Letīs talk about nudity...


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Fanu
Why do decks makers think nothing of showing Empresses and High Priestesses and Star card women completely naked and NOT show us Emperors and Magicians and Kings of Cups completely naked?
Fanu, it's this just an art history question? In Western art, naked ladies traditionally stand for allegorical and metaphysical subjects, while it is considered controversial to show "real people" naked. The West considers Ideas feminine. Since wearing clothes is a sign of the Fall from Eden - the human condition - we know naked ladies are therefore Pure Ideas.

Look at paintings like Liberty Leading the People. Liberty's breast is hanging out - that's how you know she's an allegory, she's a Grecian half-nude. No one had any issue with that. Compare the reaction to Manet's famous nude Olympia, which was scandalous! Because the woman was known, real person, albeit a so-called member of the "demi-monde."

Thus Star is nude because she is the allegory of Hope. That's all. No big deal, no misogyny intended.
Top   #61
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I prefer the Hermit to be clothed, not that anyone has said he shouldn't be or that I've ever seen a deck in which he wasn't. He's my guide, and if he were nekkid, it would be too distracting... I'm glad that the High Priestess is likewise usually clad -- though I own at least one deck in which her clothing is skimpy and see-through -- the Old Path (I think -- I haven't opened the deck this morning, nor have I had my coffee).

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Top   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
Oh... I really agree with you on the Manara. And I think it's really different liking somehing and actually caring for it.

On a very practical level, I'm not really sure that male and female sexual energies can really be balanced into a deck. They work differently.
It's not just using the same number of naked man and women. There is something more in the way we receive and perceive things.
So, to tell the truth, I woln't know where to start in order of doing that

ric
I would not know either but if I was ever to love an erotic deck, it would have to have some sort of balance...what I find so painfully lacking in the Manara for example.
The Druidcraft is an example of a non-erotic deck with some nudity, that feels balanced to me. There may overall be more female than male nudity, I am not sure - I have not counted, the overall feel of it is natural, in balance. It is also a very popular deck, despite the fact that there is a penis to be seen, which so many people seem to find so off-putting (still bewildered about that).
Top   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frelkins
Fanu, it's this just an art history question? In Western art, naked ladies traditionally stand for allegorical and metaphysical subjects, while it is considered controversial to show "real people" naked. The West considers Ideas feminine. Since wearing clothes is a sign of the Fall from Eden - the human condition - we know naked ladies are therefore Pure Ideas
But there is also a tradition of naked men representing allegorical and metaphysical values. What about Michelangeloīs David representing triumph? Or Donatelloīs, representing youth (and triumph again)? There are dozens of male images of glory naked which could be the Emperor. Or the Greek ideals? Or Guido Reniīs images for the Palazzo(?)Borghese (Phaeton in his chariot. Why couldnīt the Charioteer be naked? It would certainly fit the allegory) Or Michelangeloīs Night and Day showing a naked man and a naked woman reclining. There are lots of these examples throughout art history.

And as has been proved before, a lot of western artīs idea to have nudity to represent lofty "ideals" and "allegories" was mild titilation for popes and cardinals and Medici princes anyway, and weīve inherited that. I think a lot of these decks are using the concept of "tradition", "The Classical", "The Renaissance" to regurgitate titillation.

Art history certainly has been there, done that. I suspect itīs basically that most tarot decks creaters (of the "comic-book" school) are male and hetero and would rather let their imagination run wild over images of naked women and kind of conveniently "forget" male allegories...

Times have changed too. If I can now see James Bond naked (as they sayīs gonna happen in the next film release) then itīs not too much to expect tarot to be a bit more in-step with things. Or is that asking too much ?
Top   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
People say they want "real" breast and not "hollywood" breast
Is that true?
Or is that an intellectual take? Or a minorirty bias?
Or that is a true need, that we publishers forget to aknowledge because we are blinded by the stereotype?
I really want to know.
I believe it is a real need. But of course I can't prove it with any numbers, (just like no one can prove the contrary is true) because how would we know what people would actually buy IF it was available? How do you know that a deck with different sorts of bodies/nudity won't get you MORE buyers than any of the decks we've been discussing here before you make one?

