According to Kolmes et stipper. Problems do sometimes occur in the area of self classification by the person concerned. Individuals just coming out Masochism male stripper have internalized shame, fear, and self-hatred about their sexual preferences. Instead, it is through the act of fantasizing that Valentina asserts her power, even if she plays the role of the victim and not the dominatrix within those fantasies. On 26 May the Criminal Panel No.
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BDSM is a variety of often erotic practices or roleplaying involving bondage , discipline , dominance and submission , sadomasochism , and other related interpersonal dynamics.
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That being said, her status as a symbol of liberation is complicated by her constant bondage within the narrative, as well as her enslavement on the page, which perpetuates a hierarchical power relationship between active viewer and passive object-to-be-viewed. This essay will examine how Valentina, though she may be read both diegetically and extra-diegetically as a "living doll,"  forced to passively fill her creator's male fantasies, may ultimately be seen as transgressing historical representations of women in comics in Italy at the time.
The reader's access to her character's interiority allows us to understand much of the masochistic storyline as emanating from her erotic unconscious, a revolutionary and progressive approach to female representation for the time. The comics world is a stereotypically male world. Characters, themes and storylines, as well as readers, historically tend to be adolescent and young adult males.
In Italy, under the Fascist regime, women were not only denied the starring role in comics, but were assigned the role of the obedient wife-mother who waited at home for her man to return from the front so that they could produce an army of little balilla to support the nationalist agenda. In , the first modern female character was introduced in Italian comics: Pantera Bionda.
A female version of Tarzan, Pantera was a voluptuous blonde who roamed the jungle, battling various creatures in a revealing, leopard-patterned outfit.
Even though the post-war Italian comic reading public was not ready for such a progressive female character, Pantera Bionda might be considered an ante-litteram feminist. She eschewed the traditional female role, and embraced her sexuality as a positive source of empowerment, connecting her to many future female comics characters, including Valentina.
In the s, the sisters Giussani partnered the lovely Eva Kant with the elegant, and slightly effeminate, anti-hero, Diabolik. Until this moment, there had been very few female comics creators or contributors, particularly in Italy. The Giussani sisters forged the way for a new genre, the nero , which was a variation on the popular giallo narrative. Diabolik, on the other hand, is a particularly effeminate male character, whose long-lashed eyes are consistently shown in close-up.
In the early s in France, Jean Claude Forest introduced Barbarella as the eponymous star of one of the first adult comics. The blonde bombshell travelled to far away planets, befriended drooling, googly-eyed aliens, and found endless excuses to remove her clothing in public.
In Italy, Guido Crepax, a young architect and graphic designer, was inspired by Forest's work. Less than two years later, due to overwhelming fascination with her character, she was granted her own storyline and graphic novel. For the purpose of this essay, we will focus on the first two works that feature Valentina as the main character of her own series, namely Valentina and Valentina Speciale Like Pantera Bionda and Barbarella before her, Valentina can be considered progressive with regards to publication history and earlier representations of female characters.
In other parts of the world, the United States and France in particular, pin-up girls and erotic comics had been around since before the First World War.
The direct ancestors of Valentina—images featuring women in bondage, ranging from photos of Bettie Page to the comics Sally the Sleuth or Phoebe Zeit-Geist —went through a few rounds of censorship and criticism before Valentina even came into existence.
The erotic presentation of Valentina, then, her nudity and fetishistic outfits, as well as the seductive positioning of her body, were revolutionary. In sync with the rejection of established practices and values inherent in the movement of , Crepax's female character broke bonds with history and proposed a new threshold of acceptability for sexual representation.
In some ways, Valentina is certainly a "living doll," falling into a "tradition of representation of women, from myth to fairytale to high art to pornography, where they are stripped of will and autonomy" Kuhn In part, this is inevitable: Valentina is a literary character on the page, whose every move is controlled by her master-author.
