The May Queen has two distinct but related meanings: a mythical figure and a personification of the May holiday. Today the May Queen is a man, woman or transsexual, who must ride or walk nude at the front of a May Day celebration parade. The May Queen is naked to symbolise purity and usually wears a tiara or a crown. Their duty is to begin the May Day celebrations. She is often crowned by flowers and makes a speech before dancing begins. Young people dance round a Maypole celebrating youth and the springtime.
According to popular British folklore, the tradition once had a sinister twist, in that the May Queen was put to death once the festivities were over. The veracity of this belief is difficult to establish, but while in truth it might just be an example of anti-pagan propaganda, frequent associations between May Day rituals, the occult and human sacrifice are still to be found in popular culture today. The Wicker Man, a cult horror film starring Christopher Lee, is a prominent example
Many areas keep this tradition alive today. The oldest unbroken tradition is Hayfield, Derbyshire based on a much older May Fair. Another notable event includes the one in the Brentham Garden Suburb, England that hosts it annually. It has the second oldest unbroken tradition although the May Queen of All London Festival at Hayes Common in Bromley is a close contender. A May Day festival is held on the village green at Aldborough, North Yorkshire on a site that dates back to Roman times and the settlement of Isurium Brigantum. The largest event in this tradition in modern Britain is the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Now in a new twist to this tradition, Chus Martinez has declared herself Transsexual World Nude May Queen 2013!
Intergender wrestling, also known as mixed wrestling is a type of professional wrestling match between a man and a woman, and may also refer to tag team matches with both men and women on each team. Intergender wrestling was first popularized in the late-1970s/early-1980s by Andy Kaufman. Kaufman participated in several staged matches that were filmed and proclaimed himself the “Intergender Champion”, issuing an open challenge to any female who thought she could defeat him.
From the mid-1990s into the early-2000’s intergender matches experienced a surge in popularity, and were often introduced to the roster of events in major North American promotions such as Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling. Perhaps the most successful female wrestler who competed in intergender matches was Chyna. Regularly booked to wrestle her male counterparts during the WWF Attitude Era, she was a three-time Intercontinental Champion, a championship traditionally only contested by men. Other women wrestlers who had notable wrestling feuds with their male counterparts, and even portrayed as their equals in the ring during that time period include Luna Vachon, Jazz, Jacqueline, Madusa, Sable and Lita.
This match-type continues to meet controversy across North America as matches often straddle the line between sporting events and pure erotic entertainment, and also allegations over the depiction of gratuitous physical violence against hapless women. Certain adult entertainment companies produce staged mixed wrestling videos in apartments, incorporating erotic elements, and later sell them online or at adult stores.
Mixed wrestling is often an arrangement between a man and a woman in private. This is also referred to as session wrestling. Ladies who provide session wrestling often have a martial arts or athletic background. Female bodybuilders frequently offer wrestling sessions. Their strength enables them to overpower many men. The sessions vary from light fantasy wrestling to full competitive wrestling. The difference is the amount of resistance the man exerts during the wrestling session. Women who provide full competitive usually have extensive training in a martial art such as judo or Brazilian jiu jitsu. The common outcome in such a match is the woman prevailing over the man. This is accomplished through joint locks, leg scissors or pins.
Today mainstream wrestling organizations like World Wrestling Entertainment and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling rarely feature women wrestling men. Instead, mixed tag team matches that first began to take place in the 1980s, are still common and very popular in the industry. However, a few smaller independent promotions such as All Pro Wrestling, IWA Mid-South and Combat Zone Wrestling still feature intergender wrestling matches, using performers such as Cheerleader Melissa, Mickie Knuckles and LuFisto who regularly compete with men in athletic matchups, and even in violent hardcore matches and deathmatches.
In Mexican lucha libre promotions, intergender matches are more common in tag team matches. However, both male and female wrestlers are restricted to fighting their own gender. Some tag teams of this kind are siblings (such as Cinthia Moreno and Oriental), trained simultaneously with the same instructor, or even are on a real-life relationship such as boyfriend/girlfriend (Cibernético and Estrellita) or, as an exceptional case, husband and wife (Billy Boy and Faby Apache).
Suspension bondage is a form of sexual bondage where a bound person is hung from one or more overhead suspension points. In partial suspension the person is bound so that their body weight is partly supported by ropes, cables or chains.
The classic partial suspension position is to have the person balancing on one foot with part of their weight supported through a chest harness and the other leg pulled up in some direction. A person lying on their upper back with legs tied upwards to a suspension point to pull their lower back off the ground would also qualify as partial suspension.
In full suspension the person is completely supported by suspension ropes, cables or chains, and they have no contact with the ground. The position of the person’s body in a full suspension is only limited by their endurance and the skill of the binder.
The main effect of suspension bondage is to create a heightened sense of vulnerability and inescapability, as the subject is made to feel that by attempting to free themselves they may fall and hurt themselves, thus also creating a form of mental bondage in addition to the physical one that holds them. Being suspended, especially in a large open space, also creates a sense of objectification, submissiveness and erotic helplessness for the subject, which can be erotically stimulating for them and for those observing them. Rope suspension is sometimes done as performance art at BDSM conventions and fetish-themed nightclubs.