The fact that no publisher is daring enough to try it out actually bothers me most of all. There are a ton of "minority" decks out there, and they are obviously bought by enough people to stay in print. I mean, let's take the Gay Tarot, for example. I know that it's bought by people who aren't gay men (for example by women who are desperate for a deck without comic-style female nudity and with good-looking men!), but I also know that there are gay men with tarot collections who'd never get the Gay Tarot. But all in all, the Gay Tarot buyers can't be a majority of tarot deck buyers. The Decameron can't be a majority deck, either. But it's still published. Okay, maybe there's a secret group of "tarot porn" collectors out there that I don't know about, but somehow I doubt it... Well, you get my point, I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
If people liked the Dove commercial because of the message, but the advertisment campaign was a failure (if)... then we have something to think.
It has been said before, but there are many reasons not to buy a product. The advertising might get you curious (and the Dove commercials certainly raised my sympathies for their products immensely!), but when you check out the product in the shop and dislike the smell, or if it's too expensive, or your regular shop doesn't carry it, or if you're allergic to the ingredients, the best advertising won't convince you to buy it. I've worked in market research long enough to know how many factors contribute to buying decisions. Besides, Dove sells soap, after all, not images of the people in the ads, so the analogy doesn't really work (I totally would have bought a set of postcards or a poster or something like that!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
If the purpose of an advertisment is to enchance the sales of a product... if you liked the advertisment but didn't bought the product, it should be a failure.
Yes, that's true for marketing. But as I said above, we're not talking about "unnecessary sex-centered" advertising of tarot decks, we're talking about the product itself. So the logic goes the other way around: if people liked the Dove ads, they obviously liked seeing "normal" bodies. I'm not sure how representative I am, but my delight in those ads/images was a very emotional one, because they just made me happy. And the women were damn sexy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
In Tarot... if one likes real breast, but then is taken off - at an unconscius level - from the deck and reads with another with Holliwood breast (while saying: oh, I wish this deck would have real breast) we are again on a contracdiction that would need to be explained.
Frankly, I think you should grant us that we know what we like and what we don't like. I mean, if you make the facial expressions or nbody postures of those figures with "normal" bodies look unhappy, embarrassed, or not at ease, then of course we'll pick the deck with the happy Barbies.

But my point is that you CAN make real/"normal" bodies of ALL shapes and forms look sexy, sensual, happy, confident, etc. You just need an artist who's good enough to do that (preferably one who personally loves bigger and/or older people). For examples of what I mean, please look at the Empress, the Universe, the Fool, the Three of Cups, and possibly the Two of Pentacles of the World Spirit Tarot. These are big women, and they're comfortable in their bodies, no matter if they're dressed or undressed. And they're sexy, too, even though the deck doesn't particularly TRY to be sexy. No one says we want to see tons of sagging breasts on old women who are ashamed of their bodies. We (those of who do) want proud, confident women of all sizes who are sensual, and sexual, and not just in a motherly way.

Quote:
That said... nudity is not sex, and sex is not nudity.
For instance the Brian Williams deck is full of nudes and has little about sex.
And - I admit - I prefer decks that are more raw, and less rarefied, so I prefer decks that have a sex energies within it. But that's me.
Nobody has claimed that nudity equals sex and vice versa. Believe me, I, too, love decks with an undercurrent of sexual energy. But there are so very few out there that appeal to me aesthetically, that I spend my money on other things instead (and not necessarily other tarot decks!). I actually even like the idea of the Decameron but find most of the guys AND the women very very unappealing. I'm not squeamish about explicit depictions of sexuality, but I've checked, and there's ONE truly big woman in that deck (the Empress), and she's been made to look entirely unsexy. (I do admit, however, that the men are more diverse, but that's only half of the equation...)
Top   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfSpirit
I am more in the camp of LeFanu, asking questions like: "Do women like the Manara ? Really ? Maybe they say they like it but don't love it..." (I am cheekily turning your questions around here )
Since I'm one of the (seemingly few) women who like the Manara, I'll reply to this actually very good question. I like the Manara, I even like it best of the three LoS erotic decks (the other two being the Casanova and the Decameron). But no matter how well I can read with it (and I can), I don't love it. For me, it's a step in the direction of what I'd really like to see (and buy!), but it's not even halfway there.

