Groups that work to eradicate domestic violence and help survivors are protesting magazine behemoth Conde Nast over the lastest cover of Vogue Hommes International, on which the cover model is being choked. Supermodel Stephanie Seymour is held from behind by hunky Marlon Teixeira, whose face is rapturous as one hand reaches around to choke her neck and the other reaches around to grab her breast.
This truly disturbing image of a woman being choked sends a dangerous message to anyone who sees this magazine – that choking is a sign of passion rather than of violence.
Choking is a huge predictor of future lethality. A 2008 Journal of Emergency Medicine study of murders of women in 11 cities found that 43% of women who were killed by intimate partners had experienced at least one previous episode of choking before being killed. That is why, in 2010, New York State made choking a violent felony, and advocates, prosecutors, police officers and survivors throughout the State have embraced the law as a way to save women’s lives.
As a feminist and someone who cares passionately about ending violence against women, I agree with them that it is a sexualized violent image. I do believe that sexualized violent images desensitize people to the problem of violence; Kanye West’s gratuitously sexual and violent music video for “Monster” sickened me because it was just scantily-clad, bloodied and decapitated women writhing everywhere. In Kanye’s video, the implication was that the women were all massacred by the various monsters; they had no agency in their situation. Take, for instance, when Kanye raps while holding a dead woman’s severed head in his hand.
But I can’t condemn the violent depiction on this Vogue Hommes International cover as harshly as these groups do. I look at this cover and I do see “passion” in it (to use the same phrase as the anti-domestic violence groups). Maybe it’s because choking sexually arouses me personally, but when I look at the image I see consensual kinky sex and BDSM behavior. Stephanie Seymour is being choked, yes, but the look on her face is one of release/abandonment to me, not fear of a violent partner. I get the vibe that she and the model were acting out a passionate sexual moment, that she had agency in the situation. I don’t get the vibe from their sexy poses or the looks on their faces that the image is implying Seymour is being harmed or manhandled, despite the hand on her neck. These anti-domestic violence groups may have erred in their thinking because BDSM imagery — choking, whipping, spanking, pinching — is not mainstream. But just because it’s not mainstream doesn’t mean it’s abuse.
"There's definitely a market in Denver for this," he says.
As evidence of the need for this night, he cites the growing community of folks who attend Burning Man (which he says is rife with "polyamory, kink and fetish"), the popularity of swinging-related reality-TV shows and the theory that "bisexuality, at least for women, seems to be becoming more standard." Says Suffoletta, "I get more and more people talking to me every day about this, and most of them don't know where to go."
Suffoletta owns In Vision Entertainment and has been hosting swinger events since 2004; he was introduced to the scene when he deejayed for a swinger party. "I really enjoyed the crowd," he says. Since then, he's put on several parties and worked with some of Denver's better-known swing kings, including Scottie Ewing on a recent one-night-only party called the Crimson Ball. Suffoletta says he's always focused on parties rather than a specific club.
"That way, it's new and fresh every week," he says. "In case of the Jet, it'll be weekly but in a place that's normally a hot club and hotel and not a full-time swinger premise."
Menage will cater to both seasoned swingers and curious newcomers, Suffoletta says. "There's a hot, sexy crowd in Denver already that may or may not be swingers," he explains. As for those who are more familiar, he adds, "There's a lot of people that live in Denver that don't necessarily want to drive out to Highlands Ranch or the suburbs to swing.... I keep hearing from people that we need a weekly downtown option and we miss having the Sugar House there. That's our intent, to fill that void." ...
Seattle Police said Monday that they are investigating a series of photos taken at the Evergreen Washelli Cemetery that depict nude women hanging from a war memorial and a cannon located among the graves of thousands of veterans.
The images were posted on a bondage fetish website and on the photographer’s own website.
“They would find them abhorrent,” Brigadier General Marcia Clark (Ret.) said of the images. “They would find them most of all, disrespectful.”
Clark, who volunteers at the veterans cemetery, said she was stunned to see the photos.
“There are people who are buried here,” Clark said, “but this cemetery is very much alive.”
The photos were taken by photographer Patrick Andraste. Andraste declined requests for an interview. In an email to KING 5, he said he took the photos on September 4 and 6.
Seattle Police were notified by cemetery management, who had been tipped off to the photos by veterans and users of the sites where the photo swere posted. Police said they are looking into possible trespassing violations.
“All we’re asking is show some respect,” an anonymous user of the fetish website told KING 5, “No respect was done.”
Andraste told KING 5 he is getting legal representation.
SEATTLE -- Their headstones line up in perfect symmetry, like soldiers headed to war; but for some of those who fought for the United States, their final resting place has seen a great deal of unrest this month.
"It kind of leaves you a little bit at a loss for words, really," said Scott Sheehan, general manager at Evergreen Washelli Funeral Home and Cemetery in North Seattle. "We care for the living and the dead and in respect to that, it's a direct impact to us when somebody violates that."
Police believe someone may have violated the law by breaking into Washelli sometime earlier this month. Families say they were further violated by what happened next: A photography session at Washelli's veteran's memorial cemetery, where women were tied up in bondage situations, hung from cannons and statues, and then photographed. The pictures were then posted to a fetish website.
"Oh, good lord. That's terrible," said 88-year old Dom Chialante of West Seattle, who spent Tuesday morning tending to his family's plot, where his parents, wife, and brother-in-law are all buried. "This is a sacred area. The world is terrible today and it's getting progressively worse."
The photographer, in a statement, said his intent was for the photos to make people think.
"The title of this series is Spoils of War," wrote Patrick Andraste in a statement emailed to KOMO 4 News. "The model is Japanese American, and some of her family was interned in the relocation camps during WWII. Her grandfather was a combat vet during WWII and a long time peace activist. (She) wanted to show that the truth of our country's history is disturbing."
Seattle Police are now investigating the incident as a possible trespassing issue, said Mark Jamieson, a spokesman for the department. ...
Sometimes life doesn't meet your expectations. That's the lesson one man learned following his first visit to a swingers event -- that's "swingers," not Swingers. The unnamed man was thrown out of a swingers event at the Stratford Inn in Fenton for the height of rudeness: he's accused of pointing out that the other participants were both overweight and unattractive.
Rookie move, bro; they all look the same once the lights are out.
The other swingers took umbrage, and threw the critic out. But then Mr. Too-Good-For-Fenton-Swingers-Club had to return to the Stratford to pick up his belongings, which didn't get tossed when he did (this would be such a good place for a "that's what she said" if you have one laying around).
His return prompted an argument with another swinger, which allegedly devolved into the critic throwing a bottle at the swinger in question. He's since been charged with third degree assault.
... The remaining charges stem from an encounter between Hoffman and the 36-year-old East Bay woman, who testified on Wednesday that she was sexually assaulted in Hoffman’s apartment on March 1 after responding to an ad on Craigslist.
The victim in her Wednesday testimony acknowledged sending sexually explicit pictures of herself—including one of her wearing her cat’s collar around her neck—to Hoffman prior to their encounter.
During her testimony, she said that Hoffman had choked and slapped her before engaging in forced oral copulation on her until she broke free and fled his apartment.
The victim said that Hoffman had told her he liked being dominant during sex and said she liked that, but said she became scared during their encounter because she “thought it would be more playful.”
The woman called police a day later and reported the incident.
“The line is unclear, and the jury is going to have to figure out
what it is,” Chan said after dismissing two-thirds of the charges and reducing Hoffman’s bail. ...