Bare-breasted slavegirl flings mud at mighty Moses!

19 Feb

We all have images in our lives that are touchstones for who we are, what we become. In my case, I became a writer and editor of erotica, with a specialty in female domination fiction (also known as “femdom”).

I don’t think an image causes an obsession, necessarily, but rather can be a crystallization of the feelings already in a person.

Growing up in the 1950s as an impressionable child, I was constantly witnessing the paradoxical spectacle of the so-called “weaker” female sex humbling the “stronger” male sex. I believe I was deeply fascinated by how women, supposedly “below” men, could craftily overwhelm them despite the superior position of men in our society. And so when I saw the cover of this novel about Moses, a book which was one of the foundations for the screenplay of the 1956 film The Ten Commandments, I became subconsciously hooked on the allure of the female domination scenario where a woman rules over a man…

From below, she humbles the strong man above...

A beautiful BARE-BREASTED girl (that alone must have made my heart pound in the repressive 50s) is obviously angry (you can see the lividness of her expression from the skillful way artist Robert Douglass drew only the very side of her face) and is about to toss mud (gross, gooey dirt that looks like something far more disgusting) at a regal, powerfully-built Moses standing above her on a chariot (a veritable symbol of male power for me since 1959 when I saw Ben-Hur). His face is contorted in dismay and what looks like fear, and his hand has a softness in the way it cowers at what he sees. It’s almost as if the violent act of the rebellious female is softening, or feminizing, the male…

This paperback edition of the 1949 hardcover novel was published in 1951, the year I was born. I believe I saw this paperback sometime in the late 50s or early 60s. It actually belonged to my maternal grandmother, or at least it was at her apartment, along with a hardcover edition of the book–if memory serves me right. My grandmother was a demure, ladylike, religious woman, a seamstress originally from Russia, but somehow or other she had this lurid paperback on her shelf. I can’t recall any other English books; she usually seemed to read the Yiddish newspapers.

Anyway, although I found this image online at Amazon here, I have a copy of the book somewhere in my own archives; I remember buying one in recent years at a flea market. I collect things that affected me profoundly in my past, however trivial they may seem to others.

This amazing piece of art is really like a summary of the femdom fiction I write: an essentially strong man (his strength in my stories usually symbolized by his intellect and wit) is humbled by a brash woman (not always his intellectual equal, but almost always more attractive than him) who on some level he really does not think is superior to him, but to whom he feels a need to submit. Hence he is startled by both her strength (in flinging her mud, real or symbolic) and the efficacy of her fury in making him completely discombobulated and submissive.

Seeing this paperback brought my femdom fantasies closer to my consciousness. By the time I was in my mid-teens, I was writing short stories and novellas with femme fatale types leading guys over the abyss…

I just want to add parenthetically that Cecil B. DeMille, who used this book as the basis of his final film The Ten Commandments, had a foot fetish. I read an article once that claimed actress Paulette Goddard impressed him during an audition for a new role (or a discussion in his office about it) by propping her bare feet up on his desk! And I think it can be said that this paperback cover–done several years before DeMille’s film–certainly embodies some of the same sadomasochistic elements of the movie, which had Anne Baxter’s Egyptian princess vamping Charlton Heston’s Moses and later laughing at him as he wallowed in mud when he returned to his people as a Hebrew slave.


Posted by on February 19, 2012 in Erotica


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

3 responses to “Bare-breasted slavegirl flings mud at mighty Moses!

  1. Richard

    March 1, 2012 at 6:01 am

    That is a great paperback cover.

    And I admire your creative way of seeing it. My own favorite F/m art are things like book covers and movie posters that were explicitly designed to appeal to the F/m market but can be seen with a little imagination as instances of female domination.

    • irvoneil

      March 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      Glad you liked the cover and my entry about it, Richard. Thanks for commenting!

      I agree, the book covers and movie posters of the past that walk the edge between mainstream imagery and not-so-subtle femdom are some of my favorites too. The 1950s sure were a great time for that stuff. It only goes to show what fantasies were bubbling inside the outwardly conformist demeanors of the readers and movie fans at that time.


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