Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Monday, 31 October 2011
Hello to all who read my blog. Actually READ it. So far in my career as a fetish model and blogger, I’ve had a pretty easy ride really. I’m not generally interested in scene politics and I never feel well-informed enough to comment on wider political issues impacting the BDSM world. I enjoy my kink-related work and my D/s lifestyle, but it’s a frivolous, fun part of my life so my blog is a place where I generally keep the tone fairly light, and where the people who kindly post comments tend to reply in similar style.
But recently my blog attracted a long, abusive comment about my work and lifestyle. I consider my blog to be rather like a sitting room in my house, where people are welcome to come and visit, but where rudeness is out of place. So I deleted the comment, feeling that my virtual sitting room shouldn’t be misused as a platform for such ill-mannered ranting.
But although I started this blog in order to talk about the kinky side of my life and had expected it to only be read by people who liked similar things, I’ve been aware for some time that my blog is also visited by vanilla people. Most of these are good friends and colleagues who’re very welcome indeed. But just in case there are other people who visit this blog and similar ones in order to enjoy a bit of prurient moral outrage, I thought a bit of nailing colours to the mast might be in order.
I’ll use the original offensive comment as a framework for the following thoughts. I’ve left it exactly as written, except for erasing names.
So, apologies in advance for the unpleasant nature of some of the comments, and further apologies for my limited wisdom in reply.
‘Hmm, where do I start, Well, first understand where I come from. My childhood, and that of two of my siblings was completely wrecked by the kind of behaviour shown in your Restrained Studios site. I found it by accident when I Googled your other persona, *NAME REMOVED*.’
To what ‘kind of behaviour’ was the writer alluding, I wondered? Having your childhood wrecked is a dreadful shame. But Restrained Elegance is a bondage site, depicting consenting adults roleplaying BDSM scenarios. As it happens, Restrained Elegance doesn’t even depict adults dressed as (or pretending to be) children. I doubt the writer’s childhood was wrecked by any kind of consensual behaviour at all, since abuse tends not to be consensual.
‘I have to confess I find some of your comments on this blog and your other one a bit strange, you repeatedly say you are reluctant to 'show too much' but you appear happy to sell what is basically porn!’
I was interested by the writer’s apparent attempt to shame me by pointing out that my work could be viewed as porn. Indeed it could. I try to create work with some artistic merit, but I’m not averse to the idea of turning people on, and I wasn’t sure why anyone would think this the case. However, that doesn’t mean I’ve thrown away the right to choose what type of photography I’m involved with. Page 3 (of tabloid papers in the UK, where traditionally, a pretty girl with no top on appears daily) is ‘basically porn’ in that it’s there to titillate. But Page 3 girls are under no obligation to shoot hard pornographic videos just because they’ve appeared topless - and quite right too. I’m a spanking model, and that doesn’t mean I automatically lose the right to choose what parts of my body I show at photo shoots. I’m involved in CONSENSUAL activity; just as an independent shop owner chooses the merchandise they sell, I choose what sort of productions I want to be involved with. I’ve chosen to do work that isn’t sexually explicit and which doesn’t involve anything I consider to be sexual contact. That’s my right as an independent trader.
Furthermore, its important to make a distinction between aesthetic choices and moral ones. I like spanking, so I shoot that. My decisions about which work to take are rarely primarily moral ones. Nor is my decision not to shoot more sexually explicit work. I shoot what I enjoy looking at. It’s an artistic choice, which I’m sure is somewhat governed by my sexual preferences. It’s not because I think my work is morally superior to more explicit work.
'Does it occur to you, or your 'BDM' that the kind of people who enjoy this material, especially the CP part, would probably be the same kind as the one who made our lives a misery for 10 years (actually, it was longer for my younger brother).'
I did feel a certain amount of despair upon reading this comment. Did it occur to the writer that there is no ‘kind of person’ who enjoys CP, or any other type of sexual activity? What ‘kind of person’ is gay? What ‘kind of person’ enjoys the missionary position? Actually the BDM and I are not the same ‘kind of person’ if by this, the writer meant ‘of the same sexual identity’. The BDM’s a dominant sadist, I’m a submissive masochist. He’s not interested in spanking random vanilla women or tying them up. I’m not interested in randomly submitting to people, or trying to entice passers-by into spanking me. Both of us spent years of not engaging in the activities of our choice because we hadn’t met a suitable partner who’d enjoy them too, and we didn’t deal with our frustrations by making anyone’s lives a misery. We dealt with it by looking at porn (depicting consenting adults) and by reading BDSM erotica . Now we’re involved in creating this type of material and I hope it’s used in part by people who are still waiting for their perfect match to come along. I also hope it’s used as inspiration by happy couples who like the same things that we do.