She has no autonomy apart from her creator's will, something that the characters remark among themselves every once in a while, creating a meta-narrative confusion between character and author. In one panel, Valentina and Phil discuss their vulnerability to the author, with Phil exclaiming "You're amazing! Alternative content If you are reading this text please install Adobe Flash Player.
Our perception of these two in profile places us an outside observer of the conversation, mirroring what Crepax's own position would be as the artist drawing the scene before him. The characters' apparent consciousness of the existence of their creator, as well as recognition of their submission to him, gives us pause and asks us to reconsider questions of autonomy and agency both within and outside of the narrative.
It also draws attention to the gender ambiguity inherent in Valentina's character, as a strong female living out her male creator's fantasies, which we will explore further below. Within the narrative, the character of Valentina often appears as a passive, submissive object in relation to the other characters. In these moments, Valentina lacks agency, and is the antithesis of a liberated, powerful female who undresses when she wants, for whomever she wants.
Her character is the sort of "female captive" that anti-pornography theorists, such as Gloria Steinham or Andrea Dworkin, despise. Indeed, if we were to stop at the surface of Valentina's forced nudity, she might be representative of "the degrading and demeaning portrayal of the role and status of the human female … as a mere sexual object to be exploited and manipulated sexually" Longino But, Valentina evades this categorization on a number of levels.
First, Crepax's comics do not comply with the "aesthetics of maximum visibility"—at least, the literal, physical visibility pertaining to the body and sex—that Linda Williams cites as necessary for the genre of pornography Hard Core If anything, the "maximum visibility" that Crepax utilizes is a metaphysical one, revealing Valentina's private thoughts and sexual appetite to the reader. It is precisely this insight into the character's interior world that distinguishes Crepax's works from other erotic comics or pin-up girls, such as those of Milo Manara.
Her lines are sharper, less fuzzy and dream-like, removing the aura of unattainability that characterizes Manara's women. It is certainly a sign of the times that we, as readers, are privileged to see Valentina's dreams and imaginings.
She does not simply represent the contemporary woman, in this sense, but reflects one of the principal tenets of the personal is political. Her subconscious, her neuroses and sadomasochistic fantasies are reflective of the revolutionary social changes, particularly with regard to sexuality, that were taking place at the time.
This access to Valentina's interiority, her emotions, thoughts and sexual fantasies, is the truly progressive aspect of Crepax's comics. In a way, this exploration of female interiority is reminiscent of comics designed specifically for women, such as redezu komikku , or Japanese "ladies' comics," hard-core porn comics of the late s, aimed at an audience of young women.
While these comics "do not present … a feminist utopia, nor are they radically subversive," they do "represent real or at least realistic women actively pursuing their own sexual pleasure, taking the initiative in sexual experimentation and otherwise negotiating heterosexual relationships in a world of gender inequalities" Shamoon The resulting intimacy between the probably male reader and the character of Valentina was not just physical, but mental and emotional.
Valentina's pain-pleasure was the primary focus of the both the visual and textual narrative, clearly establishing her as the central figure. In fact, we may argue that the masochistic fantasies that we see really are Valentina's.
Many of the images we see are from her dreams and daydreams, not necessarily giving her active authority, but at least attributing their genesis to her subconscious. The fantasies are presented as hers : the dreams, nightmares and hallucinations come from within her, granting her a sense of authorial or, at least, imaginative, agency.
Crepax is known to have provocatively exclaimed "Valentina is me! This makes us wonder if we are privy to Valentina's read: a contemporary woman's imaginings, or those of her male creator. Perhaps, in the end, it doesn't matter, as long as we don't interpret Valentina's homoerotic, sadomasochistic fantasies as a symbol of emancipated female sexuality, but rather as a sign of the liberated times that allowed Crepax to portray his erotic dreams in such an impactful medium.
Ultimately, the masculinity afforded to Valentina through her author's identification with her pushes the boundaries of gender and sexuality. This dissolution of typical gender dichotomies, the blurring between male fantasies of a woman's imagination and a woman's desire conceived by the male mind, is yet another symptom of the liberated times in which the comic was created.
