Saturday, October 13, 2007

Not suitable for work (circa 1955)

In 1955, Tennessee senator Estes Kefauver decided to take on smut. Already having grabbed headlines with investigations of organized crime and juvenile delinquency, the senator was ready to protect America from dirty pictures. Yay, crusading politicians!

Of course, photos of nekkid girls had been around almost as long as photographs had been around, and in the 1950s, a young guy named Hugh Hefner decided to take a very American strategy at making a girlie mag more popular by spending money to make money. Playboy became successful not just hiring pretty girls to take off their clothes, but getting good photographers and luxurious settings, printing on quality paper stock and publishing writers whose work might be found in The Atlantic Monthly or Esquire. What's a crusading politician to do when faced with high powered capitalism?

Go after smaller fish, that's what! Kefauver set his sights not on nude pictures, but on fetish pictures, most notably the work sold by Irving Klaw. Klaw and his sister ran a store in New York City that sold movie memorabilia, and they noticed that some customers liked pictures with high heels much more than they liked any particular actress or hair color or body type. From high heels, it was just a small change to black lingerie, then leather and latex, then whips and restraints and spanking. Klaw became the main purveyor of fetish photography in the United States.

Klaw didn't spend money to make money (you'll see that couch about a jillion times if you look through a portfolio of the still available photos), but he did hire a pinup girl named Bettie Page. Page did a lot of work in the 1950s, including posing nude for Playboy as well as plenty of cheesecake photos as well. But it may have been the work she did for Klaw, which featured NO nudity, that made her best known, even notorious.

Bettie had a great figure and a pretty face, but more than that she had a very expressive face and an iconic look, with her black hair and bangs. When she was the girl being spanked she played it for all it was worth. When she was the kitten with the whip, she looked mean, or at least playfully mean. Klaw and his sister had stumbled upon a large untapped market with the fetish photos, but one can only wonder how well it would have done if they never hired Bettie Page.

The Senate investigation did ruin Klaw's business. Bettie Page spent a few more years as a model, then settled down and got married. Because it was forbidden fruit, pictures of Bettie Page stayed popular for much longer than any other pinup girl who wasn't a movie star, and starting in the late 1970s, several illustrators started drawing pictures based on the old photos of Bettie Page, most especially but not exclusively the fetish stuff. She became well enough known that she became a sub-genre of girlie pictures by herself, and her life was fictionalized in the 2005 movie The Notorious Bettie Page, starring Gretchen Mol.

Thank God Senator Kefauver protected the Youth of America from weird photos that give us funny tinglings, youth like Matty Boy, who would be born a little after Kefauver ruined the business of Irving Klaw.

As we know, protection only lasts so long. Among My People, there are many secondary interests beyond just giant women. Bondage and discipline pictures definitely show up a lot, sometimes even in the media, in commercials and photo ads like this one for Occhiali. The fact that this attempt at tying her down is futile kind of makes it hotter for guys like me.

But of course, if you have a giant woman and a tiny man, the natural mode of domination would be for her to dominate him. This is not an official ad for Anne Klein, but the work of a collage artist. A lot of My People have become collage artists, and some of them are pretty good. For some, this picture works just because of the shoes she's wearing. For others, they like to fantasize about her crushing him underfoot.

For me, I like this girl enormous and naughty but nice. The fantasy I would extrapolate from this picture is that she is just playing with him, playing rough no doubt, but still playing. She's a practical giantess, and she would hate to ruin those shoes, Even though he is tiny, he's pretty hot. Once he is willing to accept who is boss, a hunky homonculus like this can be put to good use by a gigantic girl on the go such as herself.

Like with Irving Klaw, I have published pictures without nudity. But are they suitable for work? I published them on a Saturday, so most folks can make the decision in the privacy of their own homes.

(All pictures can be clicked for larger versions, if that's what you're into.)


Matty Boy said...

I've thought about this post for a while, because my mom reads this blog. She gave me the okay last week, so I posted it today.

But then I thought... OMG! My dad reads this blog! What if I have corrupted him? He's a mere 78 years old and unschooled in the ways of this wicked world!

Oh, cruel fate! Oh, thankless child!

Karla said...

Our friend Sigmund is spinning in his grave, I tell you ... Spinning!

Like an Austrian rotisserie.

Matty Boy said...

This morning when I wrote the post I couldn't come up with a FoxyTunes song, but I now realize it should have been Tom Lehrer's The Masochism Tango.

It was staring me right in the puss all the time.

dguzman said...

Oh my gosh, matty, I hardly know what to say. I feel like I just dropped in unannounced and found you -- well, indisposed! Still, you got the okay from your mom, so hey--whatever spins your cycle, my man.

I'm guessing you probably OWN that movie version of Betty Page's life story starring the oh-so-scrumptuous Gretchen Mol, right?

Matty Boy said...

No, I rented the Bettie Page movie on Netflix, but I don't own it.

Honest to Pete.

FranIAm said...

Well it could be time to mail our man Matty a gift!

Excellent weaving of this and that, word and photo, history and fetish.

You 'splained real good.