Erotic or Pornographic?

Erotic or Pornographic?

I was debilitating whether or not I should post this image. It’s a very risqué shot, and super sensual.
You may zoom in as much as you need to as what appears to be flashing is in fact the crease my thumbnail makes… or is it…?
And you cannot see the thing I’m wearing…or am I wearing one?
This would be considered an “erotic photograph”.
Erotic photography is something that is visually sexually suggestive or sexually provocative in nature.
There’s always a debate whether “Erotic” Photography is in actual fact the same as “Pornographic” photography…

Erotic photography is often distinguished from nude photography, which contains nude subjects not necessarily in an erotic situation, and pornographic photography, which is of a sexually-explicit nature.

Pornographic photography is generally defined as “obscene” and lacking in artistic/aesthetic value. However, the line between art and pornography has been both socially and legally debated, and many photographers have created work that intentionally ignores these distinctions.

Though erotic often relates to, exciting, or expressing sexual attraction or desire; pornography would be the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement.

For many people, any attempt to define the word pornography calls to mind the often-quoted line from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in 1964: “. . . I know it when I see it.” While compilers of dictionaries might wish to be granted such latitude in explaining the meaning of certain words, they are held to a higher standard. Pornography, which has been used in English since the middle of the 19th century, comes from the Greek pornographos  (“writing about prostitutes”), and initially referred to visual or written matter designed to cause sexual arousal, a meaning that is still the most common one employed today. Pornography has taken on an additional, non-sexualized, sense: one that refers to a depiction of sensational material (such as violence) in order to elicit a reaction. The phrase “pornography of violence,” for example, began to be used in the early 1950s.

Eroticism is a highly misunderstood genre. But like some of the greatest figures and thinkers in Western history — those that are typically misunderstood by the masses, are misunderstood for a reason: because they resonate at an uncommon frequency and, in the end, they are tremendously complex in content and pungent in texture, color, and composition. It can be explicit, but typically eroticism does not have the sole intent of sex, or exploring otherwise, an act of sex — topically. In literature, to simply describe an act of sex is more or less pornographic. But, articulating why that act of sex is powerful and why one should be reverent about that act — that is erotica.

Using a simpler example; it is like comparing Burlesque Dancing to a contemporary form of striptease. A burlesque dancer is gentle, and ultimately the whole experience is about the slow reveal. The smile, and the build-up of the tease. There is a sense of something tender and glamourous. Whereas with stripping; it is a much faster pace dance that focusses on arousal as soon as possible.

With my personal work, it aimed for you the viewer to enjoy it as a sensual and erotic experience. Something in which it may evoke your senses, and your imagination. Furthermore hopefully an inspiration or encouragement of creativity in your own personal life. I regularly update my galleries, and have several sets of my more risqué work amongst my nude work. Personally I endeavour to focus on sensuality and the nude woman form – may I successfully deliver as such.

**Sources: Merriam Webster; Wikipedia; medium.com

What is a “real woman”

What is a “real woman”

Every Women’s Month we are reminded – more than usual – how we as women need to stand up and rise. How us as women should go for our goals and dreams. How we should all stand up for one another and empower each other. We are reminded of the current femicide; the gender inequality that we face and the sexual violence and attacks on us women and on children. It’s amazing to see how more and more women do indeed embrace themselves and start standing up for one another. From a personal point of view I’ve always felt that we can all win. There is no “competition”.

Over the last little while I have however noticed how easy it is for women to throw around the “men-are-trash” terms and love to jump onto that bandwagon when it suits them; however some of the same women would post: “A real women would never…” or the whole body-shaming and slut-shaming thing. One can only deduct that this type of opinions would certainly be of those how have not felt adequate enough or perhaps even insecure themselves. I’d really love to know how any of these ladies actually stand up for other women and cheer for them – regardless if it’s something they would personally do or not do.