Oh, how I would love a deck that was a cross between the Manara (for its emphasis on sexual energies, mixed with power relations, and a lot of its art style) and the World Spirit (for its variety in people, men as well as women, it's intense colors and especially its big happy sensual women)! I'd buy two copies because I'd probably use it up so quickly...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
On a very practical level, I'm not really sure that male and female sexual energies can really be balanced into a deck. They work differently.
It's not just using the same number of naked man and women. There is something more in the way we receive and perceive things.
So, to tell the truth, I woln't know where to start in order of doing that
I don't think we're talking about exact numbers here. But, say, twenty-seven naked, half-naked, and scantily-clad women and one single topless man aren't the solution, either. I also don't think this is about nudity for nudity's sake. I belong to the people who find half-revealing clothing more sexy than full-on nudity (on men as well as on women), so I'd vote for depicting sexiness in various degrees of (un)dress, on men as well as o women.

If only I could draw humans well enough I'd probably have started a deck by now! Maybe I need to find an artist and do a cooperation...

Quote:
Originally Posted by frelkins
Thus Star is nude because she is the allegory of Hope. That's all. No big deal, no misogyny intended.
To add to what I said about nudity not being the same as sex (and vice versa): Nobody said that nudity equals misogyny or that misogyny equals nudity (case in point for the latter: the Empress of the Decameron. That's a sexist/misogynist depiction to me because the ONLY woman in the deck who is powerful by definition (because she's the Empress) is shown as fat, old-ish, and UNATTRACTIVE. )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Fanu
Art history certainly has been there, done that. I suspect itīs basically that most tarot decks creaters (of the "comic-book" school) are male and hetero and would rather let their imagination run wild over images of naked women and kind of conveniently "forget" male allegories...

Times have changed too. If I can now see James Bond naked (as they sayīs gonna happen in the next film release) then itīs not too much to expect tarot to be a bit more in-step with things. Or is that asking too much ?
I suspect the same about the deck artists/creators. Again, how would they know if it would sell if they don't produce it? (And if they do one day, I hope that they don't market it as a feminist, or politically correct, or equal opportunity deck. Because that will be horrible advertising that will keep me from buying the deck, no matter how wonderfully it looks/reads. We're living in the 21st century. Women have a lot of money to spend. Get with the program, guys, and give us what we want.

ETA: Which is not to say that it couldn't very well be a female designer/artist/producer/publisher who gives us what we want.
Top   #66
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The idea that the nude male is shockingly absent from classical Western Art is really untrue. Visit of museum featuring Renaissance art and you'll find lot's of penises in artwork featuring classical subjects; particularly in sculpture. Of course the Greeks and Romans had no qualms about showing the fully nude male in their art, unfortunately many of those peices have been defaced by the well meaning pious or covered up with fig leaves. Of more modern ilk we find Auguste Rodin.

I am a nudist, I am not in as good shape as I used to be, but I still go to a nude campground and take it all off. Some people would say that only the people with the best bodies should go around naked. Nudism is the great equalizer, people show exactly what they are; whether they fat or thin, rich or poor, without clothes showing their rank in society. I personally would like to see a nudist Tarot deck, which wasn't particularly sexual, of all types of people like Cat expressed in her postings.

