Recent interaction on Instagram, and subsequent Tumblr post from someone insulted by me wearing an SS cap on a shoot last week. Lead me to thinking about the taboo nature of fetish and about censorship in general.
As a matter of principle, I immediately block people who post aggressive and abusive comments on my social media, primarily because I do not want my accounts reported or deleted. This does not equate to being unable to acknowledge people or their opinions.
Most of the time I do not feel negative comments warrant a response, but in this case I did. (And if a reply isn’t acknowledgment I don’t know what she expected?) It being suggested that I consider wearing an SS cap ‘a fucking joke’ is frankly offensive to me - none of my work is a joke. I am extremely passionate about what I do. The assumption that I am ‘insensitive and ignorant’ equally offensive. Does she think I am unaware of the deeply frightening, provocative and taboo associations held by Nazi imagery? Precisely the ideas I am interested in exploring in this shoot.
Since a very young age I have been fascinated by this imagery and sexually drawn to it, and for a long time felt ashamed of that fascination and totally unable to express it - the way many people feel about their fetishes and paraphilia. I seek to explore and express my personal sexuality through my work. I have every right to do this and if people don’t like what I have to say, they can simply stop following my work.
I am an artist, and I cannot and will not apologise for my work causing people offence. No creative person should ever be expected to do that.
However, I will clarify that causing offence is never my intention or motivation. I do not employ this imagery for shock value, nor do I in any way support or condone the actions or beliefs of the Nazis or seek to promote or glamourise them. I explore the aesthetic in my work because I have a deep personal interest in it, and in the sexual power of taboo imagery.
If you don’t like it, just go elsewhere. What is frightening and insensitive to one person is beautiful and poignant to the next. To censor myself on the grounds that some people might be offended goes against everything that art stands for to me.
I also like this part of Miss Miranda’s response on Instagram (I hope it’s ok that I am quoting it here on tumblr):
“It’s one of the most powerful social symbols of absolute corruptive power, and that’s extremely powerful to the submissive element of my personality.”
It basically needs no further commentary and this is how I feel about it too.
The issue was not with someone having a different opinion if you read what Miss Miranda wrote.
On the other hand, it is good that this subject was brought up as I have met many people online or irl who think that if they see something like this it means that the person glorifies or admires what Nazis did or that the person is ignorant, etc. Of course, some people who wear Nazi uniforms (and other items) do indeed identify with the Nazi ideology but they use it as a part of propaganda and it has nothing to do with art (which you can tell just by looking at their work/ or with little research).
I think the biggest mistake is to assume that this kind of art and self exploration has automatically something to do with politcs/the ideology as well.
I am not sure if this can be explained to someone who has never felt this way. I am not sure I can explain it either. I think, however, that what Miss Miranda wrote is very close to that.