copyright 2005 by Pat Powers
I frequently use the phrase "under the radar" to describe bondage practices or imagery that are not recognized for what they are, as in the two previous "Flying Under the Radar" pieces, so I thought I'd explain it here.
The phrase originates from the practices of combat air pilots who fly close to the ground to avoid being picked up on enemy radar. They literally are "flying under the radar." The phrase has entered general use to mean any activity that's conducted in a way that avoids detection.
I use it in two ways.
In one instance, as in my review of "Roman Scandals of 1933" the phrase describes people who are knowingly using sexual bondage imagery but do not acknowledge it. Frex, in "Roman Scandals" the naked slavegirls chained to the giant birthday cake are not acknowledged as sexual bondage imagery, though that is unimistakably what they are. It's obviously a deliberate attempt to slip some strong sexual bondage imagery into a film in a time when sexual imagery was much less open than it is now.
The other instance of "flying under the radar" and in my opinion the more interesting one, is when people enjoy bondage fantasies or create strong bondage imagery without consciously being aware that that is what they are doing. I think this is a very common practice, that for most people sexual bondage feelings exist without being recognized as such.
(This is why, apart from dramatic considerations, damsel in distress images are so common in mainstream productions. The mainstream is mostly composed of people who, even if they are not bondage fans, understand a DiD's appeal because they enjoy it themselves, if not as avidly as bondage fans do.)
If you look online you will find hundreds if not thousands of images of people playing bondage games, often in conjunction with innocuous events like church camps, college mixers and family outings. For proof, go here:
Bondage In Everyday Life
The people in the pictures stored on this site would deny it if you said they were engaging in sexual bondage even though many of them are just as thoroughly bound and gagged as any fetish model -- and they'd be right. The bondage, and the fetish feelings are under the radar -- they aren't fully realized sexual bondage fantasies. It's just normal people enjoying bondage games and if there's a sexual element to it, it's well buried. (Granted, there are some events where you do have naked pony girls in bit gags and bridles with butt-plug tails who just MAY have an idea what they're up to -- but there's a large element of play and fun even in these.)
And even though the bondage is "under the radar" the same subconscious urges that manifest in sexual bondage are there, however dimly felt, and they have varying effect on how the bondage is done. That's also true of the non-sexual bondage scenes in movies and TV shows. And it makes watching both sorts of bondage a great deal more interesting than it might otherwise be.
For example check out the grins on the women pictured in the Bondage in Everyday Life group -- the picture on this page is a fair example. They're sporting great big happy grins. Why? Because when the guys pick out a gal to tie up, it's for the same reason they pick gals for girlfriends -- because she's attractive to them in some way. "The boys," that grin says, "picked me."