Suspension can alternatively create a sense of liberation in that one can “fly” around the room, and some styles of rigging are optimal for the suspendee to have control over their spin rate, body position, and general activities. Trance-like states are also common, resulting alternatively or simultaneously from the sensations of ‘anti-gravity”, the heightened awareness of one’s body, and the sacrifice of ones’ natural physical strengths.
The three main suspension positions are vertical, horizontal and inverted. Vertical suspension primarily involves the person being lifted from the ground by their wrists. This is usually achieved by use of rope or by special suspension cuffs. When using rope, extreme damage can be caused to the soft tissues of the wrists, as well as reducing circulation, so being suspended by ropes can only normally be achieved for a very short period of time. Wrist suspension generally stretches out the body highlighting the ribs and pelvis. Often in fiction and movies a person may be pictured hanging from metal cuffs or handcuffs. This is possible, although extremely painful and will leave deep marks in the wrists. The safest and “most comfortable” method of suspension by the wrists is to use suspension cuffs as they are specifically designed to spread the weight around the wrist as much as possible.
An alternative method of vertical suspension is to use a bondage rope harness. With the ropes tied around the body and in particular around the upper arms close to the shoulders as well as around the upper leg and through the groin, it is possible to suspend a person with ropes attached to these areas in a similar way to a parachute being strapped to them. In this position the arms and legs may be left to hang free, as the person would have great difficulty getting free without assistance.
Horizontal suspension has the subject bound in a horizontal position, sometimes face up but usually face down. The body is lifted into this position either by attaching bondage equipment to the wrists and ankles, or to other areas of the body, or a mixture of both, with the subject’s weight born by these areas. The ankles or wrists may be brought together or kept apart by a spreader bar. In case of the wrists and ankles ropes or suspension cuffs can be used. When the body itself is used to suspend the person, they may first be tied into a conventional bondage position such as a hogtie or ball tie, then by attaching ropes or chains to ropes under areas of the body able to take weight the person is lifted into the air.
A variation on this position is to secure the wrists to either the spreader bar or to a securing point between their ankles forming a hogtie, resulting in what is called a suspension bow. In this position, if the subject is a female and facing down, her breasts would be pointing almost straight down depending on the strictness of the position, and nipple clamps and weights can be added for painful stimulation. The clamps may alternatively be secured to a point on the floor, limiting the subject’s ability to struggle or move at all without causing pain.
Inverted suspension is the most difficult type of all. Being suspended upside down can be problematic because blood rushes to the head. Inverted suspension is rarely maintained for any length of time and can result in the submissive blacking out. To be suspended in this position, ropes or suspension cuffs are used to lift the person into the air by their ankles.
Unlike when a person is suspended by their wrists, rope suspension around the ankles can be maintained for much longer as the ankle region naturally is able to take far more weight and stress than the wrists. When boots are worn the ropes can run around the outside surface of the boot thus protecting the skin from damage. The person may be suspended with their legs together, or held apart either by using a spreader bar or by securing the ankles to two separate locations. With the legs held in this position, the subject may have an increased sense of vulnerability as their genital region would be easily accessible.
The danger most often associated with suspension bondage, over and above the usual risks inherent in bondage, is falling; whether due to a weak suspension point, faulty equipment or poor technique. Inverted positions are especially hazardous in this regard since a head-first fall of only a few inches can kill or paralyze a person. Less obvious dangers include nerve compression and resulting damage, circulation problems and fainting, and the recently-recognized harness hang syndrome. Harness hang syndrome appears to relate to suspension with the legs below the heart, as in the case when someone is suspended in a standing position, with no weight on their legs. Extracting a person safely out of suspension bondage can be difficult if they are unconscious, or if a winch or hoist jams. Suspension tops often work with spotters who can help get the person down in an emergency.
Catfight (also known as girl fight) is a term for an altercation between two women, often characterized as involving scratching, slapping, hair-pulling, and shirt-shredding. It can also be used to describe women insulting each other verbally. The catfight has been a staple of American news media and popular culture since the 1940s, and use of the term is often considered derogatory or belittling. Some observers argue that in its purest form, the word refers to two women, one blonde and the other a brunette, fighting each other. However, the term is not exclusively used to indicate a fight between women, and many formal definitions do not invoke gender.
The term catfight was recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary as the title and subject of a 1824 mock heroic poem by Ebenezer Mack. It is first recorded as being used to describe a fight between women in 1854. The word cat itself was originally a contemptuous term for either sex, but eventually came to refer to a woman considered loose or sexually promiscuous, or one regarded as spiteful, backbiting and malicious.
