of adult material, from cute guys in briefs to slow, kissy lovemaking to full-on hardcore sex acts, including orgies and anal sex. There’s enough material in the members area to satisfy you, no matter how far you want to go.

I’ll be looking into getting an inside scoop on what they offer in their members area- from the images I’ve seen, there’s a lot of white, traditionally fit male bodies, but I’m curious to see what sort of diversity is expressed behind the wall.

A clothed bohemian woman stands, smoking a cigarette, looking down at a sitting, naked man who is holding her hand and gazing into her eyes.

Images borrowed from the Naked Men, Happy Women blog.

Naked Men, Happy Women: This blog, also a website, has some great galleries to peruse with tasteful male nudity and some clothed female/naked male work as well. I’m hoping we can create on some collaboration! From their site:

Nowadays images of naked women are commonly shown everywhere; in advertisements, commercials, games and movies, art, on billboards and on TV. A naked female body is pleasant to look at, so no complaints here. But something is missing, isn’t there?

Have you, like me, been wondering why there is so little male nudity in every day life for us hetero sexual women to enjoy? Do you agree it is unfair to say the least, and do you want to see more? Then this blog is the perfect blog for you. Naked men, happy women, aka NMHW, is created to discuss various related topics with you, to post examples of how things could/should be, and to find ways to change the current situation to our advantage. It is about time men catch up with us when it comes to showing their goodies, and even more for us women to tell them what we want.

Definitely check out their galleries- I particularly enjoyed seeing the various advertisements that showed clothed women and naked men- a nice change from the norm.

Male Submission Art: I love this project. It’s one of my go-to places to find hot images of male submission that really turn me on and that doesn’t have incredibly stereotyped femininities. And that’s in part because it’s basically one of the ONLY places to go. From the founder’s blog:

But the problem is actually two fold. One problem is, of course, that there’s simply an insanely disturbing general lack of the stuff. In fact, it’s so bad that if you Google for the three words “male submission art,” you actually get female submission links littering the first page of results.

This is actually even worse if you go actively hunting for porn with the hopes of finding erotica depicting men who are submissive. Instead, you’re much, much more likely to find erotica depicting womenwho are dominant. This is actually a major nuisance for a lot of people—including many submissive men, I might add.

Arguably even more frustrating than that, however, is that what male submissive porn is out there is total shit relative to the porn available for other sorts of orientations. In such erotica (unless it’s gay imagery, of course) men are portrayed as impotent, ugly creatures. That is not sexy. It’s also insulting.

My proposed solution? I launch and have people send me hot pics of men being submissive. I figure there just has to be enough people out there as fed up with this situation as I am, and if I can get some of them to send me contributions from their personal stashes of erotica or while they are browsing the Internet hunting for more, I’ll be able to crowd-source the content for a shared porn collection full of the kind of stuff we actually like.

maymay himself is a treasure trove of thought-provoking, hard-hitting, angry and accurate observations about sex-positivity, that being a woman doesn’t necessarily mean offering a female gaze, and how erotic satisfaction relates to the gaze generally. He links to a lot of great stuff, and while you may not always agree with him, you will think one hell of a lot. His commentary and Male Submission Art are huge inspirations for this project.

Bitchy Jones: On the other, dominant female side of maymay’s submissive male (in the theoretical sense at least) is Bitchy Jones. Sadly she is no longer updating her hilarious and often provocative blog, and not all of her posts are up anymore, which is a sad, sad loss, but there’s a still some great entries to read through, like this one about submissive male attractiveness:

If you’re a female supremacist – well one, you’re a fucking arsehole because deifying a culturally disempowered group is just as damaging as demonising them – but, hey, I’m not going to change your mind, because you are an idiot. But look, if you really do think you are inferior to all women, if you really do think that it is your role to enhance the lives of all women everywhere, why not take a tip from me. Here’s a way you can do that without having to dial down the ultra creepiness ten thousand notches so a woman who isn’t charging fee for being in the same room as you can speak to you without vomiting her own human dignity out of her eyeballs. Look hot. Work out and eat right and get an expensive haircut…

Look, I know you’re going to accuse me of all sorts. Of being shallow. Of buying into lamecore body-fascistic ideas. And I’d answer those points myself but I pretty much agree with (and was, in all honesty, partly inspired by) this essay on 1585 dot com. It’s not about kink, but the point he’s making applies so strongly to submissive men. And the overall point about how men feel they can’t be hot because it doesn’t work with some other image they have going, applies to submissive men as much as anyone. I can’t be buff ‘cause I’m a gimpyboy and who’d ever heard of a buff gimpyboy? Hey, honey, start a trend – and I’ll start saving up for a dungeon.

Sometimes I shake my head at the things she says (we don’t share a taste for buff boys, and her stance on pro-dommes pissed me off sometimes), but often I nod right along because I think she says some of the stuff the BDSM community is really, really uncomfortable with. And that pleases me.

