Can we see a pattern emerging?
Do we see a certain fear … no! … wrong word … not “fear” but rather a wariness in being seen to join in any seemingly “suggestive” activity, even if only looking or reading something that may hint of impropriety?
Recently … a couple of weeks ago … I put up a post; The Eroticism of Hildegarde Hempel … it got several hundred clicks on it … that’s alright … but only one actual comment on the piece from the reliable and perceptive Anne Byam … who correctly observed what I was trying to convey in the writing:
“Anne Byam October 10, 2020 at 2:42 pm
A delightful read again Joseph, with great visual imagery which sent me to a place I believe I might have been many decades ago – but certainly to the people and their actions, speech and body language etc.
An excellent portrayal of people and not so much of a by-gone day, either. Just as relevant today, as far as whispers and rumours, as it was in the yesteryear.
Cheers ~~ ”
No … not so much of a by-gone day … You see, I drew inspiration for that modest social observation from a story by Guy de Maupassant: The Piece of String, where a thrifty peasant stops to pick up a piece of string from the road, and in doing so is spotted in the action by a person he dislikes and the coincidental loss of a wallet is misconstrued and reported by that peasant’s enemy as the action in picking up that piece of string and the consequences thereof … no spoiler alert from me! … a great story …
In the story, the peasant ends up dying of the stress to clear his name and there are none who believe his simple explanation of the piece of string … in my story, the main character is already deceased before her good name is put under suspicion … indeed, the simple mention of the one word; “Erotic” … was enough to throw suspicion on the innocent Hildegarde Hempel, and so the rumour mill grinds on … certainly the same today as of yesteryear … on nothing but the strength of one little word or action …
And I’ll tell you why I can say that with a degree of certainty …
I put my stories up on my Facebook page, where I have a modest readership of relatives and frenemies, who usually place at least a “like” to my posts … yet this particular post drew absolutely zilch “likes” or comments … even no “visits” to my blog where I first placed the story from Facebook … unusual … I then experimented and put up a picture of little consequence with no explanation at all to accompany it … and almost immediately there were the usual suspects gracing the post with likes … So I have to conclude that with the insertion of the word “Eroticism”, that previous post was just that little bit “over the line” of acceptable decency to warrant a look … a “blush” of modesty?
I confess that the use of the word “eroticism” was a deliberate choice … rather than … ”innocence” or “mistake” … or even “guilt” … to name a few considerations for the title that passed through my mind … I chose “erotic” for the hidden voluptuousness and suggestiveness of that word … that directed the mood of the story … vis: that people are more driven by salacious rumour than actual fact … that gossip and suspicion can play a greater part in a person’s demise than actual action … and to this end I feel I was proven correct … and the fact that it was only Anne Byam who dared to make comment on a perfectly straight story as against any number that comment on the most banal posts everyday shows a bent toward avoiding being drawn into social commentary that could mean taking sides.
Truly … a “Study in Scarlet” … if not the scarlet letter …
And this is why I think many people now are over-cautious in such a degree concerning matters of women’s eroticism.
I suspect that the image of heterosexual women has become captive in a web of perceived fraudulent “ownership” of the gender by extremist feminists and dominant political “identity queens” so that a manufactured image of what they perceive womanhood should look like and what should be looked at, is the only one permitted on the “stage of life” … Any perception of the “erotic” or “sexualised” heterosexual woman is verboten and as a result, about the only “permitted imagery” we see these days of attractive women is of either sterile anatomical observation or “soft” pornography … even those moments on screen of men and women in a lover’s sexual embrace are so woodenly enacted as to become brutal, sharp and brittle, that the sensitive male has to wince and turn one’s eyes away … ”that’s no way to treat a lady” … no more room or allowance of admiration, fully clothed or otherwise, of the curvaceous classic lines of female beauty for beauty’s sake in itself, lest one attract the condemning eye of ferocious accusation from the “owners” of the gender demanding remorse or guilt for any act of visionary delight!
But I am fully aware that any heterosexual woman, confident of her own sexuality and capacity to attract attention to themselves to fulfil her social needs does not need to heed or make acknowledgement of those more fanatical elements of society … and more power to them for it!
I wrote on this situation a long while ago and the article was taken down after protest from some of the above-mentioned cabal … I post the link to that piece here; I’m worried about you ladies, (lurve those 40’s fashions and hairstyles!)
I again write of this conundrum to provoke some commentary on such an important subject, lest we all become too accepting of an artificial construct of the gender issues that only suit a small percentage of us all.
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