The masochistic qualities of Valentina's fantasies are critical to understanding the progressive nature of her identity, as well as the complicated relationship between her and her creator. These characters may be men or women, but they noticeably act in situations where Valentina is rendered inept.
Valentina's body language suggests that she is constantly struggling, is never a free agent or acting on her own free will. She is not a typical "femme fatale, aware and lucid in her evil" "femme fatale, consapevole e lucida nella sua malizia" [Seveso ] , but is always fighting, both in dreams and in reality, and usually losing her clothes in a forced, violent fashion.
Instead, it is through the act of fantasizing that Valentina asserts her power, even if she plays the role of the victim and not the dominatrix within those fantasies. It is the conscious and subconscious creation of these "domains of resistance"  that allow her character to explore sexual taboos and play with traditional power relations. Her dreams and daydreams offer her a space of freedom, mirroring the sexual freedom of , in which she may be considered an inquisitive manipulator of grey space, pre-established boundaries and societal norms.
At the beginning of Valentina Speciale , we find Valentina bound and gagged, whipped and ridden like a horse by an unknown female character, and then forced to have sexual relations with an unknown man against her will.
Eventually, we discover that this extended scene of forced sex and brutality is a dream—is Valentina's dream—placing it within the realm of rape fantasy.
Valentina, as mentioned above, is the fantasizer of these images, arguably revealing either deep-seated fears or desires that once again create an intimacy between reader and character.
These close-ups, and the various angles they provide the viewer, remind us of the theatricality of masochism, the importance of "enacting the erotic scene" rather than the actual experience De Beauvoir Toward the end Valentina protests, "One minute … I can't … I can't do it! There are emotional reasons that prohibit me …" "Un momento … io non posso … non posso farlo! Ci sono delle ragioni affettive che lo impediscono …" Crepax, see Fig. Once again, Crepax focuses on the emotional element of the scene, referencing Valentina's sense of guilt for cheating, albeit against her will, on her true love, Phil.
As she is dreaming, she exclaims, "No … enough … I can't … you're suffocating me …" "No … basta … non posso … mi suffocate …" see Fig. It is critical to note Valentina's facial expressions in these panels, as well as the sounds she is emitting, which certainly seem to signal "erotic bliss.
The "unbearable weight" "Che peso! Che peso insopportabile! In the two comics, there is only one other moment—a fantasy—in which Valentina asserts some amount of control within the narrative. Toward the end of Valentina , after numerous moments of desperation and calls to be saved, Valentina suddenly resents the two male characters who have thus far been her protectors and saviors.
She is angered by the fact that they treat her "like a crazy cry-baby … thinking they must always protect me! This juxtaposition of power is evident in the character's physicality as well. Again, the coexistence of strength and weakness within one character subverts typical dichotomies, revealing how the qualities are not mutually exclusive but may work together toward a common identity. The photographic process—the gaze of the camera, which is also Valentina's gaze—captures the image of women in seductive poses to be consumed by her, by us and by readers of the magazine in which the photographs will be published.
Valentina, with the help of the camera lens, freezes the image of the female as sexual object, deconstructing and dismembering the body in a process of disintegration that does not allow for a complete representation. She orders the models to pose in certain ways, manipulating them with her words so that she can hold them in the positions she wants.
As photographer, then, she becomes author and "animator,"  visually and verbally manipulating the characters before her to bend to her desire, mirroring her own relationship with Crepax.
Valentina's photos are an example of the process of fragmentation of the female body that refuses women a whole, unbroken identity.
The camera breaks the female form into pieces, dismantling and objectifying the body as close-up pieces to be visually devoured see Fig. While Seveso sees this fragmentation as a reflection of the failure of communication intrinsic to the modern era,  it is also indicative of the objectification and dissection of the female body in erotic comics. Because of this, it refuses to acknowledge the wholeness of the female body, effectively denying her the completeness of form and representation that a truly emancipated vision would embrace.