Of course, I couldn’t be sure of the type of abuse the writer was alluding to, but taking a shot in the dark, it sounds as though he was talking about physical abuse, which may have involved being beaten. If that’s the case, then it’s horrible, very sad. But in my 7 years of involvement in the kink community, I’ve yet to meet anyone who thinks that the activities we engage in for fun would be good ways of disciplining a child. Actually, just writing that sentence made me feel a bit ill; its so OBVIOUS that even putting it into words feels a bit inappropriate really.
So the short answer would be ‘yes, of course I’ve noticed that the activities I engage in sometimes would be very wrong indeed if they were visited upon a non consenting individual. As would having any kind of sex, actually. Fortunately, I don’t want to, neither does the BDM. Neither does anyone I know, to the best of my knowledge.’
'None of us had been unaffected, and our ability to have relationships has also suffered as a result. So to find you glibly talking about actually enjoying your bruises is pretty insulting.'
I suppose it would be rather glib if I used my blog to talk about how much I enjoyed being spanked by an abusive father as a child (which I wasn’t). But I’m not; I’m talking about my (adult, consensual) love life. Since the writer chose to read a BDSM blog which is clearly marked as such, I didn’t think he really had a compelling right to be insulted by the things I talk about here.
'The fact that you are a beautiful, intelligent and talented woman makes it worse.'
And why on EARTH would it make it worse that I’m beautiful, intelligent and female? By that logic, would my desire to enjoy CP somehow be less offensive if I was a bit uglier, and maybe not very bright? Again, even writing that feels pretty unpleasant. Being intelligent (which I may or may not be) doesn’t steal my right to write about the things I enjoy, on my own blog; and it certainly doesn’t give me a responsibility to only find certain things sexually appealing. Being beautiful (or not) is, surely, also irrelevant?
'You mention that in the cp world none of the togs is interested in your body parts and all are very helpful, even working for free, that's probably because they all enjoy watching you in pain.'
It took me a while to work out where the writer were going with this, but I think I eventually figured which bit of my blog he was mis-quoting from. I think that he meant ‘tops‘ when he wrote ‘togs‘, although he may have been trying for an abbreviation of ‘photographers’. Again, I got the impression he was trying to shame me with the idea that people might enjoy watching me in pain. However, since I enjoy being watched while I’m in pain, I feel a distinct lack of shame at this idea.
I’m fine with people enjoying watching me in pain! Since it’s CONSENSUAL pain, which I’m enjoying too, it’s all good. That’s kind of the point of my BDSM work, after all. Of course, anyone within the BDSM industry will know that there’s a lot more to a spanking shoot than that. The collegiate spirit, the long-term friendships and emphasis on mutual respect and consensuality, for example. I do hope that most of the people who watch BDSM films will see the evidence of this, and not be alarmed.
'Yeah, bondage is ok, I've seen some great shibarte (sic) pics, but your pc (sic) stuff disturbs because it brings back memories, which is why I am writing.'
This opinion just horrified me, frankly. Bondage is NOT magically ok. It’s only ok if it’s consensual, just as CP is only ok if its consensual. Images of different things have differing effects on people, depending on their tastes and experiences. The writer might find that CP stuff disturbs him, in which case I’d suggest he didn’t look at it. Someone else might find that images of shibari disturb them a great deal more than depictions of spanking. Pictures of spiders upset me so I don’t seek them out. If I’d recently been raped, I might not want to watch a production of ‘Death and the Maiden’. If my parents had died when I was a baby, I might find reading ‘Harry Potter’ too sad to enjoy. If my father had been remote and uncaring, the first half of ‘The Sound of Music’ might have an upsetting resonance for me. Memories can be upsetting. But the blame lies with the person who gave you the memories in the first place, not the people who happen to create art that you don’t like.
'Also, there are no checks on entry bar a warning that the site is not for minors (yep, I can see my son taking note of that one)'
I can’t actually face getting into the online censorship debate. Apologies to anyone who’d like to read one, but if I tried to take that on I’m not sure this blog post would ever end. In fact, Restrained Elegance does have a warning that the site isn’t for minors, and always has.
