As you might imagine, well-meaning readers send me a lot of “funnies” for possible blogging, which I always appreciate even as I (sometimes) marvel. It is, after all, the case that there are places ErosBlog generally doesn’t go. For instance, my distaste for what I’ve called “old-school bitch-slut-whore porn marketing” makes me reticent about using words like “bitch” and “slut” and “cunt” as labels for people; it’s widely done, and can be quite funny in an appropriate context, but it’s not my style and you won’t usually catch me doing it. (That’s code for “Check all 2340 ErosBlog posts since 2003. I dare ya. You might find one or two examples, because 2003 was a long time ago and a lot of water has run under the bridge since then. But I wouldn’t bet on it.”)

So the other day, when a reader sent me a well-meaning “funny” picture starring (if I recall properly, I didn’t look at it very closely) a woman on her knees wearing a leash or some such, with a caption making some version of a “Life’s a bitch” joke, it didn’t really get my full attention. “Somebody hasn’t been reading ErosBlog for very long”, I thought, as I sorted the email into an appropriate folder (you can guess which one). It’s not that don’t appreciate the helpful sentiment, but…is my “editorial voice” really that obscure?

This lengthy preface is really more than the post payload can support, so I suppose I ought to get down to business. I was reminded of all this when I encountered the following vintage shoe advertisement:

woman on the floor where she supposedly belongs

A woman, tastefully naked, on the floor, with an adoring look on her face, under the caption “Keep her where she belongs”, is not materially dissimilar in sentiment from the “funny” that I plonked the other day. But this bit of unreconstructed sexism I find amusing enough to share, unlike the other one. What’s difference?

I don’t actually have a good answer. I can list off a number of things, but they all boil down to matters of taste and style:

1) This version eschews crude labels and language;
2) This version has interest as a vintage period piece, as a mirror onto another time;
3) In this version, the woman is smiling (I’m a sucker for a nice smile);
4) The bizarre presence of the advertised shoe creates absurdist humour;
5) She’s really pretty.

Fairly shallow reasons all, and yet, enough to tip the balance between “inflict it on my readers” and “sort it gently into the trash”.

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