Just For Your Observation
The subject of this Hub is to explore the fetish that some men possess about female smokers.
A fetish is a fetish. Who can say how it might have started or why. I'm not an authority on the subject, so I will not be providing any answers -- only questions.
The Merriam-Webster definition of a fetish is as follows:
: a strong and unusual need or desire for something
: a need or desire for an object, body part, or activity for sexual excitement
: an object that is believed to have magical powers
My hub will concentrate on point numbers one and two, as I have no knowledge whatsoever linking the fetish of female smokers with magical powers.
Surgeon General Be Damned
I am also not a trained psychologist, so my exploration of the subject is merely that -- an exploration.
The topic seems worth exploring because we are all pretty well informed about the downside of smoking tobacco. This doesn't seem to be of concern to either the models who present themselves as obvious smokers nor the men who seek out pictorials of women indulging in their habit (if it is indeed a habit).
So what is the deal? Putting my hat on as an amateur psychologist, I'd have to assume that like all other fetishes, something early on -- probably in a pre-conscious state of childhood, made a connection that somehow became a sexual turn-on for men. I've restricted this Hub to a particular fetish, and I don't know if women experience anything like it. Men fixate on different parts of a woman's anatomy, e.g., her boobs, her posterior, even her feet.
Is any of this subversive or worthy of derision? No, I don't think so. If seeing a woman laced in a corset turns someone on or wearing a latex outfit ignites them, I don't see any harm in any of it. Even smoking cigarettes is benign (all to those who are not inhaling).
Mock bondage pictures have existed for decades. My outlook is that anything that is consensual in the bedroom is fine. No one is really getting hurt, and it's just dress-up or play-time for many partners, and they are free to exhibit their fantasies/needs however they choose. So, discount me as being a moralist in any regard.
I'll try to stick to my point. That being -- is there anything sexual about a woman inhaling/exhaling smoke? I've picked this particular fetish because I do find an artist value in the way that women smoking are depicted. There's a certain craft to this -- lighting, photography, and finding alluring women who are willing to participate in a photo session.
Reality vs. ? I've lived with a couple of smokers in my time. I hated it. The old expression of kissing someone who is a smoker is like kissing an ashtray is pretty accurate. Unless you are a smoker yourself, your significant other becomes kind of repellent -- no, not kind of but simply repellent. It's somewhere on the same level as kissing someone who just ate a raw onion or had an intense garlic dish. You want them to brush their teeth and gargle with a strong mouth wash. It only seems humane. In retrospect I might have just taken a few puffs off their cigarette to counteract this revulsion. Once you've acquired the same tobacco taste on your tongue, then there is nothing to complain about.
I never went this route. I grew up with a mom who smoked at least a pack a day. In the evening the family would cluster around the TV, but my mom's smoke infiltrated every nook and cranny of my space, and it seemed suffocating. I complained and complained to no avail. My mom died at 65 due to lung cancer. Okay, that was her choice (in a way). I'll probably die with the same due to second-hand smoke -- not just hers but all the people who were able to smoke like fiends in the workplace. Unless you were working at a job in the 80s, you can't imagine what it was like to have no recourse but to breath in smoke from people who occupied other cubicles or even offices.
As I said I'm not a moralist. If you want to smoke, go right ahead. This stuff about e-cigarettes is pure nonsense. If the user is getting their nicotine fix -- some of that is going to be floating in the air. I live in Southern California and smoking is prohibited from basically anywhere. There are laws pending in certain districts to restrict smoking even on beaches. In my hometown, the minimum smoking age has been lifted from 18 to 21. So the old Army argument goes: We're old enough to die for our country but can't smoke a pack.
It costs the country millions to treat respiratory-related disease. They tax tobacco like crazy. You can probably manufacture a pack of cigarettes for about twenty-five cents, but if you want to buy them you'll have to dish out $5.00. In California, they are adding $2.00 tax per pack as of the end of March 2017. That's a huge hike and obviously meant to deter people from buying cigarettes. The markup goes to the government. You can only hope that most of this tax actually is steered toward hospitals treating lung cancer. I sort of doubt it. I'm one of many who don't have a great deal of faith in where our dollars are actually spent.