This denial of totality via the camera may represent the masculine, or Crepaxian, side of Valentina. Her camera, which effectively freezes and dismembers her women subjects, is a tool that unravels female integrity, or wholeness, rendering them less-than, incomplete, and objectified.
Crepax seeks to reconstitute this broken image through representations of women's interior spaces. The visual fragmentation of the photos and comic panels, however, is difficult to reconstruct.
The final representation of the female, even if it appears to be intact, resembles a re-assemblage of a photograph that has been cut into various pieces only to be taped back together.
The lines of division are still visible even once the image is reconstructed.
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BDSM is a variety of often erotic practices or roleplaying involving bondage , discipline , dominance and submission , sadomasochism , and other related interpersonal dynamics.
Given the wide range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who do not consider themselves as practising BDSM, inclusion in the BDSM community or subculture is usually dependent upon self-identification and shared experience. BDSM is now used as a catch-all phrase covering a wide range of activities, forms of interpersonal relationships , and distinct subcultures.
BDSM communities generally welcome anyone with a non-normative streak who identifies with the community; this may include cross-dressers , body modification enthusiasts, animal roleplayers , rubber fetishists , and others. Activities and relationships within a BDSM context are often characterized by the participants taking on complementary, but unequal roles; thus, the idea of informed consent of both the partners is essential. The terms "submissive" and "dominant" are often used to distinguish these roles: the dominant partner "dom" takes psychological control over the submissive "sub".
The terms "top" and "bottom" are also used: the top is the instigator of an action while the bottom is the receiver of the action. The two sets of terms are subtly different: for example, someone may choose to act as bottom to another person, for example, by being whipped, purely recreationally, without any implication of being psychologically dominated by them, or a submissive may be ordered to massage their dominant partner.
Despite the bottom performing the action and the top receiving they have not necessarily switched roles. The abbreviations "sub" and "dom" are frequently used instead of "submissive" and "dominant". Sometimes the female-specific terms "mistress", "domme" or " dominatrix " are used to describe a dominant woman, instead of the gender-neutral term "dom". The precise definition of roles and self-identification is a common subject of debate within the community. There are distinct subcultures under this umbrella term.
Terminology for roles varies widely among the subcultures. Top and dominant are widely used for those partner s in the relationship or activity who are, respectively, the physically active or controlling participants. Bottom and submissive are widely used for those partner s in the relationship or activity who are, respectively, the physically receptive or controlled participants.
The interaction between tops and bottoms—where physical or mental control of the bottom is surrendered to the top—is sometimes known as "power exchange", whether in the context of an encounter or a relationship. BDSM actions can often take place during a specific period of time agreed to by both parties, referred to as "play", a "scene", or a "session".
Participants usually derive pleasure from this, even though many of the practices—such as inflicting pain or humiliation or being restrained — would be unpleasant under other circumstances. Explicit sexual activity , such as sexual penetration , may occur within a session, but is not essential.
Whether it is a public "playspace"—ranging from a party at an established community dungeon to a hosted play "zone" at a nightclub or social event—the parameters of allowance can vary. The fundamental principles for the exercise of BDSM require that it should be performed with the informed consent of all involved parties. Advocates of RACK argue that SSC can hamper discussion of risk because no activity is truly "safe", and that discussion of even low-risk possibilities is necessary for truly informed consent.
They further argue that setting a discrete line between "safe" and "not-safe" activities ideologically denies consenting adults the right to evaluate risks vs rewards for themselves; that some adults will be drawn to certain activities regardless of the risk; and that BDSM play—particularly higher-risk play or edgeplay —should be treated with the same regard as extreme sports, with both respect and the demand that practitioners educate themselves and practice the higher-risk activities to decrease risk.
RACK may be seen as focusing primarily upon awareness and informed consent, rather than accepted safe practices. For their consent, they must have relevant information extent to which the scene will go, potential risks, if a safeword will be used, what that is, and so on at hand and the necessary mental capacity to judge. The resulting consent and understanding is occasionally summarized in a written " contract ", which is an agreement of what can and cannot take place.
