Kinsey popularised the idea that women aren’t visual in his 1953 book Sexual behaviour in the human female. The idea is still widely believed today, as most people are not aware that his research methods are no long considered reliable and more recent research using better methods has refuted his findings.
If only something else Kinsey said had been so influential: ‘There are almost no male or female nudes which are produced for the consumption of females’. In fact, many people believe that even though the vast majority of erotic imagery is produced by men for men, this material will ‘do’ for women.
Women’s erotica magazines in the past used mainly photography created for and by gay men, sometimes even selected solely by men. In Filament, we only publish photography made for or by women. We call this process ‘female gaze’.
‘So all women like the photography you publish?’
No. Our view is that using women to select images and asking women what they like in photography, and using female photographers as much as possible are better ways to create images that are likely to appeal to a broad range of women. This hasn’t really been done before, so Filament is a very tentative starting point. Right now, there are far too few people doing this to create a body of work that will appeal to a broad range of women – there are probably fewer than 10 women worldwide who specialise in erotic male image, for example.
‘Most of your photography isn’t hugely explicit, so you must be saying that most women prefer non-explicit images.’
No. There doesn’t seem to be evidence that women prefer for less explicit erotica. However, Filament is a magazine and we’ve chosen a level of explicitness that we think suits that format and our content overall. This website contains none of our explicit photography; we only put that in the magazine.
‘Why should women need their own erotica? It’s not like porn is aimed at men.’
Actually, it is. Every product – from your mobile phone to the television shows you watch – is created with a target audience in mind. Their age, gender and income, for example, are used to decide what that product will be like and how it will be marketed. This process involves a lot of stereotyping, and those stereotypes may be wrong, but that doesn’t mean that the resulting product is aimed at ‘no one in particular’, in fact, the product is not only aimed at men, but a small group of men who fit a particular stereotype.
I want to photograph for Filament. How do I submit something, and what do you accept?
We’re always keen to hear from new photographers. Check out our contributors’ information to find out how.
Photograph by Lex Machina.