Review – Kelly Shibari is Overloaded (2012)

Somewhere, some time, during the last few weeks, I read a phrase that I can’t get out of my head: Kelly Shibari’s feminist bukkake film, Kelly Shibari is Overloaded

I’m not sure if the quote is exact, nor can I recall where I saw it, but I feel pretty confident that I got the sentiment correct. And it’s this same sentiment that I can’t get out of my head.

According to the infinitely reliable source, Wikipedia, bukkake is: “a sex act portrayed in pornographic films, in which men ejaculate on a woman, or another man. Bukkake videos are a relatively prevalent niche in contemporary pornographic films. Originating in Japan in the 1980s, the genre subsequently spread to North America and Europe, and crossed over into gay pornography…”

The idea of “prevalent niche” is interesting: not a lot of bukkake films are made (hence the “niche” part); but, for whatever reason, many people seem to be aware that they exist (hence the “prevalent” part).

Further: “Some authors have argued that bukkake involves the implied or overt humiliation of the person ejaculated upon; the women performing in bukkake scenes are not generally brought to orgasm.” (text originally here)

Also interesting… in the wilds and most obscure corners of academia, things like bukkake porn are described as being inherently sexist and misogynistic – “inherently” as in “by definition, by nature.” How then can something that is (supposedly) sexist/misogynistic by nature work in concert with something that is inherently (supposedly) not – feminism? How can you have something that is marginalizing in terms of gender that also seeks equality and authenticity on the basis of personhood?

In other words, what does the apparently oxymoronic concept of “feminist bukkake” look like?

These are the things I was wondering about as I began to watch Kelly Shibari is Overloaded (2012)…

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In 2011, Japan won the women’s World Cup. In celebration, Kelly Shibari invited the world to a blowjob and bukkake show. Details included:

Attendance by those wishing to partake in person has been limited to the first 30 people who RSVP with a copy of a valid adult industry STD test and will be in Los Angeles on Sunday, August 7 [2011]. Tests may be obtained at Talent Testing Service. Clinic tests will not be accepted. RSVPs should be sent to worldcupbukkake@gmail.com. (here)

If you were respondent number 31 or beyond, Kelly Shibari is Overloaded lets you see what you missed. Here’s the synopsis:

To celebrate the Japanese victory in the women’s world cup, Kelly Shibari invited the public to a sleazy all-fan blowbang. She followed the success of that event with multiple fuckfests using all three of her holes. Overloaded takes a sordid peek into Kelly’s descent into a world of depravity, where all fans are sucked, fucked and can use her to cum as much as they want.

The cover of Overloaded also lets us know that this is Kelly’s “1st fanbang, blowbang, group sex scene, anal w/ creampie, DV w/ creampie!”

Whoa.

Since I’m super special, I got a lovely screener copy of Overloaded, complete with an “interactive bukkake kit” – fun!!

All in all, Overloaded was very thought-provoking.

Not so much a narrative film, Overloaded was made up of four discrete scenes: the bukkake blowbang, on which the entire premise of the entire project was based; and then a three-way, a double blow job, and a gang bang. These scenes had many “porn typical” moments – seamless gonzo styling, all the right angles, and sex without too many frills.

But in spite of the genre-specific style and typifications, Overloaded itself wasn’t “porn typical” at all…

I liked that this film was conceptualized in conjunction with a very prominent global event.

Porn doesn’t live in a vacuum. It’s just as much a part of culture as whatever mainstream movie is currently crushing the box-office, your favorite music, and/or any other specialized media form.

And performers don’t just live in vacuums, either. Adult performers are also – gasp!! – humans with many varied interests, histories, and futures. Overloaded is a clear and shining example that adult content and its producers interact with society in a dynamic way. (for whatever reason, this idea is sometimes difficult for people to grasp)

 

I liked that Overloaded was conceptualized and directed by its woman star.

Kelly Shibari came up with this idea – this idea to engage what’s commonly thought of as a “humiliating” and/or problematic type of niche content. Then she directed and starred in it.

Overloaded speaks to many tensions related to meaning and reception. What may be humiliating or problematic to you may not be to another; what may be humiliating or problematic in one instance may not be in the next. There is no such things as fixed, objective meaning. Meaning is in a constant state of flux, shifting and moving over time amongst those who create it and those who take it in.

I like that Kelly cast something with such a loaded series of attached meanings – bukkake – in a new, autonomous, and powerful light.

 

In many ways, this is a very “feminist” project…

I don’t know if Kelly intended to engage feminist rhetoric when she was giving a shout out to the Japanese women’s soccer team, but in many ways she did.

Overloaded takes a film form that, right or wrong, has almost been completely fused with sexism and/or misogyny. But if meaning is fluid (which it is), then there is no reason why anything (including bukkake) has to be fused or fixed in any way.

Some may say that a woman who participates in something like bukkake is simply a shill for her own oppression. I disagree – if that were true, many marginalized communities who re/claim language and space and “mainstream” tropes would be shills as well. They’re not. (well, not always)

(pictured: joy!! fun!! beauty!! bukkake..? yes!!)

Meaning can be claimed and reclaimed, written and rewritten. My favorite thinker, Michel Foucault (whose birthday is today, btw – happy birthday!!), talked a lot about how the ones who control language and conceptualizations thus control some measure of power.

Taking control of something like bukkake may not work for me or you or anyone else. But Overloaded reframes the meanings associated with this production form – it takes bukkake out of the sexist/misogynistic and puts it in a global, cultural, and individually autonomous space.

I liked it!!

 

With Performances By…

Kelly Shibari, Tim Von Swine, Jake, and other dudes.

Kelly Shibari is Overloaded (2012) was conceptualized and directed by Kelly Shibari and is distributed by Monarchy Distribution. The film released in September, 2012 – buy your copy here.

PS the packaging I received included a code for $10 off on a Kelly Shibari Fleshlight – score!! Check out Kelly’s Fleshlight here.

 

In-depth interview with Kelly on PVV here.

More on bukkake – review of JM Productions’ Lesbian Bukkake 17 (2011) here.

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PVV Recommended Films – a special distinction for exceptional content.

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Images used with permission from Kelly Shibari and Monarchy Distribution.

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