A woman dressed in a short, shiny red leather dress, has one hand in her pocket and one reaching out to run her fingers through a naked male's hair. She stares directly at the camera- he clutches her, eyes facing her but closed, head tilted down.

Images borrowed from the Naked Men, Happy Women blog.

The Mammoth Book of Gorgeous Guys: Ok, so it’s 94 days til the publication, but it’s a really exciting book. Why in particular? Because out of 46 photographers, 16 are women. And that’s a refreshing change. From “The Female Gaze” Livejournal community:

I was concerned that the list of proposed photographers she had included so few women. However, I was too scared to ask her why: I really have got enough bruises on my head from bashing it against the wall after being told “Men are just better at photography than women” or “Nobody will be able to tell the difference” so many times. So I simply gave the editor a list of about 20 photographers to look up, most of whom were women.

I followed up with the editor today and she sent me a list of all the names confirmed to appear in The Mammoth Book of Gorgeous Guys….At least one of the female photographers on that list I know to be mainly seeking a gay audience, and it’s possible that some of the men are aiming their photography at women. However, that’s still 16 women out of 46, or almost 35%. It sounds like small numbers for a book aimed at women, but this is actually a massive leap forward: I have several male erotic photo anthologies that are either aimed at women or at least, don’t state an intended gay audience, and the highest proportion of female photographers there is a pitiful 7%.

This is yet another example of the fact that challenging these “truths” about the female gaze and the audience for erotic male nudes IS STARTING TO WORK.

Sociological Images: This blog talks about a lot of things, and I recommend checking in with it at least once a week! I can follow links there for hours. But relating to this project, they’ve particularly talked about the objectification of teenage boys, and how that’s seemingly ok, but we’re very concerned socially about the sexualization of girls:

Justin Bieber is 16 years old — just a year older than Miley Cyrus was when there was a scandal about her photoshoot for Vanity Fair, such that it appeared to potentially threaten her career at Disney by ruining her safe, clean-cut image. I think it’s safe to say that if Miley Cyrus, or another female teen star, posed in photos that showed evidence of being kissed or grabbed by male fans, people would be up in arms about the sexualization of girls. But as we often see, there’s a double-standard, based on the idea that boys are naturally sexual at earlier ages and that boys are sexually invincible. While we might see a teen girl surrounded by men as being in danger, we don’t think of girls as being sexually threatening to boys, or of male teen celebrities’ sexuality being as open to exploitation by publicists, photographers, or other members of the media. And thus, these types of images of Justin Bieber don’t lead to the same outcry as similar images of female teen stars, and don’t cause concern that his career as a teen idol is over.

I also really enjoyed reading their post about Munich’s Oktoberfestlast year, and the images that ended up at What I really liked, though, was the response that came from’s editor of that slide show, which means that people ARE trying to pay attention on some level. And annoying as it can be, he makes a good point (and I know Filament’s gotten this too)- “we can only work with the images we receive”. Now if THAT’S not a call to arms I don’t know what is!

Not really a project per se, but I also really appreciate what ValleyMichael is doing on Fetlife- he’s keeping track of the number of images in the section labelled “Kinky and Popular” (where images with the most comments are listed) are of “scantily clad white skinny bottom women”. It’s an eye-opener! Well done. I hope he keeps it up, it’d be nice to compare multiple weeks.

Got other projects or people I should be aware of, cause I know I’m missing some? Please comment below and I’ll update this page! We need to band together and rock this goddamn boat.

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28 Responses to Link Love: Inspirations

  1. maymay says:

    I much appreciate the nod. I think you’re not only doing things right, you’re doing the right things. I’m glad to be a supporter.

  2. Ferns says:

    I love that you are doing this project, thank you!

    I only recently realised that Bitchy Jones had removed the bulk of her content… I was so disappointed (I went there looking for a particular post that I loved and it was gone… boo hiss).

    I am so looking forward to checking out the links you have provided and seeing how this project develops.


  3. Hi I love to look at men so I welcome any way to do that.

    But, as I have said to filament, and Kristina Lloyd, I don’t understand why this is split into the ‘female’ gaze versus any other kind of gaze.

    I spend a lot of time looking at gay porn, and even more time talking about ‘metrosexuality’ with, among others, Mark Simpson, who coined the term Metrosexual back in 1994.

    Mark’s latest book, Metrosexy, really puts paid to the myth that there is a male or female gaze. He is interested in how men these days are most interested in looking at themselves and each other, and being looked at by everyone.

    I have been blocked from commenting on Filament’s Live Journal site, as they don’t like hearing what I have to say. But if you are at all interested in ‘queer’ perspectives I think you should consider how this concept of the female gaze is reductive and heterosexist/heteronormative.