Despite how all of this may sound, I'm not an anti-smoker advocate. I don't think the government should disallow tobacco companies from displaying their various logos. That is ludicrous and seems like some kind of infringement on our freedoms. A carton of cigarettes costs almost $60 and almost all of that goes to our beloved and trusted government -- supposedly to help cover the cost of people who are afflicted with various tobacco-related respiratory ailments who can not cover the charges themselves. Right. And not a dime of that will go toward building the next generation of jet fighters/bombers.
Anyway, I'm not in this to debate the use or restriction of tobacco. My feeling is let the individual decide. Everyone knows about the cancer risks. Americans are smoking less -- good for them. Yet, we keep exporting this product to other countries that don't have the same nanny-state we've established. Too bad for them, I suppose. Now the government wants to go after the soft-drink industry (because it makes us fat). Hmm. I guess we can expect extra taxes to anything in the future -- snack foods, candy, who knows?
But is seeing or watching a woman smoking somehow sexually arousing?
I can barely remember the last time I saw an attractive woman in the US smoking. During my last trip to Europe, I visited Finland. In the night joints there everyone was smoking. This was kind of funny to me because Finland had strict restrictions about the purchase of alcohol. There were few outlets that even offered alcohol for purchase, but I found one in their town center. They had a fair variety of stuff to choose from. They had some imports from the US, and I relied upon them -- having read that Russian-made Stoli was ingenuous to say the least (and even deadly based on some reports). I paid premium prices for my US brands, but at least I felt half-assured I wouldn't be poisoned. But, back to the the night-life in Finland. Yeah, everyone smoked. The air was like the worst smog-day in Los Angeles. The Fin women are so completely cute that it's beyond reason. The Fins tend to be smaller than most northerners. When I say smaller, I don't mean dwarfish. Not at all. They are all proportionate and, as I said, the women are really very attractive.
So I had a few drinks, goggled the fair-haired Finnish women smoking and left, with a sense of relief to be out of the dense atmosphere of smoke. If you are a non-smoker from California, you are not used to this kind of atmosphere. I've heard that things are becoming more restrictive in Europe in terms of smoking in public places. On the one hand, I'm glad, on the other I'm not so pleased because the Europeans always lived as they liked. And it's a kick to see how differently they choose to live than ourselves.
I keep shifting from my main focus, so excuse me for my digressions. My only point was to focus on female smoking -- how it became a kind of fetish -- and the underlying question of whether it is really sexy or not. These are my thoughts. Some women know how to smoke in an erotic fashion -- that being you are even open to smoking to begin with. If you are -- some women have mastered the "art" of smoking. I put this in quote marks because calling smoking an art is really a debatable subject. However, having said that, some women have learned how to use their tongue, lips and hands to make a kind of Kabuki dance with smoke.
It's sort of memorizing and fixating. I can see where this has become another fetish. Also, women who smoke seem to represent a different class of individuals -- and this has been the case from the earliest days. A smoking woman can tic off the sense that she is more liberal -- if not loose. And I don't mean that to sound in a bad way. They are exhibiting their independence -- you know, the norms be damned kind of thing. They aren't hung up on establishment or religious rules. And this alone is attractive -- to some. I think men might seem to cluster around virginal types, but what they really crave is a sexually open and experimental partner. A smoking female gives a glint of that particular woman's inhibitions.
I'm not saying that smoking women are all some kind of whores. No. But, by outwardly displaying their disregard for norms -- for women to be like nuns until they marry -- men can (and do) pick up the idea that this individual might be less inhibited, which could lead to more pleasurable bedroom encounters. If a woman can display that she disdains one taboo, what else is she willing to forfeit?
This is all mere speculation on my part. I have no credentials and so only offer all of the above as mere speculation, observation and guess-work.
All of the photos used here are freely available on the Internet. You can find them yourself. No one has placed any prohibitions about their use without permission. Thus, I consider the material to be of public domain. If any photographer has qualms about my usage, just contact me and I'll bring it down. I'm not looking for any infringement or use without rights type of quarrel.
The bonus for models who are already smokers is that they don't have to take off any clothes in order to get photographed. The "pure" allure of a smoking woman is sufficient for many men. The women may get paid a pittance, but it's still modeling, and if you consider yourself a model, it beats working at Wal-Mart.