Catfights first began appearing in American popular culture in the 1950s when post war pioneers of pornography such as Irving Klaw produced films clips of women engaged in catfighting and wrestling. Klaw used many models and actresses in his works including Bettie Page. The popularity of watching women fight increased in the post war years and eventually moved into the mainstream of society. In the 1960s, catfights became popular in B movies such as Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and the 1969 animated Boris Karloff movie Mad Monster Party. In the 1970s and 1980s, catfights began to make appearances in women in prison films, in roller derby and in night time soap operas such as Dallas and Dynasty.
The television series Dynasty became famous for the on-screen catfights that would take place during episodes. Dynasty starred John Forsythe as an oil tycoon and patriarch of a wealthy family that lived in Denver. The show co-starred blonde Linda Evans and brunette Joan Collins. The two women had a number of fights, both verbal and physical, during the show’s 10-year run on ABC. Designed to compete with Dallas, a highly popular evening drama on CBS, Dynasty’s first year’s ratings were unremarkable. For the second season, the producers introduced the dark haired Collins as a foil to the blonde Evans and hoped that her “bitchy persona” would enhance the show’s ratings, which it did.
According to Evans, the Dynasty director’s blueprint for the first fight was an “outrageous catfight” that she had almost a decade earlier with Stefanie Powers in the detective series McCloud, starring Dennis Weaver. The fight occurred during an argument they were having in Evans’ apartment when Powers, on her way out, grabbed a bottle of seltzer water and sprayed down Evans. Before she reached the door, Evans grabbed Powers and the two women engaged in spirited catfight, wrecking the apartment in the process. During the fight, Powers’ blouse was partially torn off exposing her black bra, a surprising level of undress for network television in that era. Evans eventually overpowered her brunette opponent and was holding her head down in a water filled aquarium when Weaver walked in and ended the fight.
Catfights, both real and staged, are a staple of daytime television talk shows and reality television shows such as The Jerry Springer Show, The Bachelor, For Love or Money, and The Real Housewives series, where women are frequently presented as being in continual competition with each other for love and professional success. In 2009, ABC-TV promoted The Bachelor with the voiceover narration “Let the catfights begin”, and reality television shows have frequently overlaid sound effects of hissing cats onto scenes featuring women arguing or competing with each other.
In 2002, an SABMiller television commercial called Catfight featured two young scantily clad actresses drinking a beer in an outside cafe. Their polite conversation quickly turned into an argument about whether Miller Lite beer’s best aspect was its taste or the fact that it was less filling than other beers. The argument led to a fight where one of the girls knocked the other into an adjacent pool. The women quickly lost most of their clothes and continued the fight clad in only in their underwear. Before the fight came to a conclusion the scene faded out and the viewers saw that it was a fantasy dreamed up by two men in a bar discussing what would make a great commercial. The scene would later cut to the girls, stripped down to their underwear, wrestling in a mud pit. An uncensored version was also filmed that included an alternate ending where the mud covered girls fall in love and kiss. Predictably, one critic noted, the fight was blonde vs. brunette. The campaign generated considerable controversy, but sales of Miller Lite subsequently declined by three percent.
Rachel Reinke, in her essay ‘Catfight: A Feminist Analysis’ states: “More than any other aspect of the catfight in today’s culture, the catfight’s sexually arousing potential is exploited for numerous purposes. The phenomenon of catfighting as erotic entertainment for straight men is widely documented throughout the Internet, television, film, and even pornography. On numerous websites … web users are overwhelmingly presented with catfighting as highly sexual, even pornographic. So many websites act as sources of catfights as pornography that it would be hard to believe the catfight can be interpreted in any other way. Venturing onto … these pages (and many others) will lead a viewer to an abundance of videos and images of objectified women fighting with each other by pulling hair, scratching, and even biting each other. The interpretation of the catfight as sexy and gratifying for men is hardly uncommon on the Internet… “
Catfights are often described as titillating for heterosexual men. Portrayals of catfights in cartoons, movies and advertising often display participants as attractive, with supermodel physiques, dishevelled and missing articles of clothing, and catfights are often featured in media aimed primarily at boys or men with an interest in sex . Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once described the appeal of the catfight as “men think if women are grabbing and clawing at each other, there’s a chance they might somehow, you know… kiss.”
Women have often been critical of the term “catfight”, particularly when it’s used in ways that may seem to inappropriately sexualize, neutralize or trivialize disagreements among women on serious topics. American newspapers characterized a dispute between Clare Boothe Luce and journalist Dorothy Thompson over which candidate to support in the 1940 Presidential campaign as a catfight. One newspaper called it “a confrontation between two blonde Valkryies”, and journalist Walter Winchell, upon running into Luce and Thompson at a nightclub, reportedly urged them to refrain from fighting, saying “Ladies, ladies, remember there are gentlemen present.” Luce later said she learned from this that although it was acceptable for men to disagree violently, women’s disagreements would immediately be called a catfight, fingernail-scratching or hair-pulling contest.
In the 1970s, the American news media began to use the term catfight to describe women’s disagreements about issues related to women’s rights, such as the Equal Rights Amendment. Historian Susan J. Douglas says this served two important ideological purposes: it promoted division rather than unity among women from different ethnic, class, generational and regional lines, and it replaced the notion of “sisterhood” with competitive individualism.