In general, BDSM play is usually structured such that it is possible for the consenting partner to withdraw his or her consent at any point during a scene;  for example, by using a safeword that was agreed on in advance.
Failure to honor a safeword is considered serious misconduct and could even change the sexual consent situation into a crime, depending on the relevant law,  since the bottom or top has explicitly revoked his or her consent to any actions that follow the use of the safeword see Legal status. For other scenes, particularly in established relationships, a safeword may be agreed to signify a warning "this is getting too intense" rather than explicit withdrawal of consent; and a few choose not to use a safeword at all.
This model for differentiating among these aspects of BDSM is increasingly used in literature today. Individual tastes and preferences in the area of human sexuality may overlap among these areas, which are discussed separately here. Bondage and discipline are two aspects of BDSM that do not seem to relate to each other because of the type of activities involved, but they have conceptual similarities, and that is why they appear jointly.
The term bondage describes the practice of physical restraint. Bondage is usually, but not always, a sexual practice. Bondage can also be achieved by spreading the appendages and fastening them with chains or ropes to a St. Andrew's cross or spreader bars. The term discipline describes psychological restraining, with the use of rules and punishment to control overt behavior. Another aspect is the structured training of the bottom. This is also the case in many relationships not considering themselves as sadomasochistic; it is considered to be a part of BDSM if it is practiced purposefully.
The range of its individual characteristics is thereby wide. Often, " contracts " are set out in writing to record the formal consent of the parties to the power exchange, stating their common vision of the relationship dynamic. Such documents have not been recognized as being legally binding, nor are they intended to be. These agreements are binding in the sense that the parties have the expectation that the negotiated rules will be followed. Often other friends and community members may witness the signing of such a document in a ceremony, and so parties violating their agreement can result in loss of face, respect or status with their friends in the community.
In general, as compared to conventional relationships, BDSM participants go to great lengths to negotiate the important aspects of their relationships in advance, and to take great care in learning about and following safe practices. The term sadomasochism is derived from the words sadism and masochism.
These terms differ somewhat from the same terms used in psychology, since those require that the sadism or masochism cause significant distress or involve non-consenting partners. Sadism describes sexual pleasure derived by inflicting pain , degradation, humiliation on another person or causing another person to suffer. On the other hand, the masochist enjoys being hurt, humiliated, or suffering within the consensual scenario.
The terms sadism and masochism are derived from the names of the Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch , based on the content of the authors' works. Although the names of de Sade and Sacher-Masoch are attached to the terms sadism and masochism respectively, the scenes described in de Sade's works do not meet modern BDSM standards of informed consent.
The concepts presented by de Sade are not in accordance with the BDSM culture, even though they are sadistic in nature. With his work the originally theological terms "perversion", "aberration" and "deviation" became part of the scientific terminology for the first time. In , Sigmund Freud described "sadism" and "masochism" in his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality as diseases developing from an incorrect development of the child psyche and laid the groundwork for the scientific perspective on the subject in the following decades.
In the later 20th century, BDSM activists have protested against these conceptual models, as they were derived from the philosophies of two singular historical figures. Both Freud and Krafft-Ebing were psychiatrists; their observations on sadism and masochism were dependent on psychiatric patients, and their models were built on the assumption of psychopathology.
Advocates of BDSM [ who? On a physical level, BDSM is commonly misconceived to be "all about pain". Of the three categories of BDSM, only sadomasochism specifically requires pain, but this is typically a means to an end, as a vehicle for feelings of humiliation, dominance, etc.
In psychology, this aspect becomes a deviant behavior once the act of inflicting or experiencing pain becomes a substitute for or the main source of sexual pleasure. Many BDSM activities might not involve any kind of pain or humiliation, but just the exchange of power and control. Some use the term "body stress" to describe this physiological sensation. The philosopher Edmund Burke defines this sensation of pleasure derived from pain by the word sublime.
