Our Thing of the Month July falls into the category “Usable Bodies” – which can be seen in our current exhibition “The Eroticism of Things. Collections on the History of Sexuality”.
In order to achieve an erotic effect, the design of everyday objects often uses primary and secondary gender markers. The nutcracker in the form of female legs joins a multitude of “usable bodies” – a breast-shaped mug, a female lower body as ashtray or piggy bank, a flute in the form of a penis.
However, female parts clearly dominate this field, reflecting traditional gender relations characterized by male dominance and female submission. These “designs“ are still considered more harmless joke novelties today, no longer tucked away with a “dirty joke“ attitude and a wink of the eye. Many of these kind of objects are functional, you can use them to spice, light and of course, cracking nuts – acts that enable erotic associations. Thus, also the nutcracker is “useful” in the broadest sense and epitomize that usability and object character which, in our patriarchal society, has always been preferably attributed to the female body, even today.
The special exhibition “Eroticism of Things” can be seen in the Museum der Dinge until October 1, 2018.