Most articles I can find on the outrageously disgusting “photo shoot” in W Magazine this month are about the “artist” who directed the shoot from under house arrest in China… how powerful. How meaningful. How profound. What. Ever.
The shoot depicts a set up of a model being arrested in a “protest/riot” scene (ok, fine). Then she is hooded, handcuffed and seen in the back of a cop car (a little weird but I am still on board in theory). Then she is undergoing electric torture, silken hair standing on end, handcuffed to a chair (I am flipping out now both because of the sexual play on torture and also the fact that I am wondering what someone who has God forbid undergone this torture might think of this sexualized model undergoing mock electric torture for a photo shoot in W Magazine). And finally, she is showering naked under the gaze of 2 officers, her exposed back to us, rear end thrust into the air as water trickles down her arched back. (I am now officially done finding this photo shoot interesting.)
Here are the images. How’d I do with my descriptions? Sigh.
Is this fetish and I am just not getting it? Am I an out-of-touch mom who need not concern herself with high fashion? Is this some sort of political statement mixed with fetish and I just can’t discern the lines?
Or is it just another example of society becoming increasingly comfortable mixing women’s systematic abuse and torture under the guise of “art”? I understand fetish culture (I think). I am not condemning fetish fashion, fetish sexuality, or fetishism in general. Or maybe I am? Is this the end of me understanding fetish? Or is it more than that?
Don’t tell me I am taking this too seriously; I have been accused of being “too serious” since I was about 10 years old, so that doesn’t deter me anymore. This is serious. The statistics of physical and sexual abuse, rape, imprisonment, and sexual trafficking of women and girls in this country (in your very own cities, friends) and all over the world should offend us and disturb us greatly. If nothing else, it should not be acceptable for women and girls to be sold as prostitutes anywhere. Nowhere. Never.
I wish Ai Weiwei could have made his political statement in a way that didn’t place women at the center of a prism of the combination of torture, imprisonment, abuse and titillation. If any good comes out of this photo shoot, maybe it will be in making someone somewhere speak out against this kind of obscene excuse for art.
I’m not prudish, out-of-touch, or an old fuddy duddy. I am just deeply disturbed.
In case you couldn’t tell.