Viktoria Modesta and sexual desire for limb amputation
Viktoria Modesta is a cute, rich famous pop star, as any other female singer who reaches her level. But she is special: when she was 20, she had her left leg surgically removed, so now she wears a prosthesis as an artificial limb. Orthopaedic prostheses have historically been a source of embarrassment for people with disabilities because they clearly show what’s “lacking”, the person’s “deficit”. Therefore they were hidden in a gruelling attempt to disguise the difference and appear to be normal, what is known as passing. But now this is changing: since arts and activists started to vindicate the beauty of different bodies, the beauty of the prosthetics and orthotics some bodies need. The work from artists such as the performer Lisa Buffano or integrated dance groups (Liant la Troca, SinsInvalid or Candocco), functional, physical and prosthetic difference is the engine of artistic creation.
Viktoria Modesta is the mainstream articulation of this claim. Her prosthesis is the sign of her identity construction as a public figure. In fact, she has so many (even one of Swarovski!) and she wears them according to the aesthetic combinations. Viktoria doesn’t only play a public and therefore political exercise of breaking out and adding visibility to her prosthesis, but she also goes fully nude in a music video: for the first time her amputation was loud and clear to every viewer. Until then, the appearance of Viktoria was surprising but not challenging: at the end of the day she is a very sexy girl whose prosthesis makes us think of her as a kind of bionic woman, a kind of cyborg fantasy from science fiction.
But when her amputated limb appears, Viktoria shows us that her prosthesis is not a postmodern aesthetic element from a Lady Gaga show, but instead it answers the vital need for a vulnerable body. The most interesting part of this (self)representation of Viktoria, is that the amputation appears in an erotic scene: nothing less than a ménage à trois. Her amputated body thus is shown as a really eroticized, desirable and desired body. This represents a breakthrough with the sexual taboo around “disabled” bodies usually seen (and shown) as not valid for attraction and pleasure. A naked Viktoria stares at the camera and her eyes tell us: I am sexy and I know it!
Sexual desire for people with amputation, however, is not new. In fact, for decades it has been considered as a sexual paraphilia: acrotomophilia. It’s a kind of attraction that tends to be considered inappropriate, unpleasant, even pathological. Therefore, people who feel it are often called devotees and tend to live in secret, even feeling guilty and punishing themselves. Internet has given them an escape, as they can find many websites and forums for exchanging information, porno devotee and testimonies. In the same way that homosexuality was condemned for years and forced to “live in the closet”, the devotee desire is now relegated to virtual anonymity. However, when condemn this desire, aren’t we actually censoring the possibility of “disabled” bodies being desirable? Then, shouldn’t we encourage a devotee of “getting out of the closet”?
This post was originally written in Spanish. Click here to read the original version.