The sad fact of the matter is that people would rather look at idealized forms rather than reflections of reality. What we see in Tarot decks is what is considered to be desireable by our cultures. In the past when doing erotic images for the web, people responded poorly to realistically proportioned figures. They responded more favorably to more fit bodies with larger than life body parts. As an artist I want to follow my muse, I also want people to enjoy my art work. It isn't as much fun to do more "real" people if no one seems to appreciate them.

I think the Decameron appeals to people because the men in the images can be the veiwer. That is many people don't have gorgeous bodies, but they still want to have sex with beautiful women (in this case). If the owner of such a deck is a man, he may say I could be that guy. In the world or adult films, the pron star Ron Jeremy is very popular because it shows the an average guy (average in appearance anyhow) can still get what he wants. Actually, although gay, I like earthy, rugged men and that's why the Decameron appeals to me, though I don't own it yet.

In the gay tarot deck I'm developing, I will have nude figures, but the purpose of the deck isn't erotic. If nudity helps tell the story the card is telling, then I will use it. I think it's fine to be sexy, but I've found that people can be sexy in a wide variety of ways; the physical body is only part of it. Conceited beautiful people turn me off.
Top   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Fanu
I think a lot of these decks are using the concept of "tradition", "The Classical", "The Renaissance" to regurgitate titillation.

Art history certainly has been there, done that. I suspect itīs basically that most tarot decks creaters (of the "comic-book" school) are male and hetero and would rather let their imagination run wild over images of naked women and kind of conveniently "forget" male allegories...

I've been following this thread since it started, not quite sure how to comment. I think for me the real issue with nudity in decks isn't actually the nudity, but the way it is portrayed. The Star card in almost every deck right back to the Marseille decks, has been nude. To me her nudity speaks of innocence rather than any type of sexuality. However, if we compare her to the Star in, say the Initiatory Tarot of the Golden Dawn, we get a totally different message - and innocence doesn't come to my mind when I see that card. I think that deck is a great example of what Le Fanu was speaking about in the above quote and what has been discussed in other posts. The deck seems to use every opportunity to present women in a sexualised way, bursting clothes, pin-up style bare breasts. It's not so much for me the imbalance of male/female nudity that is a problem, it's the WAY the women are portrayed. It offends me. I don't buy the decks. Obviously many people like this kind of art, and are happy with that kind of portrayal of women, but I find it offensive. To me, those style of decks lose the message of tarot underneath a sleazy kind of 'titillation' (to quote Le Fanu). Nudity works well in many other decks (Place's Alchemical, Williams Renaissance, Druidcraft, World Spirit) without resorting to a 'cheap and nasty' style of soft porn.

Just my thoughts of course, I appreciate that many would disagree with me
Top   #68
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First off, I should have been more clear, the Dove ads were largely unpopular in the United States. Europe, I imagine, has a healthier appreciation for this sort of thing but I did not have any conversations with Europeans when the ads came out. I do know that here most consumers were not happy with them and considered them "inappropriate." Feminists were divided on the issue as it played into the sentiment that "real women have curves" an ideal that has made many slim feminists feel like they have been attacked for their metabolism.

The campaign was not successful - Dove is a major brand and didn't gain any market share by this. The idea whose time had come largely made people feel uncomfortable - probably uncomfortable about their own bodies - the exact opposite of the campaign (I promise to tie this back into tarot below

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat*
How do you know that a deck with different sorts of bodies/nudity won't get you MORE buyers than any of the decks we've been discussing here before you make one?
With market research - can you tell I work in advertising? :-)

The Empress card in the LS Celtic tarot. People HATED this card. Largely I think this is because the Morrigan is a favorite for many fans of all things Celtic and they tend to prefer a more dark beauty-amazon type for her.

The Empress in the Robin Wood was often criticized by people who didn't like seeing the Empress as an older woman.

The Lovers in the Contemplative - people have usually described the card as disturbing - owing to a degree that the woman in the card looks too small compared to the man. Now we know that since this is a Lovers card we are seeing two adults but she just wasn't doing it for a lot of folks.

