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Q1- S-M sexting

In sadomasochism, behaviour can be categorized in binaries to derive pleasure and sexual gratification – sadism and masochism, where the former involves inflicting pain and the latter on the receiving end. This pain can come in various forms, such as emotional or physical. It is a provocative mean of sexual play but has to be consensual – a ‘safe word’ is usually negotiated on beforehand (Cameron & Kulick, 2003). The importance of this ‘safe word’ lies in its incongruity with the context – in this case, the cucumber emoji (for which, pickle has also been a common ‘safe word’ in this practice), to ensure protection against non-consensual harm in the course of sexual play.

With maximal utilisation of today’s technology, this sexual practice has also diversified in its multimodality; reaching out to the online platform. Visual communication is used to express sexual desires in sexting – which could be in the form of sexually explicit messages, images, or even emojis to represent these desires. The same rules apply even on the online platform – such as a consensual sexual play and the pre-agreed ‘safe word’. In this case, Julie and Mike would incline towards using emojis unlikely to be a double entendre or contain any sexual innuendos that would facilitate the S-M play. This is in comparison to emojis such as chains⛓ (which could be a common adult toy used in S-M), water droplets:sweat_drops: (could be a representation of bodily fluids, such as semen), toilet bowl:toilet:/pill :pill:(associated with nauseating or a sick feeling (Reynolds, A compendium of emoji for very specific situations in honor of worldwide emoji day, 2015)) or the stop sign as signalled by the hand:hand: (could be interpreted to fuel and excite the sexual play, where ‘no’ is not taken as refusal (Cameron & Kulick, 2003) – emphasizing the significance of the ‘safe word’ in this practice).

The eggplant emoji:eggplant: [not in question] is common in the use of reference to a male’s penis due to its phallic appearance (Reynolds, 2016). Thus, despite pickle being a popular ‘safe word’ in S-M sex, it could be inappropriate to portray the same function in sexting due to its visuals.

Julie and Mike are most likely to use the microphone emoji:microphone:. Although after much research, I realised this could also suggest ejaculation (Linning, 2017), language is subjective and varies across context. Language cannot be analysed in isolation (Cameron & Kulick, 2003), thus the choice of a ‘safe word’ will ultimately depend on Julie and Mike’s discourse.


Q2 Locker-room-banter

#1 “The crude, vulgar, offensive and often sexual trade of comments guys pass to each other, usually in high school locker rooms. Exists solely for the purpose of male comedy and is not meant to be taken seriously.”

#2 “Any manner of conversation that polite society dictates be held privately – with small groups of like-minded, similarly gendered peers – due to its sexually charged language, situations or innuendos.”

#3 “Racist, sexist, and crude language most men use towards immigrants, minorities, and women, when they are with their fellow male chauvinistic pigs.”

Of which, Donald Trump’s leaked video back in 2005 was listed as an example under the third definition. But, that doesn’t sit well with me. First of all, Donald Trump had that exchange not exactly in a locker room, but in the bus of “Access Hollywood” [any exchange could have easily been caught on recording]. Not only did that [Trump’s caricature of the locker room] infuriated athletes (Gregory, 2016), its content also sparked debate on whether what he said was acceptable as ‘locker-room banter’. ‘Grabbing them by the pussy’ and ‘I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.’ (Fahrenthold, 2016) were just a small part of what constituted the exchange, but by likening it to ‘locker-room banter’, it suggests that all men talk about women the same way. It lowers the status of women and brings attention to the issue of sexism. What Trump shared was also an example of sexual assault for making non-consensual advances.

“Oh, nice legs, huh?”

This comment by Trump about actress Arianne Zucker (who was waiting to escort them to the set) reminds me of how hostesses are present in Japanese clubs to facilitate homosocial bonding between men by being the subject of their discussion. However, in Trump’s context, he was merely dehumanizing women [an entire gender] by reducing their value to their physical appearance [as he had been infamous for sexism in the past as well]. ‘Locker-room banter’ may take place in order to promote homosocial bonding between men without threading the boundaries of a homosexual image (Cameron & Kulick, 2003). I suppose this could explain the reason women becomes the centre of their exchange, however derogatory terms like ‘pussy’ (although claimed to purport male comedy) is offensive and threatens equality between the opposite sexes today.

It is a concern manifested in our everyday life – the fact such discussions go on in locker rooms and the acceptance of such practice suggest how society sees it as a common and everyday occurrence. In the case Trump makes a comment criticizing religion, implying racism or of efforts in combating terrorism, the rest of the world would definitely respond – with majority condemning Trump. So why is there a discrepancy when it comes to his misogynist attitude?



Cameron, D., & Kulick, D. (2003). Language and sexuality. New York, United States of America: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved March 1, 2018

Fahrenthold, D. A. (2016, October 8). Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005. Retrieved April 10, 2018, from The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-recorded-having-extremely-lewd-conversation-about-women-in-2005/2016/10/07/3b9ce776-8cb4-11e6-bf8a-3d26847eeed4_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.980cf9e00f26

Gregory, S. (2016, October 11). Donald Trump dismisses his ‘locker-room talk’ as normal. Athletes say it’s not. Retrieved April 10, 2018, from TIME: http://time.com/4526039/donald-trump-locker-room-athletes/

Linning, S. (2017, February 9). Revealed: The x-rated meanings behind popular emojis that will make you think twice before sending your next text . (Associated Newspapers Ltd) Retrieved March 10, 2018, from Daily Mail Online: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4200384/The-X-rated-meanings-popular-emojis.html

Reynolds, M. (2015, July 17). A compendium of emoji for very specific situations in honor of worldwide emoji day. Retrieved April 10, 2018, from The Frisky: http://www.thefrisky.com/2015-07-17/a-compendium-of-emoji-for-very-specific-situations-in-honor-of-worldwide-emoiji-day/

Reynolds, M. (2016, July 6). Here’s how to use the 72 new emoji for sexting, obviously. Retrieved April 10, 2018, from The Frisky: http://www.thefrisky.com/2016-06-07/heres-how-to-use-the-72-new-emoji-for-sexting-obviously/

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