Bondage Blog has a great piece this morning featuring a pretty girl being shrink wrapped, in a latex balloon. In 1939. By a meat packing company. In the pages of Life magazine, in front of God and everybody and your prissy great-aunt Beatrix.

latex bondage girl 1939

Granted, treating girls like meat was probably uncontroversial back in 1939. But what fascinates me is the fetish fuel question. In 2010, this is fetish fuel of the highest octane. Bondage Blog rattled off six or seven fetishes it touches on, and I could add several more without a strain. (Lingerie, breath control…) But was it obvious fetish fuel then? Was this a bit of clever marketing by kinky bastards who knew how to get a press release covered by Life, which in turn knew that it could publish the kinkiest shit in front of Aunt Beatrix and everybody just by playing dumb and keeping a straight face?

Or was it, in all innocence, the “gosh-gee-whiz this is how you’ll be getting your beef” celebration of marching technology it presents itself as? Were people really that innocent in 1939? I find that very hard to believe.

Complicating all this is the fact that fetishes evolve over time, and I’m not aware of anybody who has tracked those evolutions in any rigorous way. When did rubber even become a fetish material? (I know it was well established as such by the time John Willie started publishing his Bizarre magazine in the late 1940s.)

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