'Look, if you enjoy being spanked, as you claim (though how anyone can claim to enjoy having their body bruised and scarred is beyond me) then at least your don't have to sell it. It's porn, and you appear to have double standards.'
A thorough understanding of party politics is beyond me. Particle physics is largely beyond me. So is the ability to crochet successfully shaped baby bonnets. And so, I don’t post comments on blogs dedicated to those subjects. This isn’t an important point, do forgive me for being briefly pedantic and irritable about being harangued on my own blog (sitting room, don’t forget).
But I wondered, why on earth I shouldn’t I sell a product that I enjoy consuming? It’s such a logical thing to do. People who like chocolate sometimes open chocolate shops (I went to one today). People who like books sometimes work for publishing houses. People who love computers work in IT. And sometimes, people who love BDSM, produce BDSM work that they find beautiful.'Also, it makes your 'BDM' nothing more than a pimp. God help if you have children, I'd be terrified to leave a child of mine with him. If he preys on you, who can at least defend herself if things go to (sic) far, what about a child.
I'm glad I typed this, I couldn't write it my hands are shaking.'*NAME REMOVED*
This part of the comment was where I briefly became really angry. Where, I wondered, were my double standards? Was he harking back to my desire to only shoot the work I’m interested in? Actually, even if I DID have double standards regarding my work, I don’t see what business it is of anyone who doesn’t hire me anyway. I won’t force anyone to deal with the nightmare of a model who only wants to do the work she’s CONSENTED to.
And lawks, can I actually face explaining the ways in which the BDM isn’t a pimp? In brief, I don’t give him a percentage of my earnings; furthermore, he doesn’t have the power (or desire)to make any decisions regarding the bookings I accept, or the level of BDSM work I choose to do for the site we run together. Actually, why does HE get to be the pimp, suddenly? We appear on-screen together. Many of the story lines that we shoot are mine. And actually, he does pay me. So maybe I’m the pimp, if I’m suggesting things he could do on-screen, and if I’m taking money from the business? Or maybe the ill-informed commenter just picked a word with negative connotations out of the air.
And to wrap it up, I was incensed that the writer would dare to make such offensive assumptions about us as parents or prospective parents. If a person truly can’t perceive the difference between what a couple enjoy doing as part of their consensual sex-life, and what the same couple do to their non-consenting children, then God help HIS children.
And lastly, the BDM does not ‘prey’ on me. I guess he might say I prey on him, but he manages to handle it with admirable fortitude. And for the record, I’m against the use of corporal punishment in any context other than between adults, for mutual pleasure.
The above notes will of course be nothing new to most of the people who read this, but I do hope that if you’ve found my blog by chance and are shocked by what you see, that this post will maybe help to set your mind at rest.
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
In case you're interested I thought I'd put a blog post together for those of you who may be curious about booking a fetish model. This post is about bondage modelling and I'll try to follow it up with one about booking a spanking model from my perspective soon (and by soon I probably mean in about a year, cos I'm rubbish at posting...) I know plenty of professional fetish models with different guidelines and limits, so this is only a personal perspective. But I hope it may be of interest to anyone who wonders how this industry sometimes works.
So here are some FAQs, some of which I may have made up to entertain myself. Pictures are all by kind permission of Restrained Elegance this time round.
'Do I need to tell you what to expect before we arrange a booking?'
Yes please. The more detail the better really. Knowing where I'll be, for how long, and whether I can see samples of your work somewhere are all very reassuring. That's not to say it's impossible to work with a model if you're new to photography, but if that's the case I'm likely to want to shoot at a studio where I'll be sure of being safe if I can't check references for you. And if you've never tied someone up before, I'd recommend getting some training or booking a rigger because it's easy to make dangerous mistakes as a beginner, even with the very best of intentions.
'Is a photoshoot a bit like a play session?'
No, it really isn't . Pretending you're not going to let someone go once they're tied up might be very good fun if you're in a long-term relationship with the tied-up person (though not necessarily) but it won't go down awfully well with a professional model. And it might make you sound a bit crass, really. Expecting your model to drop into subspace or have an orgasm is possibly over-ambitious, but aiming to get good quality pictures and video of bondage which will hopefully be very sexy for the viewer is absolutely realistic. Many models, whether or not they like bondage in their personal life, are wary of working with people who make them feel as though what they really want is a play-date. I do my best work with photographers who seem clear as to where the boundaries between work and play lie. And I tend to be more conservative with anyone who appears prone to over-excitement at the prospect of having a real-life girl in his studio.
