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The Invisible Male Bottom

August 16, 2011
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Maymay has a short post up about googling “submissive.” The images are all of women. He’s said before that when he looks for men being submissive, he finds women being dominant. This is a major theme that he created Male Submission Art to combat.

I see three structures principally in operation. First, heterocentric sexuality on the English-language internet is concentrated on advertising and selling product; the default symbol for sex and sexual is the cis female body, presented as erotic object. The cis male body presented as erotic object is the default symbol for gay male sex and sexuality. It should not be this way, but it is. Second is the less directly commercial issues of male gaze; cameras present as male viewers but not as female viewers for cultural reasons. (I’ve heard anecdotally, but I can’t confirm, that the actual looking through the lens is the most unreconstructed male bastion in media, that cameramen are still camera men in almost all of film and television, and that a shocking number of people in Hollywood still have quite literal superstitions about a woman looking through a lens.) Finally, I think this has to do with the internal-to-BDSM structures I talked about in Domism, a post that had a highly controversial afterlife around Fetlife, though because of the walled garden organization, conversations on Fet are necessarily fragmented.

I’m not going to google “male submissive” from where I am now, though I may do that to follow up. I’m guessing that the images will either be (as Maymay has noted) images of women portrayed as dominant, or ridicule. Those, and Male Submission Art, which is probably the leading source of images of men being submissive that don’t mock the subjects.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2011 12:08 pm

    A quick search since everyone is at lunch.

    Submissive gave me almost all women as dominant pics, with a book cover with a male submissive and some pictures of Michelle Bachman (presumably due to the recent debate question.)

    Male submissive gave me many more men thrown in the mix.

    I do think your three reasons why track pretty well.

  2. August 17, 2011 4:58 pm

    You may already know this, and if so I apologise for butting in, but if you do google, make sure you are logged out, with cookies turned off, because otherwise your returned images will be tailored to your usual viewing preferences, which may skew ratios.

  3. August 23, 2011 12:12 pm

    Yeah. This is why I shouldn’t comment at lunch while doing other things. *hangs head in shame*

  4. August 25, 2011 10:52 am

    In reference to the cinematographer thing:
    http://womenandhollywood.com/2009/03/04/there-are-women-working-as-cinematographers/
    This article is a couple of years old, but it talks about some of the difficulties faced by women who want to work behind the camera. It also links to some research from San Diego State showing that only 2% of the cinematographers on the highest-grossing 250 movies of 2010 were women. That’s a smaller percentage than for writers, editors, producers, or directors.
    So your anecdotal evidence seems to bear out.

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