Updated: Oct 14, 2018
[CONTAINS NSFW CONTENT] Because being enrolled to a Fashion School is all about the sex and its imagery; the culture of pornography is something that one can study at a University, and that a class in Kama Sutra will enlighten you that that sex itself isn’t bad at all - all through Higher Education, ironically
BY ELIZABETH RAISA TEE
My curiosities began when my respect for heterosexual males has hit its rock bottom
upon my preadolescent #MeToo episodes.
I started my own quest to seek for answers. I couldn’t speak or discuss with anybody
during my teenage years on this matter critically either.
Simultaneously, I have diminished my own sexuality; I still get attracted to the opposite
sex, have crushes but felt somewhat asexual to it all. I diminish it because my body in Asia is unacceptable (I used to complain and wonder why I developed these D-cup-sized breasts. South Korea females have the same sentiments as I). Why does sex sells? Why can’t
males control themselves like females with their libidos? What’s so good about it,
because sounds painful? This was me, aged 15.
And so, my first undergraduate degree was extremely and sexually charged – obviously
to study fashion at age 15 means you got to be mature enough; we’re dealing with
bodies being objectified and adorned every single day. I enrolled to also answer my
question, still in the same resonance of why does every single fashion picture needs to
Quick background into art history: the Renaissance gaze versus the fashion gaze
towards human bodies are antipodeans, as the former appreciates mortal beings just as
is where corpulence signifies abundance and of wealth, whereas the latter being all
phallic and charged by innuendos to feel appreciated.
Why does sex sells? Why can’t males control themselves like females with their libidos? What’s so good about it, because sounds painful? This was me, aged 15
During the tenure that I was a fashion student, I created those fashion images, argued
within papers and papers of the male gaze and dressed countless naked female and
male bodies by age 18 of being a dresser.
To me, it was just a show and I saw them as breathing pieces of meat that’s going to bring my clothes to life. Let the audience feel the sexual injections there; I didn’t need do feel it, since I was taking my job professionally.
Besides, I knew I had a body that would’ve invited the active male gaze I dislike receiving. It was the look of the predator that I still shudder only by thinking about it. I absolutely felt displaced, therefore I’m still steadfast with no-drinking at night and sleep that invites the gaze I’m truly disgusted still.
One class in college then struck me to introduce a small range of Japanese avant-garde
designers that pushes the boundaries of the female silhouette. It was captivatingly different and it clicked to my head that ‘this is the kind of armour I’d like to wear everyday’.
Over the years later, the Harajuku influence or the Avant Garde aesthetics made me, me.
To adorn myself a la singer Kyary-Pamyu-Pamyu means you can’t be adult-objectified as
mass times. It was 'Anti-Fashion' at its best.
So does with the deathly avant-garde, with layers and layers of austerity, darkness,
sarcasm, wisdom, and protection – it was not designed for the male gaze but to
empower myself and becoming presentably comfortable in the eye of the public.
Reflecting on this made me realised my conscious psychological decisions of how I have
constructed my identity and personality, and how I chose to project these attributes
about myself to the world because my fashion choice was and has been very clear – I
don’t ooze innuendo; I armour myself in my Peterpan Complex defense mechanism.
I was glad that I found this to be my second skin, standing out in an asexual way so I
could progress on with my life, focusing what’s more important: my priorities, the
causes I support, my circle of friends, and my ambitions.
Besides, I knew I had a body that would’ve invited the active male gaze I dislike receiving. It was the look of the predator that I still shudder only by thinking about it... the gaze I’m truly disgusted still.
It doesn’t end there, of course. I continued to seek for more answers, such as, “What and
how is copulating so desirable?”
Enter my postgraduate degree. I enrolled when I was 20. Pornography, politics and
protest Japanese post-war cinema was a unit I took. I tried to understand, put myself
in their shoes, those who are dependent of ‘comfort women’ in the past, being brutally
forced just for the males.
Always for the males.
I really start to despise males at all my life right now (However still get attracted and
love the boys as much as I hate them).
To learn the kinkiest and most unimaginable depictions of sex, then you need to nod to
Japan. The Japanese society is one of the ‘innovative’ extreme societies when it comes to
expressing their sexual desires. It’s neither frowned upon nor beleaguering – when you
are compressed to small, tiny boxes at work and at home, you could see yourself
imagining to the craziest, most ‘creative’ ideas on how to get out of it.
You probably need to thank them for doing the prototyping.
That box is a metaphor for pressure and work stress combined; they’d like to release it
with all the equal pain, tensions, torture, of what they have received, into a female’s
body. Kinbaku-bi culture, which my friend and I attended a show in London there and
then, made me:
awe of its art of bondage, since I was there for the performance;
females are bloody darn resilient being gravitated on air when rough, raw ropes pressed against their most sensitive flesh of genitals;
tying those knots really does take time to learn then practise on someone, what an art. Finding pleasures through pain and torture and the hype of 50 Shades of Grey rolled my eyes. It wasn’t original.
Nor a scene of a male releasing it to a dog or a horse; Japan has done it all. I have seen
everything through an analytical, conscious, sociological way.
As a matter of fact, I had to seek further answers why my view on sex has been indoctrinated as something negative. My day-to-day association of sex conjures negative connotations such as rape, harassments, brothels, child labour syndicate, which is very much unfortunate – and that’s the news I’m exposed to everyday to have shaped my negativity towards it.
And so, one evening of my philosophy class discussed the Kama Sutra. To my surprise,
Kama Sutra is an Eastern philosophy about love-making and sex as an act of celebration
of two physical beings being unified through love and support, documented in times
Before Christ and it was the times when the West lionized chastity in the name of
Christianity. Hear, hear, it's all to attain worldly pleasure, and that’s totally okay.
Ironically, look at where we are now when you mix religion into politics. When could we
return to the times where sex is considered beautiful, sacred, nothing to be ashamed or
afraid of when mutual respect is given, sacred and a way to connect between Earthly
creatures to the spiritual realm?
But the tables have then turned completely once again when the doctrine gets
overwhelming and people decide to break those religious rules and now, the East
completely closes itself under the name of religion, demeaning it as a taboo, and to even
speak or chat about lovemaking – all the girls and ladies are still slightly flushed when
these topics arise.
It used to be a pure way to connect and celebrate a union, but put the mix of politics and
religion to try and shape the society and now you get is this immutable noise, which we
only can justify ourselves within our boundaries and beliefs whether at church,
meditation, and your own beliefs.
I wish that I had a space to speak my mind and ask scientific to philosophical questions growing up, perhaps we wouldn’t have so much confusion or the introversion to address such important matter that impacts lives - which I've found mine, and I hope you would too with us here at P#T?
About the Author
Elizabeth Raisa Tee is the founder of Perempuan Tagar Tegar (P#T) , a non-profit movement and online hotline for all your female toxic issues and also currently serves as assistant producer of It’s A Girl Thing Live, the first international girl empowerment conference in Jakarta after Singapore and Manila, among the many other things she’s done and still runs in several cities and countries. She is aged 25 at the time of writing.