I find it ironic how many of these ladies demand respect and recognition for being a Queen. For being empowered and independent; yet have no problem pointing out the unruliness of another empowered woman. When another woman’s courage becomes a “vanity” problem; or someone’s self-confidence is suddenly highlighted as “no self-respect”. Earlier this evening I read on a lady’s post that “real women do not need the validation from other people, therefore, they do not seek attention by wearing little clothing”. Is that not just loaded with “I wish I could be brave enough to dress whichever way I want to and not care what others think whilst winning”?

This leads me to the two questions: 1. Since when has the amount of clothing made you more or less successful invalidating your own feelings or your self worth? 2. How does the amount of clothing you wear or the amount of skin make you less or more valuable as an individual? How does said woman praise and shout for women empowerment yet at the same time shoot any lady down that shows a little more skin than she would dare? This also sounds like the very same woman that may just say that the amount of clothing you wear would be equal to the amount of respect you earn/deserve.

Recently I have discussed the numbers of women who are raped in South Africa per annum (note that due to the number of cases that are not reported; it is not possible to give a correct number of possible rapes per hour/day/month/year) and consequently to that the number of gender-based violence.

Population-based surveys show very high levels of intimate partner violence (IPV) and non-partner sexual violence (SV) in particular, with IPV being the most common form of violence against women.

  • Whilst people of all genders perpetrate and experience intimate partner and or sexual violence, men are most often the perpetrators and women and children the victims
  • More than half of all the women murdered (56%) in 2009 were killed by an intimate male partner
  • Between 25% and 40% of South African women have experienced sexual and/or physical IPV (intimate partner violence) in their lifetime
  • Just under 50% of women report having ever experienced emotional or economic abuse at the hands of their intimate partners in their lifetime
  • Prevalence estimates of rape in South Africa range between 12% and 28% of women ever reporting being raped in their lifetime
  • Between 28 and 37% of adult men report having raped a woman
  • Non-partner SV is particularly common, but reporting to the police is very low. One study found that one in 13 women in Gauteng had reported non-partner rape, and only one in 25  rapes had been reported to the police
  • South Africa also faces a high prevalence of gang rape
  • Most men who rape do so for the first time as teenagers and almost all men who ever rape do so by their mid-20s
  • There is limited research into rape targeting women who have sex with women. One study across four Southern African countries, including South Africa, found that 31.1% of women reported having experienced forced sex
  • Male victims of rape are another under-studied group. One survey in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape found that 9.6% of men reported having experienced sexual victimisation by another man

What the stats above do not show are the number of women who are verbally or psychologically abused by other women. How people are targeted, bullied and called out on social media for the way they live their life or for what they choose to post about themselves on social media. How women would rather band together and stand up with other men; slut-shaming women who post selfies and/or “sexy” images on social media, than standing up for those women. It’s easy to say “men-are-trash” when a guy makes a funny by posting a “women belong in the kitchen” joke, yet it is okay to agree with the same guy calling out another woman who has found self-confidence and enjoys posting about herself/her outfit/her weight gain or loss/her sock and shoes/the food she eats/the competition she took part in etc etc. One of the latest repetitive posts I see is “I’m so tired of all these selfies with quotes and all you see is bum and boobs” or “show me a real woman who does not feel like she needs validation or attention from the whole world by showing off her body”. What does that even mean? What makes a woman a “real” woman?

I feel our country specifically is facing a tough time. Apart from the global economical damage that we are facing, the all-time high unemployment rate that is continually rising and our own government’s crimes and corruption; we are facing a particular tricky era where we as women are rising. Standing up against the oppression of what our fore-mothers faced. We are in an incredible era where we as women have more of a voice than ever before. Yet here you are, spitting on another queen who’s rising in her own time on her own terms in her own way. Standing with all the aggression against other women. What kind of empowerment are you after? Why demand equality, justice and empowerment when you stand up and laugh other women down. Calling them out for believing in themselves? Knocking them down for owning who they are? What is a “real woman”? One who can clap for another woman, without judgement, without malice and without misogyny.