I suppose Hollywood films are mostly to blame for making female smoking seductive. After that you'd have to go after the cigarette industry itself, which was once allowed to show commercials of women smoking, and even designed cigarettes specifically for women. You'd have to be pretty old to remember the "You've Come a Long Way, Baby" line from the Virginia Slims TV commercials. The commercials made smoking look like a way of taking in fresh air after a long run.
Today, some states have raised their smoking age limit to 21. And this legislation seems to go along with the newer (but probably no less safe vaping).
But, in Europe and other countries, smoking is much less restricted. Try to tell an 18-year-old Russian that he/she can't have a pack. If I'm not mistaken Russians stopped working and took to the streets when they were denied their cigarettes. They'll put up with plenty of crap, but don't try to pull their cigarettes or vodka.
So, I suppose photographers have to fly around the world to find great-looking young women who smoke. It's sort of a dying art in the US. The old actresses may look somehow glamorous holding a cigarette but the new kids on the block are health conscious and just think, "yuck."
But as long as the tobacco industry can export to Europe and Asia, I guess they'll stay in business. Meanwhile, the industry will keep trying to come up with alternatives for the US. If vaping doesn't make it, they'll adjust and try something a bit different. They'll keep dodging the FDA one way or another.
And some men will go on loving the way a woman looks with billows of smoke around her head or a cloud being emitted from her mouth. Why? Heck if I know. But why do some men find women's toes to be exciting?
How did it all begin? My guess (and it's only a guess) is that Hollywood films began showing women smoking cigarettes in the 1930's. Actresses like Marlene Dietrich popped up and showed that smoking women could be sexy. Soon after it seemed like every actress was lighting up.
I once asked a friend of mine how he felt about smoking. He replied that he felt smoking somehow effeminized men and masculinized women. I thought that was a unique comment -- something I had never considered before. Did I agree or disagree? Well, neither -- it was just his point of view. My own impression was that men just smoked. The general infantry in WWII were handed out packets of cigarettes. My uncle (who had never smoked previously) took up the habit -- because everyone else was smoking. The industry pushed its product on GI's as if they were a gift.
At the same time Hollywood was glamorizing smoking in the films it produced. If you look back on films created in the 30's and early 40's, everyone smoked. If you entered someone's household, they'd offer you a cigarette. Since everyone was addicted to nicotine at that point, it seemed like the only polite thing to do. So, all the actors and actresses smoked. It was on a par with "would you like a drink?" Smoking and drinking were habitual, normal. As an individual you might even have seemed nonconformist or prudish by not accepting a drink and a cigarette.
If you are not adverse to smoking then a woman with smoke around her head lends a certain kind of "halo" effect for photographers. The smoke itself does an interesting, perhaps beguiling dance in the air. You cannot recreate this with e-cigarettes. They do not burn in the way of conventional cigarettes. E-cigarettes may satisfy a nicotine craving but they do not burn and produce interesting configurations in the air. Someone smoking an e-cig is sort of like watching someone breathing in a sub-zero atmosphere. The mere breath of men/women/children produces a vapor, which doesn't seem to be the delight of any fetish. While e-cigs may satisfy some portion of nicotine-addicted individuals, it cannot replace the cancer-producing product of old-fashioned tobacco cigarettes.
Then you have to ask yourself -- if someone knows that cigarettes cause disease and cancer, why are they smoking? My answer to the question goes like this: Yeah, I know all about the hype on smoking, but I don't care. So what does this mean? Translated, I think the story goes like this: "Yeah, I know that smoking may kill me, but I feel young and invulnerable. If I have to face cancer it will be so far down the road as to be meaningless to me now. For the present, the nicotine makes me feel good -- even if in a small way, so I smoke. And I don't care what the establishment has to say about it."
In my day, if you wanted to look hip and cool, you smoked. You hung out with other smokers on some corner near the school. Non-smokers disdained smokers as "smokers" and this usually went along with academic achievement and structured social advancement.
I fell into another class entirely -- one of dweebs. I was neither in one thing nor the other. I didn't project an outright confrontation to the smoker class nor did I offer any challenge to the more conservative class that just inhaled high school as an opportunity. I felt a disdain for both ends of the spectrum.