Re: virus: sexuality

KMO prime (
Mon, 16 Sep 1996 23:07:35 EDT

On Mon, 16 Sep 1996 13:51:45 -0700 (Ken Pantheists)

>I think it is important to note that what you refer to as lesbian
>imagery is
>not actually lesbian, because it is intended for a primarily straight

Of course, if actual lesbian imagery must be intended for a primarily
lesbian audience, then it would be logically impossible for advertisers
to create lesbian imagery with the intention of directing it at an
audience of heterosexual women.

Aside from that logical note, I think you echoed the themes of my
original post.

>I think it is a popular advertising meme that exploits current
>interest in
>seeing women in strong and or independent roles but inserts the shock
>and titillation of lesbianism. It only works on straight audiences
>lesbians don't really find it shocking.

If the shock value is essential for this imagery to be attention-grabbing
then we should expect lesbian imagery to wane in the media as it's shock
value is diminished. The shock value of such imagery will decrease as
people see it more and more frequently. Personally, I think lesbian
imagery will continue to find propagative success in the C-Realm because
the current barrage of lesbian imagery is shaping our collective and
individual psyches. It's programming us to find such imagery appealing.
Anybody who's read C knows that I am quite fond of lesbian imagery. I
frequently wonder if I've been programmed by pornography to find this
sort of imagery appealing. I've pretty much decided that such is the
case, but that realization won't stop me from continuing to produce that
brand of erotic imagery. Quite to the contrary, the lesbian imagery in C
serves as yet another example of self-replicating meme-complexes that
don't benefit their human hosts. Or maybe they do. Can anyone think of
a survival advantage that a predilection for lesbian images would confer
on heterosexual men and women?

Of course, my primary objective with that last paragraph was to engineer
a context in which I could casually mention that C, the comics project
that occupies much of my time and cognitive capacity, contains lesbian
imagery. The really great part about it is that my admission that my
whole effort was a crass self-promotion will in no way decrease its
effectiveness as bait. The only problem is that there is no lesbian
imagery in any of the C material that you can currently find at There will be soon, so check it out.

There's a potential "chicken or egg" obstacle in an investigation of the
memetic forces underlying the phenomenon of the successful propagation of
lesbian imagery in media directed primarily at heterosexual audiences.
(And now that I'm out of school, I expect my sentences will get shorter
as I add fewer of the unnecessary qualifiers and details that turn my
sentences into thirty five-word, self-referential monsters like this
one.) It is a variant of the cause/effect question of violence in the
media. The media focusses on violence in our culture as we perceive an
increase of actual violence in our environment. Does the media reflect
the violence in our culture, or is it a cause? To steal from the
Disposable Hero's of Hippodrome,

T.V., is it the reflector or the director?
Does it imitate us
or do we imitate it
Because a child watches 1500 murders before he's
twelve years old and we wonder how we've created
a Jason generation that learns to laugh
rather than abhor the horror

Do the money grubbing porn merchants peddle so much
lesbian-oriented-but-not-for-lesbians ("girl/girl" is the industry term
of choice) imagery because we, the consumers, like it, or do we
inveterate consumers of girl/girl porn like it because we were weaned on
the stuff? Even if it's a self-iterative process in which the steady and
enduring supply exacerbates the demand, what started the snowball?
Maybe it's a plot by a world-wide conspiracy of bisexual women who want
to program men to desire three-way sex. Maybe I've gone too far. Maybe
I've been reveling in this opportunity to talk about images of nude and
scantily clad women embracing, kissing, and exploring each others
curvaceous bodies in a supposedly dispassionate intellectual forum. I'm
going to stop now. If you want more, read C.

Take care, all. -KMO