Today I don’t get to blame one of my porn research customers for setting me off on an image-researching frenzy. Nope, today it’s entirely Camille Paglia’s fault. In her The Chronicle of Higher Education review of three terrible contemporary academic books about BDSM, she writes:
A brutal bondage billboard on Los Angeles’s Sunset Strip for the Rolling Stones’ 1976 album, Black and Blue, was taken down after fierce feminist protests.
Oh, really? Given that tracking down obscure bits of kink in vintage popular culture is one of my hobbies, I couldn’t resist that bit of bait. To the image searching machines!
The best photograph of the actual billboard in question that I could readily find is this one, from a music blog:
According to this page, the model is Anita Russell and “Mick [Jagger] himself tied her up.” For a luxuriously detailed description of the billboard, we now turn to Carolyn Bronstein, from this interview about her book Battling Pornography: The American Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement, 1976-1986:
At 14 by 48 feet, high above Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, the billboard dominated the skyline. The woman wore a lacy white bodice, artfully ripped to display her breasts. Her hands were tied with ropes, immobilized above her head, and her bruised legs were spread apart. She straddled an image of the Stones, with her pubic bone positioned just above Mick Jagger’s head. Her head was thrown back, eyes closed, and her mouth hung open in an expression of pure sexual arousal, as if the rough treatment had wakened her desire and now she wanted more. The ad copy celebrated the mythic connection between sex and violence, reinforcing the dangerous idea that women get excited when things get a little rough: “I’m Black and Blue from the Rolling Stones and I Love It!”
The art exists on the internet in a much cleaner version that seems to have run as a full page magazine ad:
According to my source for the high-resolution magazine ad version, it ran as advertising in (at least) National Lampoon magazine. I can’t confirm whether that might be so, but I can say that the August 1976 “Compulsory Summer Sex Issue” of National Lampoon featured on its contents page this “answer back” version of the ad with the gender roles flipped:
The original (bound Anita Russel) ad does not appear anywhere in that August 1976 issue of National Lampoon, at least as the issue appears in the Internet Archive; but it might have appeared in other issues for all I know.
I should note that I emphatically do not endorse author Carolyn Bronstein’s dismissive condemnation of “the dangerous idea that women get excited when things get a little rough.” Dangerous the idea may be, especially as a generalized cultural assumption; but there’s manifest evidence that it’s also a truth, for some women at least and for wildly-varying values of “a little rough”. See eg., Rain DeGrey: “I love face punching & it was a huge part of my play for a long time. Was once kept in black eyes for 6 weeks.” A line from Paglia’s review refers to the “the acrimonious, long-running debate among feminists over whether sadomasochism is progressive or reactionary”; Bronstein’s dismissiveness strikes me as being a sniping shot in that unending war.