Ultima actualización: 05 febrero 2016

Sadomasochist Dominatrix as "leather Venus". Notes about the origins of a BDSM icon

Sadomasochist Dominatrix clad in black leather, wearing thigh high boots and holding a whip, constitutes one of the major BDSM & SM icons. This post discusses about its origins as well as about the semiotics of this visual archetype.

bdsm mistress whip dominatrix leather venus

When does “leather Venus” icon emerge?
It is towards third and fourth decades of twentieth century (1920-1930’s) as it has been undoubtedly and widely witnessed by Yva Richard and Man Ray photographs, Studio Biederer designs, Diana Slip and Charles Guyette catalogs, together with Carlo’s drawings.
So, sadomasochism and leather culture met and generated close links before WWII although it is often said that this happened for the first time in post WWII.

bdsm mistress whip dominatrix leather venus yva richard
Yva Richard

Where does “leather Venus” icon emerge?
In Europe. Then, it reached the USA immediately. At that moment, the most important suppliers of fetish paraphernalia were located in Paris while London Life magazine had a major role spreading fetish culture and aesthetics all around the world.

bdsm mistress whip dominatrix leather venus man ray seabrook
Man Ray

What are the immediate causes of its origins?
The convergence of several causes shall be considered:
-The Pro Domes demand for fetish paraphernalia, in order to satisfy the desires and fantasies of their masculine customers.
-The existence of suppliers able to fulfill these demands, such as Yva Richard, Diana Slip or Charles Guyette.
-Some technological advances in leather industry allowing to spread patent leather as a fashion trend.
-The development of a specific SM imaginary and its dissemination through photographs, drawings, illustrated books or magazines like London Life.

bdsm mistress whip dominatrix leather venus studio biederer
Studio Biederer

A fetishist sum
“Leather Venus” icon results from the aggregation and assimilation of several fetishes. So, Dominatrix look appears to be like a fetishist sum able to satisfy masculine demands at its most. It incorporates references such as:
-Leather and furs erotization consecrated after Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs (1870).
-Footwear fetishism focused on its most hypertrophied symbol: laced thigh high boots.
-The feeling of strictness and authority that derives from corsets and tight clothes. Beyond 1900 corset was no longer an article of common use among women, although it survived as a fetish (a controversial fetish, indeed, that restricts and empowers feminine body at the same time: maybe one of the best expressions of how contradictory masculine desires can be)

bdsm mistress whip dominatrix leather venus carlo cuir triomphant
Carlo: "Le cuir triomphant" cover

“Leather Venus” icon also recalls:
-Military world and its authoritarianism (so, this would mean the feminine appropriation of a traditional masculine role)
-Circus world: dompteuses and écuyères as feminine whip holders and tamers.
-Femme fatale myth, on what regards the breaking of established masculine roles as well as the fail of romantic love ideal.

bdsm mistress whip dominatrix leather venus eleise de lacy

For further reading:
WhipMaster: “De la mujer fatal a la dómina. Antecedentes y orígenes de un icono BDSM”. Cuadernos de BDSM number 19, september 2012,  p. 72-98 (in spanish).  Download link.
WhipMaster


Related posts:

bdsm mistress whip dominatrix leather venus nanshakh
Nanshakh

0 comentarios:

Publicar un comentario en la entrada