I came across a very interesting article by Michael Musto of the New York Times. In the article Musto analyzes the changes in the leather world and fetish community. The article “Gay Leather Scene Tones Down From Hard Core to Dress-Up” addresses the morphing of the hardcore leather scene to a more parade of best dressed.
The author would interview leather men in the bars of New York City to shop owners; each talking about how leather in the gay community has become more “mainstream”, and that leather no longer belongs exclusively to the fetish community but has become a statement or a “way to dress” that is sexually provocative.
The internet has played a major role in the perception of leather. As most men are living their lives on the internet, more so on their phones. The sense of being who you are without judgment, or being ashamed is very alluring. Younger men are exploring their kinky side as a result, and expressing themselves in a way that would not have been possible 15 years ago. Matt Johnson stated that “the growth of the virtual world has democratized kink to a greater extent, and has led to a proliferation of kinky sides”.
Where does this leave the more hard core leather men? Most will agree that leather should be earned not purchased and that the understanding of the history is important. However, they understand that times are changing, the concept of self-expression is important. We live in a world where sex is everywhere, and exposure to sex at a younger age isn’t uncommon.
So, some men will simply wear leather (for example the harness) to allow themselves the freedom of expression, to explore their sexuality in their own way. As for the die hard leather men they see the changes and have come to embrace them, and allow this younger generation to be themselves. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Excerpts: Musto, Michael. “Gay Leather Scene Tones Down From Hard Core to Dress-Up”. The New York Times. 22 December, 2015. Online.
Images: istockphoto.com Purchased for commercial use.