'Can we do suspensions?'
Yes please! I love them. I reserve the right to see evidence of your previous work before I let you hang me up from the ceiling, and to be sure you understand the safety implications (and that you have plans in place for if something goes wrong). But go ahead, they're super fun. Brilliant! Bear in mind that doing multiple/very tough suspensions during one day is likely to bruise your model though, which could effect her other bookings for the week. Do pay attention to her body type (taller models are often heavier, so a position that works for a 5ft, light-framed model may be unfeasibly painful for a 6ft model). And please, please plan rigs that take account of pre-existing injuries or medical conditions. It's not rude to ask!
'Can we do outdoor work?'
Yes, we certainly can. Not in a busy shopping centre, and not for 8 hours in the snow without a break, but if we can scout out a great location then lets have a go (it might be good to have a plan B in case it's horrible weather though).
'What about gags? Will you wear them?'
Absolutely - any kind really. I like them to be clean, so I might wander off and wash them if they've got bits of carpet stuck to them, but the more the merrier, frankly. Hoorah for gags.
'What about nipple clamps?'
Oh, alright then. I'm happy with all different sorts, and I'm lucky that although my nipples are sensitive, they're not so sensitive that I can't endure nipple clamps for the course of a photoset or video. But please take them off carefully!
'How about girl/girl work?'
Well, I'll stand next to another girl. I like my fetish work to be a truthful depiction of my personal tastes so while I'm absolutely happy to model with other girls (love them, yes indeed) I'm not really the model to try sexual girl/girl work with.
'And will you dom?'
Hmmm. Again, I like my fetish work to reflect my interest, so I primarily like to play submissive roles. But I'm learning to rig, and I love it (in a dress-designer kind of way). So if you're looking for a model who can rig while doing domly sort of faces or saying domly kind of things, then absolutely, yes. If you're hoping for a pro-domme who'll inflict actual pain or verbal abuse then absolutely no. Unless you want it to be really, really lame. And I certainly, under no circumstances will dominate the photographer, studio owner, or makeup artist. That'd just be unconscionably rude.
'How about sexually explicit work?'
I can't speak for all other models of course, but my philosophy (which many other models in my acquaintance share) is this;- I'm entirely happy working nude, and I won't spend the shoot freaking out about keeping my legs glued together at all times. But if your primary intention is to get explicit 'open leg' shots, I'm not the model for you. My favourite photographers are those who aren't obsessive about featuring genitalia; work that makes the viewer use their imagination a bit is my preference
'How much do you charge?'
Since as a customer, I like shopping in places where the price is clearly displayed, I like to be transparent regarding my own pricing structure, so that people booking me will be reassured that they can't buy me cheaper if they search price comparison sites. My rates are £50 per hour, £300 per day (based on 7-8 hours) or £1000 per week. This includes travel within the Greater London area, and also includes a model release (which some producers use to keep a record of the identity of their model, and also as evidence that the shoot was conducted properly). I normally ask that travel further afield in the UK and worldwide is covered by the photographer, unless I'm already touring in their area.
'I'm worried about booking a model on my own, what should I do instead?'
There are various group-shoots, workshops and tuition sessions run by photographers that can be a huge help to people starting out. The BDM runs regular photographic tutorials focussed on bondage photography, and there are plenty of other photographers worldwide who offer tuition. If you like bondage but photographing a model yourself seems scary, unappealing or too expensive, then why not jolly well join Restrained Elegance this month, where we've done all the work for you, and you can enjoy the finished product without having to fumble round with bloody F-Stops, flash triggers and slippery models covered in body lotion.
Saturday, 30 April 2011
I love being a model, but I'm not a natural producer. My new project, which I'm going to try to talk about now, has actually been available to download for a few weeks, and I've put off saying anything about it. Because, while I'm confident about telling you about films I've appeared in made by other producers, this one feels pretty personal and I've had all sorts of producer-related anxiety about whether we should just re-film it all over and over again until it's a Hollywood Epic with crane shots and extras and tailored Roman Centurion costumes....