If the growling bass line of Ginuwine’s Pony does not conjure images of a chiseled Channing Tatum grinding and gyrating across a stage, then you need to reevaluate your taste in movies. Magic Mike was a gateway indulgence for closeted voyeurs and a refreshing disruption to the film industry’s norm of scantly clad women on the big screen. The lineup of male strippers was more than enough to satisfy a girl’s appetite for eye candy, but it was just a taste of larger movement that is making waves (or vibrations) in sexual fetishism.
Clothed Female Naked Male (CFNM) is an emerging fetish where the tables are turned and men are treated as sexual objects. This genre embraces female domination and reverses the paradigm of the Male Gaze; film critic Laura Mulvey coined this term when describing how visual arts are almost always conveyed from a masculine point of view. The Female Gaze, on the other hand, overthrows that imbalance to honor feminine attitudes and preferences. You go, girl!
If you need a visual for this feminist fetish, then think of the motorcycle scene from Britney Spear’s Toxic music video. She is dressed in a black dominatrix bodysuit, riding backseat to a shirtless and dreamy Tyson Becker. Make no mistake—he’s steering, but he’s no more than a chauffeur to the Princess of Pop. Britney whips her fire red hair and caresses his face but he looks back only to see her diamond studded shades (Female Gaze symbolism!). Britney then somersaults off the motorcycle and struts through a ring of flames on the hunt for her next plaything. Now that’s a movement I can get behind.
While CFNM is gaining popularity across the pond, the fetish has yet to reach its full potential in the US. Lucky for us, a CNFM documentary is in the works thanks to Dutch writer and director Joëlle Gabriëlle Kahn. Kahn is on a mission to explore numerous factors that have shaped female sexuality, and what a progressive fetish like CFNM means in modern society. The film will be produced JW Productions, a award-winning company in the Netherlands that has worked on various projects with SONY, Sapph, and TMF (owned by MTV).
While females have typically been the objects of desire, Kahn has a hunch that women may be more lustful than our male counterparts. She believes our repressed feelings make us fixate on sex even more, almost like forbidden fruit. Kahn’s documentary is driven by a simple, yet compelling question: Do women have higher sex drives than men? Digging deeper, how would such a revelation fit into a society that both shames and exploits female sensuality?
The investigative documentary follows Kahn on her journey around the world, like a sexually awakened Alice in Wonderland falling further down the rabbit hole of CFNM. With each character she meets, she uncovers new information that contextualizes how gender roles became so drastically skewed and cemented in daily life and mainstream media.
Kahn is set to interview gender historian Jens Van Tricht to understand how old traditions have shaped today’s conventions. She reaches back to the times of Catherine the Great and then catapults us forward to the Sex and the City era that made way for feisty Samantha-types. Kahn’s quest is ultimately about women as a whole, but her travels are also a significant part of her personal reflection. The documentary features intimate realities of her own life, such as her best friend who is a self-proclaimed dildo aficionado.
The diversity of the documentary’s cast gives audiences an interesting range of perspectives to consider alongside Kahn’s evaluation and re-evaluation of female sexuality.
Having studied film at the Big Apple and LA, Kahn returns to the US to meet up with the founder of the world’s largest CFNM blog. Plot twist: he is a paraplegic who developed the fetish as a result of his semi-paralyzed state. It’s worth noting that CFNM is also a male fetish—from guys who love being watched to guys who love thinking about women who like to watch! That’s a lot of layers for a fetish revolving around nudity.
In arguably the “hardest” interview, Kahn sits down with a male stripper to gain insight on his experience in the spotlight and the trending infatuation of exotic male entertainment.
Kahn takes us full circle to the Netherlands and brings her research closer to home by speaking with a relationship psychologist, Linda Bergman. Being in a relationship herself, Kahn questions Bergman’s controversial stance that sex is more important to women than men. It’s a back and forth game of liberation and oppression as Kahn dives into fascinating topics like the effect of high female sexual drive in the modern relationships and why Western women are buying into sex tourism.
If Magic Mike was the equivalent of a college freshman, then this documentary would be the cool upperclassman who gives you the inside scoop of everything you wish you knew. Kahn’s undertaking of CFNM is the perfect mix of substance and novelty that is grounded by the genuine curiosity of an everyday girl .
The Kickstarter campaign for the documentary launches this week, so I would highly recommend checking out the trailer and giving your support if you’re intrigued. I am always down to 1) broaden my horizons and 2) look at pretty naked men, so a project that does both? Count me in.