Tag: meat dress

On Binding: Queen Pasiphae, Hans Belmer & the Meat Dress

by on Sep.23, 2010

Some of you may know that I recently wrote a book called Maximum Gaga (Action Books, 2009). When I wrote the book, I’d never heard of Lady Gaga, but I’m thrilled by the happy overlap, by our joint interest in gender performance and excessive aesthetics. Maximum Gaga is a book about Pasiphae, the queen from ancient Greek myth who enlists the inventor Daedelus to build a cow costume/machine so she can copulate with an enormous white bull. This machine may have been the first industrial sex toy, the first meat dress (as Danielle notes), the first mechanical abattoir.

For Pasiphae, this Miraculating Machine, as I call it in the book, is certainly about pleasure, the pleasure of inhuman cock. Like Lady Gaga’s meat dress, it is unclear what is wearing who, and the lines between live female body and corpse, skin and costume, animal and human, machine and body are thrillingly collapsed. Pasiphae’s fucking results in the birth of the Minotaur: monstrous female pleasure engenders even nastier monsters.

The Miraculating Machine detourns the traditional binding of the female body, the intense bodily manicuring that heteronormativity requires of women: the bleaching, plumping, waxing, sculpting, hiding, painting, shaving, revealing, camouflaging, highlighting, etc. All of which is on fat display in Cher’s get-up at the recent award ceremony. All of which masks the fact that, as Vanessa Place says, “We are nothing but chipped beef.”

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