First thing I read this morning, was a Live Journal post by Filament Magazine. In this post Filament asks her readers if the magazine lacks larger women and women of colour. I have already written a reply on Filament’s Facebook page, but since I can’t get this question out of my mind, I obviously need to write something more. Good thing I have a blog :) !
As I started my comment on Facebook: there is always a group of people who feels left out, neglected or ignored, no matter what the issue is about. It is quite simple though: you can’t blame the baker for not having apples, just because you want an apple.
If you buy Filament Magazine, you buy a magazine that is meant for women who desire:
1. Stimulating reading
2. Saucy fiction
3. Beautiful men
It says so on the cover, you can’t miss it. So to me this makes it very clear what I can expect. Although men can certainly read the magazine and enjoy its photography, the target group is still women. If you are a guy buying the magazine, you therefore can not complain that it hardly offers female nudity. Same goes for homosexual women. If you are a homosexual man, you have to accept the photography is meant to arouse and please the female gaze. If the images do not appeal to you, you buy yourself a gay magazine.
The woman who made Filament think about the visual representation of women in the magazine complains they don’t show plus size women… Considering the above, I do not understand where this complaint is coming from. As Filament replies in the post, they hardly show naked women in general. See point nr 3: Filament offers beautiful men.
I am very happy about this, because it really, really annoys me that almost anything erotic that is out there for heterosexual women – magazine, films, documentaries – mostly shows female nudity. The fact that Filament does not, makes the magazine not only fill in a long neglected market niche, it makes the magazine stand out.
One could ask Filament why they do not have let’s say more 35-plus male models, or Asian male models, or why Brad Pitt is lacking, or why the Chippendales are not featured naked. Those questions fit to the magazine’s subject, namely naked men. But in the end one magazine can’t meet every one’s wishes. And of course there are men and women of all sizes, ages and colours. That does not mean they should all be represented in a single magazine, especially not in one that specializes in a certain theme.
Erotic and pornographic magazines are not about representing society and visualizing reality, they are about triggering fantasies, lust and the imagination. It does seem to me that people tend to lose track of that, confuse what is real with what is not. I for one do not want to fantasize over images of Christian Bayle having sex with a woman like me, who is 35, does not like to do sports (so imagine…) and on top of that is pregnant as well. I also don’t want to lust over images of Johnny Depp with a beer belly, just because that is reality. In my fantasies I have the freedom to rule out reality and that’s exactly what I want an erotic magazine to offer me.
Filament Magazine is what it is, nothing more and nothing less. It is even better: it is an one-of-a-kind magazine. My answer to Filament’s question is:
Dear Filament, please don’t get distracted by things people want that have nothing to do with what you are aiming for! Don’t lose track and give us more beautiful men!