Social Media’s hold

Social Media’s hold

Captured by
Boudoir Fusion Photography
Inked by Tony from
Awhe Tattoo Studio

I’ve recently decided that I have too many eggs in one basket and too many fingers in a pie. And as much as it’s brilliant to think that I am a “Jack of all trades”- reality is that where you focus you grow. And unfortunately it is impossible to grow in too many avenues.

I have had to deal with a few personal challenges which caused another Lupus flare. This consisted of mostly extreme fatigue, flu-like symptoms, aching joints and recently swollen face. Not being able to sleep comfortably yet feeling so incredibly exhausted really took its toll. Then the social media frustrations…

As most of you know; I’ve taken a short break from Social Media. This was prompted after the frustration of not being able to follow other accounts, like others’ posts at times and not being able to comment on other’s posts. Should you not know this; these actions are all integral for the growth of your social media profiles. (Besides the fact that I actually enjoy interacting with my followers.)

I do not take it [social media] too seriously; however I do depend on getting work through some of my social media pages. This all led to me deciding on a little detox. Now as much as such a decision is rather easy; allot of my close friends continue checking up on me asking me whether I’m “coping” without my Social Media accounts. Was I really that much on those platforms that people thought I’d struggle?

Whilst all of this is said with tongue in cheek, one of the scariest realisations recently is that people place so much value on social media that they actually identify their social standing or even their life accomplishments on being “available, present and seen” on their profiles. Their “likes” and “followers” become such an obsession that they begin to identify themselves with it! Studies have now shown that teen depression and teen suicidal tendencies are at its highest ever. This largely due to the pressure of a “false life” on social media.

Captured by
Boudoir Fusion Photography
Inked by Tony from
Awhe Tattoo Studio

You see it way too often on the story lines. You see someone you idolise at some prominent restaurant and perhaps take a short video of sipping on some exotic drink with bags of shopping around them. This now seems very ideal; and probably cool to the average teen, who copies this. Only they try and emulate what they saw. Perhaps trying on the newest brand clothing and posting it as if they have just bought it. Another peer sees this and envies this. Perhaps goes to a bespoke bar and takes a snap insinuating that they dine there. This is seen by others who now feel so depressed that they are unable to afford these kind of life styles exhibited by their peers. And so the circle continues. Talking to people “in the know”, social media is still so new that these issues that come along with it is just as new, and our experts have no experience in treating this. Or very little at the moment.

It’s become quite evident how Social Media can take over and how one can allow it to affect them. Taking breaks and also limiting the amount of time you “check” on what’s going on, “checking in” to see what is going on, and “checking new likes and follows”, all will benefit your mental health I assure you. What I have personally realised from this is that when I have a spare moment I usually grab my phone and try catching up.

When I announced that I’d take a break, I deleted every social media application off my phone. This not only takes away temptation to “just quickly check what’s going on”, but also in those moments that you’d forget about your decision. I am so surprised that I have continuously had a couple moments free time and automatically went for my phone to catch up, only to see a void where the apps were – and feeling literally confused and lost. Like what now? What can I do with the time I used to spend on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter?

With most smart phones now; you are able to gauge how much time is spent on your phone, and reminders “to take breaks”.

This break from my virtual reality made me realise that I’m not only “detoxing” from Social Media, I’m freeing up “thinking space” and allowing my creative juices to flow freely. Less human interaction – which in reality exhausted me – and more ME time. Whilst social media is an integral part of what I do; I will from now on take one day completely away from all social media, as well as once a month take a four day break. I’d suggest to anyone and everyone to do the same. Take days completely away from Social Media – to allow your mind a break as well as to connect with nature/family/real life/ hobbies etc. It is so easy to get carried away with this virtual reality. So easy to loose sight of YOU. So easy to get caught up in other people’s (pretend?) lives and neglect your own self.