Conversely I know a lot of people liked the World in the World Spirit deck and she is certainly a chunky girl. I think the card is well-loved enough
Top   #69
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I'll try to answer with some order, but today my brain is not ordered, so please forget me if I do some confusion (

In a way I'm taking the role of the counterbell (is this an English word?). I'm happy with that as I am "publisher", so I am on the other side of this discussion. I just hope not to polarize the discussion too much, having La Fanu loose part of the original topic intent.
However I like this discussions, even if they are really very dangerous, and probably sometimes upsetting. ^^

****

Classical male nudity
I would have to talk with my girlfriend about classical art. The Greek (if I recall correctly) embraced the nude, while the Romans, for instance, did not.
Again, however, I think we should take into account that nude breasts and a nude chest are totally different worlds, even if the amount of clothing is the same.

Balance
Before we can call it "balance", we must see how different are the male and female visual expressions in our culture. The female beuty is much better "codified". I don't know your experience, but I know many women able to judge (correctly) the beauty (let's maybe call it attractivness) of other women, while I don't know many men able to do the same with men. Western culture, at least has an autrageous maschilistic tradition to see women as decorative. That's why women fashion has much more volume than man. Again, think of any elegant dinner you attendend to. You will see that man have been basically clothed, and dressed basically the same. While women were less clothed and much more diverse.
What I want to say is that the world we live in is NOT balanced. Should be?
Or maybe should the woman attract/Lure, and the man hunt/pursue? The man fight and the woman choose? I really don't know, but equity is not necessarely balance and balance is not necessarely equity.
Maybe balance is the expression of complementariety.
That said, I would not really know how to begin when building a deck. Sorry.

Idealized women
I think most Tarot decks depict an idealized world. The grass is green. There is no garbage in the street. People don't scratch their ass in public, and they have all their theeth (even in medieval themes decks).
Yes, it's not realistic. It's idealized: symbolic.
When we talk about majors, don't we talk about Archetypes?
When I see the script of a deck, I usually assume that the artist will make all characthers "appropriate" to their role. The young man will be dashing and handsome. The young woman innocent and alluring. The old king wise and strong, etc... (you see the sexual energyes of the young man are not blatant, but they are definitely present. The knight is in a shining armor, indeed). And when the script goes in a different direction, it does usually for a reason. It is meant to challenge and surprise.

I maybe think that - as Firemaiden maybe pointed out - we live in a world that is afraid of sex. The "innocence" of the Star is seen (not just for Sapienza, for me as well) means that the Star should not exude any powerful sexuality. Well... if we see the RWS, do we see a totally asexual deck?

subtle sex energies
This is what I'm most concerded about.
In LS we experiement with different kind of decks. Sometimes we have decks that are heavily structured. It means that every part of the deck is controlled. These decks usually work with similar styled kind of reading: controlled, right brain, etc... Other kind of decks are the result of a flow experience. We do not control, but rather channel he creative process.
Most decks are a balance of these extremes. That is what makes some decks good an some decks bad (not talking about sales, but "quality"): we don't really choose, rather we try.
However, in many decks (and maybe because of the comic book background of many artists), we have a sublte sexuality that cames as an underground current. That is what mostly interest me, as I think it really influence the overall feeling of the deck, much more than any single card, or graphic, etc...

marketing
Quote:
I think you should grant us that we know what we like and what we don't like.
Of course. ^_^ BUT we are talking the public, not you the person. And you quote the Decameron and the Gay Tarot as examples of the presence of a market willing to buy over some concept. I know sales figures for those decks, and ... when I see most people asking for something A, I see a contracdiction. I could say - figures in hand - you are a minority. But I'm not convinced the answer is that.
I was not presuming to know your tastes better than you, believe me. Yet, I have sales figures and they are a definite "people like perfect breasts" kind of opinion I cannot ignore.

court cards
How do we accept that the Tarditional structure of Court Cards is TOTALLY unbalanced in direction of males?
Should't that be changed (we have some decks that do)?

ric
Top   #70
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