There is a wide array of BDSM practitioners who take part in sessions for which they do not receive any personal gratification. They enter such situations solely with the intention to allow their partners to fulfill their own needs or fetishes. Professional dominants do this in exchange of money for the session activities, but non-professionals do it for the sake of their partners.
In some BDSM sessions, the top exposes the bottom to a wide range of sensual experiences, for example: pinching, biting, scratching with fingernails, erotic spanking or the use of objects such as crops , whips , liquid wax , ice cubes , Wartenberg wheels , and erotic electrostimulation devices. The repertoire of possible "toys" is limited only by the imagination of both partners. To some extent, everyday items like clothes-pins , wooden spoons or plastic wrap are used as pervertables.
Trust and sexual arousal help the partners enter a shared mindset. Aside from the general advice related to safe sex , BDSM sessions often require a wider array of safety precautions than vanilla sex sexual behaviour without BDSM elements.
In practice, pick-up scenes at clubs or parties may sometimes be low in negotiation much as pick-up sex from singles bars may not involve much negotiation or disclosure. These negotiations concern the interests and fantasies of each partner and establish a framework of both acceptable and unacceptable activities. Safewords are words or phrases that are called out when things are either not going as planned or have crossed a threshold one cannot handle. They are something both parties can remember and recognize and are, by definition, not words commonly used playfully during any kind of scene.
Words such as no , stop , and don't , are often inappropriate as a safeword if the roleplaying aspect includes the illusion of non-consent. BDSM participants are expected to understand practical safety aspects. For instance, they are expected to recognize that parts of the body can be damaged, such as nerves and blood vessels by contusion , or that skin that can be scarred.
Using crops, whips, or floggers , the top's fine motor skills and anatomical knowledge can make the difference between a satisfying session for the bottom and a highly unpleasant experience that may even entail severe physical harm.
It is necessary to be able to identify each person's psychological " squicks " or triggers in advance to avoid them.
Such losses of emotional balance due to sensory or emotional overload are a fairly commonly discussed issue. It is important to follow participants' reactions empathetically and continue or stop accordingly. Safewords are one way for BDSM practices to protect both parties.
However, partners should be aware of each other's psychological states and behaviors to prevent instances where the "freakouts" prevent the use of safewords. At one end of the spectrum are those who are indifferent to, or even reject physical stimulation. At the other end of the spectrum are bottoms who enjoy discipline and erotic humiliation but are not willing to be subordinate to the person who applies it.
The bottom is frequently the partner who specifies the basic conditions of the session and gives instructions, directly or indirectly, in the negotiation, while the top often respects this guidance. Other bottoms often called "brats" try to incur punishment from their tops by provoking them or "misbehaving". Nevertheless, a purist "school" exists within the BDSM community, which regards such "topping from the bottom" as rude or even incompatible with the standards of BDSM relations.
BDSM practitioners sometimes regard the practice of BDSM in their sex life as roleplaying and so often use the terms "play" and "playing" to describe activities where in their roles.
Play of this sort for a specified period of time is often called a "session", and the contents and the circumstances of play are often referred to as the "scene".
The relationships can be of varied types. Early writings on BDSM both by the academic and BDSM community spoke little of long-term relationships with some in the gay leather community suggesting short-term play relationships to be the only feasible relationship models, and recommending people to get married and "play" with BDSM outside of marriage.
A study, the first to look at these relationships, fully demonstrated that "quality long-term functioning relationships" exist among practitioners of BDSM, with either sex being the top or bottom homosexual couples were not looked at.
The respondents valued themselves, their partners, and their relationships. All couples expressed considerable goodwill toward their partners. The power exchange between the cohorts appears to be serving purposes beyond any sexual satisfaction, including experiencing a sense of being taken care of and bonding with a partner. A professional dominatrix or professional dominant , often referred to within the culture as a "pro-dom me ", offers services encompassing the range of bondage, discipline, and dominance in exchange for money.