Captured by
Boudoir Fusion Photography
Inked by Tony from
Awhe Tattoo Studio
Free the Nipple and stop eating loudly!

Free the Nipple and stop eating loudly!

There is not much more to say. It’s the same old story as always. Why the heck in this day and age are we being penalised for having a body part that we were ALL born with. Why is a nipple so friggen offensive?

I ran a question on my Instagram storyline, asking what the most sensual part of a lady is. Out of all the answers (approximately 270) only TWO people mentioned nipples. Do you know what the most mentioned body part was? Lips and Eyes. ***Insert me waving my hands here*** BOTH of those body parts are – as with nipples – body parts that most of us were born with… **waving hands in extreme gestures yet again** What is it that I do not get? What am I missing here?

I understand that our genitals – created for natural body functions as well as for reproductive functions; is a complete different story. It is something that may change in appearance and in different senses throughout different emotions. A nipple? It becomes erect when you’re cold. Other than that a female human may or may not use it to feed an infant. THAT.IS.IT.

Most of my images and work include my bare chest. For social media purposes, I would censor these yet there are still some MOFO’s who seem to think that my poor nipples are deadly! Shameful! Disrespectful! YIKES! And If they don’t seem to be offended, Facebook and Facebook-owned companies are devastated when another human born with the same biological structure, may just show that fridge body part. I mean let’s face it, my children must be absolutely screwed since they touched and suckled off my puppy noses 8 months each. Never mind SEEING it….nearly every day!

Personally I feel that wearing corduroy suits should not be done in public, nor should people be allowed to eat with their mouth open (or eat loudly, or scrape their plates with a knife and fork) however we live and let live and I don’t friggen report any of them.

And as one would have it with a communists-like run company such as Facebook and Instagram – my accounts are forever reported, and there is no human that could deal with it from the company’s side. Instagram removed my account – now it seems like it may even have been hacked. It’s been a week and you hear nothing. You can spam them all you like; however, it’s a multi-billion-dollar company that couldn’t give a feck who complaints (just look at their support system and inbox – millions of support requests hanging….unanswered for months on end). The latest thing? You are told what you can and cannot say. You are told what you can or cannot post regarding politics, religion and sexual orientation (*cough* sound just like being told to wear a mask *cough*) However, if you are sexually harassed or bullied they ignore the victims attempt to report it. And the culprits happily carries on.

Nothing and no one was hurt in the creation of this image

So I guess I will climb back into my box, censor the crap out of my poor pink jellytots that upsets Facebook world and their followers (I even added jewellery to enhance the scariness), and silently curse those loud eaters and folks who insist on wearing bad shoes.

Hey, if you are not afraid of my chest berries – head on over to my nude gallery….if you dare 😂

OH and if you don’t already. Check out my social media accounts – they are restricted of course however I do share some content 😜

Your Understanding vs My Reality

Your Understanding vs My Reality

Many a times I am asked the strangest questions; (strange to me) about what I do – or I hear the assumptions and can’t help but have a giggle.

To understand what I do, is to understand why I am doing what I do first. Have I lost you? What I mean is that when you look at my work, my posts on Instagram and my website; there is a general assumption as to what I do without realising what I actually do.

In the past I’ve received private messages on Social Media…

Asking for explicit images of me sometimes posing in suggestive ways. Usually this amuses me; and I always ask what gave them the idea that I’d do that or that I’m a porn star. And usually the response would be that I shouldn’t get offended as I am the one “asking for it” by posting nude images of myself. My first question would usually be : where did I show my genitals and second question : where do I pleasure myself.

You see, we as humans, and we as society have been lied to for so many years that we actually believe that the human body is a dirty, sinful thing when not covered with fabric. We have taught generations of children to be ashamed of themselves. To be embarrassed with what we were born with. That evil creatures will lurk around any corner and will pounce on you for showing a little too much skin. That there would be justification for those acts! You asked for it after all by “exposing” some of what you were born with!!