    • As for this comment- sure, I agree. But I feel like the queer gaze IS being catered to rather well, and more so all the time- to the extent that companies like Pink and White (Crashpad, Heavenly Spire) and No Fauxxx *do* pay their models. Which is awesome! But that took a while, and other sites, like CyberDyke, are still breaking even so their models aren’t always paid. When I get back to London I start work on my British queer porn project… I doubt we’ll be paying either, at least at first. Hell, I’m not getting paid as an intern for Cleis Press, and didn’t get paid to work on Kinky Salon London- I’m doing it for the experience and because I feel passionate about it.

      There hasn’t been the same push for the heterosexual female gaze. There’s been bits here and there, but it’s just picking up steam as a movement I think. I think it’s unfair to tell heterosexual women that their gaze should be queered- heterosexual men aren’t told that, after all.

      I’d be interested in reading Mark’s book, though! It would probably help me further define and polish what I’m looking to do here.

  4. P.s. I don’t see how men not getting paid for modelling is liberating. There are a lot of problems eg in BDSM porn where men get exploited because it is assumed they do BDSM porn for ‘fun’ whereas women do it as a job.

    I find that sexist on about a million levels!

    • Is it? I didn’t get paid for the porn work I did with Padded Kink (hot fat people in BDSM porn), and I was ok with that. I’ve also done a lot of unpaid modeling generally, particularly if it was a project that I felt passionately about or images I wanted to see more of in the world. I understand that it takes some time to get the market realizing what you’re doing and that they’re interested in it. If I only shot fat porn that paid, I would only shoot stuff that was really derogatory, because that’s the only work that pays now. I’d rather do positive depictions and not get paid than encourage body fascism.

      One of the things I *will* be doing however is discussing model releases, TFP shoots and what they entail, and what one should expect/how one could prepare for a shoot, for both models and photographers.

      • sure I don’t mean it is inherently sexist that people don’t get paid for stuff.

        But that celebrating men not getting paid, when there is a real problem, particularly in BDSM porn I think, for men to be treated on the same professional level as women. Pandora Blake is the person I got that info from in the main.

        • I don’t feel like I’m “celebrating” men not getting paid. I think it sucks! However, as someone who has been in this field a while, I know if I want men to be paid equally for their erotic work, I need to increase awareness of appreciation of male nudity, and not just by other men. Sometimes you have to take small steps.

          And yes, Kink Inc is particularly bad about this, but they’ve got lots of issues around sexism.

  5. Gabigirl says:

    I’d love to collaborate! I am just very pregnant at the moment 🙂

    The website is already there btw. Maybe my project might interest you:

  6. Well men get paid plenty in gay porn and in Men’s Health magazines and in advertising.

    I don’t think men need encouraging to show their bodies. Anyway, it is all in Metrosexy by Mr Simpson!

    • That depends entirely on the gay porn. Though that also feeds into sexism relating to male income and financial success vs female/trans income and financial success…

      But yes, I’ll read it and probably blog about it!

    • maymay says:

      I don’t think men need encouraging to show their bodies.

      As a categorical statement, that is blatantly untrue, and since I know you know this, Quiet Riot Girl, I think you may have simply typed hastily. It depends entirely on the men in question.

      For the record, many women would like to feel more encouraged to share their bodies. When people think of “women” in a sexual context they are often not thinking of women who society says can not be sexual. I think specifically here, for instance, of fat women who are often told they should not show skin because they are not beautiful. Women with disabilities are another good example.

      Perhaps this project’s premise can be borrowed and re-applied to other people who are made to feel undesirable in ways they do not want to be. This specific project, however, is focused on a clearly articulated goal, and everyone throwing stop energy its way is making themselves look like idiots. Stop it.

  7. Pingback: Money for nothing and the dicks for free « Quiet Riot Girl

    • crossposted from QRG’s blog:
      “I think it’s way more dangerous to talk about the male gaze and the metrosexual gaze, seemingly leaving only men as the gazers and removing agency from women entirely. But then, I haven’t read the book. 🙂 I’ll certainly let you know what I think when I do!”

  8. Maymaym you always seem so sure about what I know and what I mean. Why don’t you just speak for me?

    I stand by my statement. Yes it was generalised, sorry. But we all do that. I meant that the idea that ‘men’ are not used to being objectified /objectifying themselves, in comparison to ‘women’ is just plain wrong.

  9. I just had a brief chat with Kitty on my blog here….

    and we agreed it would be silly to argue too much when she is starting a new project. And she wants to read Mark’s book to see where I/he/we are coming from more. So please accept my good wishes for the project.

    I will come back and see how you are getting on soon.


  10. If you’re a fan of Filament you should check out PoolBoy Magazine. It’s sort of a cross between Filament and Candy Rain. Filament called it Sassy for adults, with lots of boners.

  11. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

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