MissLefu, WisDomme and Melissanthe in cooperation with the AthenShibari team have started the Men in Ropes project, which has as a stated goal the participation of more men in the shibari scene as rope bunnies / bottoms, a category with very few men as of today in Greece. The girls are interested in getting more male models introduced to the world of ropes, semenawa and rope-space, wanting to share with them this wonderful journey. Moreover, they are trying to photographically track their venture, in an effort to debunk the stereotypically male rigger female bottom shibari concepts. Another goal of the project is to encourage more men to discover shibari, without any biases and stereotypes, in whatever way they see fit.
“For what reasons did you decide to start the Men in Ropes project?”
Stereotypes not only exist in mainstream society but also in most alternative sub-cultures. In the BDSM scene, it’s not unheard of to come across to opinions which replicate such conservative social stereotypes.
Such stereotypical opinions have as an undesirable side effect them not only being a personal preference, but becoming also a manual of how-to, what is allowed and what not, thus reducing the freedom expression and choice for many people. People who fear these judgmental stereotypical opinions and as a result remain closeted so to speak for many of their desires and preferences, particularly the ones concerning their sexuality.
“What are you trying to achieve with the Men in Ropes project?”
In the rope scene both in Greece and worldwide, there is unfortunately a very stereotypical idea about it: the rigger (the one who ties up) is a male and the model/bunny (the one who gets tied up) is a female. Frequently you will see photographs of young females of a petite build who are tied up by men who often have a heavy masculine appearance. One reason for this is that the majority of people who don’t have the socially accepted preferences about their sexual roles, feel uneasy and avoid getting tied up and photographed. On the other hand they also have very few chances to do so. This certainly is something we want to change.
“What is the message that you want to send to the people who will read this article?”
The most important message we want to pass across is that all bodies can be tied up without any problems, provided that there is mutual trust, communication and awareness of both risk the limits on both sides. Conventional wisdom has it that shibari is a male occupied activity, a stereotype fueled by the equally false stereotypical assumption that men are dominant in nature and women are submissive. There is also this strange idea floating around that a full shibari suspension requires a lot of muscle power, but alas that’s not true, everything is a matter of technique and know-how.
“Have there been any other activities/projects that you are involved into?”
In cooperation with AthenShibari, there have been actions and projects which have similar goals of being differentiated from stereotypes that plague the scene. As an example, in the “Rope Rituals” September performance we watched a couple composing of a female rigger and a male model, something that happened publicly for the first time in Greece. In the next event, called “Rope Circus”, on November the 25th at Lab (Loukoumi#10) the girls of the “Men in Ropes” project will present a show where all the performers, both riggers and models will be women and they will introduce the audience to different aspects of shibari. You can read more about the event here