I was asked in a recent interview what I’d tell anyone who condemns what I do or brand my work as pornography. The difficult thing is that I cannot change society’s mind single handily. I do however believe that if we brought our children up to love their own bodies, and not to be ashamed of their bodies, that we respect each other’s naked bodies – not by hiding it but accepting it as natural and normal. Not to sexualise nudity and skin; that it would solve so many of our crimes and the worlds issues today.

Think about it…

There would be less sexual crimes, less depression due to self esteem issues, less self harm and eating disorders. Imagine a world with more confidence and acceptance of one self? We would have so much more success in every business sector! So many more people would achieve their dreams and optimum productivity!

Captured by Boudoir Fusion Photography

I digress. Years ago when I posed for a boudoir shoot, and whilst changing outfits, the photographer of the day asked whether he could take a shot (picture) of me. My back was facing him and I was dressed in only my knickers. I felt a little shy yet intrigued. I’ve never really had an issue with being naked; yet I’ve never actually thought of being photographed naked.

Once I got changed into my next outfit the photographer showed me on the LCD viewer what he had taken of me whilst topless. It was a gorgeous shot. It summed up to me; what I see in women. Soft, elegant, warm, feminine, sensual, love, beauty all in one. I was amazed that THAT was me! And so I was happy to shoot implied nude. After realising that this not only motivated me to share the beauty of a woman, but also to encourage other women – who do not have self confidence – that they are in fact beautiful in their own skin!

After a few months of shooting boudoir and implied nude; I met Peter from Boudoir Fusion Photography who took my first bodyscape images and I was blown away! Never mind that the images I was looking at; was of me!!! However; the human body is so darn beautiful. And every other bodyscape that Peter have done, took my breath away. I quickly learned that my art, my expression through my modelling and the images taken by me, can show emotion and can evoke emotion.

When you look at my work…

I would like to believe that most people see past the ‘nakedness’. That you notice the colours, the shapes, the textures in the images. That you are able to feel or notice whether there is sorrow, or happiness. Whether the image is more of a fine art piece to be hung on a wall of a surgeons office, or something that could be looked at or admired from your mobile phone screen, used in an advertising campaign empowering women, or used as a PC screensaver. That you can believe that I’m more than a ‘naked woman’; someone who at the age of 39 believes wholeheartedly that ANYONE can love themselves and is art. That anyone – no matter what your age, your size or your background – can love the skin that they are in. That nudity DOES NOT equal sexuality.

I love modelling, photography and matters of the heart and mind. I love art. I love the human body. Combine all of these; and you will find what I do. This is only the beginning…

NO to silence

NO to silence

It bothers me…I’m not sure exactly how however it is time to change things. To make a difference. After a sequence of several events over the past few weeks (months….years!), I’m feeling beat. It won’t last long considering the person I am, however, I am there now and I’m acknowledging this and try and remain present. I’ve come to realise that my “job” or life purpose have always been to help others. As it’s many of our life purposes.

Usually, you’d find someone who has been through some traumatic experiences; become either a beacon for others or the other end of the spectrum and face self-destruction. This does not make you weak or strong. Sometimes we are just not ready or just have had enough OR we feel tenacious about living and giving and changing and growing. Sometimes that would happen soon after trauma and other times it would take years and years. Why am I telling you this?

During my personal lifetime I was sexually abused and molested. I was physically and psychologically abused…as a child and as a partner and adult. I am part of the statistics.

DID YOU KNOW: It is estimated that over 40% of South African women will be raped in their lifetime and that only 1 in 9 rapes are reported. It is also estimated that 14% of perpetrators of rape are convicted in South Africa.

Sexual offences is a broad crime category that includes rape, compelled rape, sexual assault, incest, bestiality, statutory rape and the sexual grooming of children. The number of reported sexual offences increased to 52,420 in 2018/19 from 50,108 in 2017/18. Most of these were cases of rape. The sexual offences crime rate increased from 88.3 per 100,000 in 2017/18 to 90.9 in 2018/19.

South Africa’s legal definition of rape is broad. It includes the oral, anal or vaginal penetration of a person (male or female) with a genital organ, anal or vaginal penetration with any object and the penetration of a person’s mouth with the genital organs of an animal. The police recorded 41,583 rapes in 2018/19, up from 40,035 rapes in 2017/18. This means an average of 114 rapes were recorded by the police each day. The rape rate increased from 70.5 in 2017/18 to 72.1 in 2018/19. But the police’s rape statistics should not be viewed as an “accurate measure of either the extent or trend of this crime”.

THERE IS NO RECENT NATIONAL REPRESENTITAVE ESTIMATE HOW MANY WOMEN ARE RAPED IN SOUTH AFRICA EACH YEAR

With ALL of my sexual abuse; I never reported it. I did not reach out to anyone. I was afraid of being judged. Afraid that it was actually my fault. I should never have had alcohol that night, or should never have told him that I liked him. I should never have worn the type of clothes I wore. Maybe he didn’t hear my “no” loud enough. Maybe I didn’t scream “no”, it was, in fact, a thought in my mind. Maybe I was dirty like he told me I was.

My first sexual abuse I don’t remember much as I was three. My second rape was when I was 16 and was bunking school with my best girlfriend and two guys we knew from the boy’s technical school. We got alcohol from another friend and got absolutely wasted. I passed out at some point; the clearly remember screaming as it felt like a hot poker was being pushed up between my legs. The amount of blood was frightening. I had a crush on him… he was smart and kind, and incredibly gorgeous… he raped me. The police arrived and escorted everyone back to school where their parents were being called. I am not sure how or why but I went directly to my house. Where I alternated between bathing and showering. My mum got home and was beyond infuriated with me, however when she saw my knickers the shame that washed over me is still today unexplainable. She insisted that I told her what happened and I lied. I told her it was ‘that time of the month’.

When I was 19 I briefly dated a well-known individual who loved to parade me around in front of his peers, family and friends. He forced himself onto me within the first week of dating and forced me to wash him and his genitals after; as I was “disgusting”. I did not speak of this until years later when it dawned upon me that these events have left me questioning my self-worth.

This past week I have gone to our local police station to report suspicion of sexual abuse of a minor; yet was not only treated like I was the offender; I was told that if the mother did not want to take care of this, or know about it, then I should not get involved. That I should keep my nose out their business. This same week a friend of mine had to report the theft of her intellectual property used and distributed without her say-so or knowledge. She was helped by a female police officer that insisted she shares the private information verbally whilst she was surrounded by men at the station. She insisted that the friend must share the intellectual property by printing it off.

I am fortunate enough to have met incredible people who are able to assist us with and opening cases and investigating these crimes, however how about all the hundreds of thousands young girls and women who do not have the contacts we have??? Nevermind the silent men?? How do you explain to your children that the police station is not really the place to go to (unless you need an affidavit drawn up, stamped and signed). That they are not really the folks that will assist and protect you. Our system is so severely flawed that you look at some of the stats and think “no wonder”. There’s a handful of people out there that are incredibly passionate about what they do and will go out on a limb to assist; however, to get to those people seems to be the challenge.

It’s time for a change, and amidst all that is going on; there are women and children currently at home who have NO-ONE to talk to, turn to or get help from. Though I can assist only so much; I have decided that I want to be that beacon of hope. That one person that will not only not judge; but also help where ever and whenever. Being in the position that I am; become a spokesperson for those who do not have voices, and guide and teach as many women (and men) as possible about your rights, your safety and your plan for healing and/or escaping.

Should you know someone or of someone that needs help please contact me. Let us stop the silence and combat sexual abuse.