ARE GIMP MASKS THE NEW MUST HAVE RAVER ACCESSORY?
Fashion critics across North America are stumped by the increasing popularity of gimp masks. “I think it’s tacky,” says fashion designer Bella Smith. “I can sort of understand those ridiculous fox tails and cat ears everyone was wearing a few years ago, but the whole bondage mask thing is a bit extreme. They cover your entire face, they make it hard to breathe out of your nose, and they make you look like a serial killer. Why would anyone think they look cool?”
Ravers are ignoring their detractors and continue to buy the risqué black leather masks in droves. “We keep selling out,” says BDSM store owner Dominique Topper. “As soon as we restock our shelves with gimp masks, they fly out the door. We’re selling hundreds of them every day.”
Some ravers, however, are unimpressed with the masks current popularity. “Wearing a gimp mask used to mean something,” says Leah Lui, a 24 year old raver. “It was like a secret handshake that only awesome people knew. Now it’s become a mere fashion accessory, which is maddening. Wearing a gimp mask was never about fashion, it was about agency. Society is always pissing on those of us who live on the margins, the weirdos and fringe freaks who don’t fit in, don’t belong, and don’t conform. That’s why we started wearing gimp masks, to let them know that it didn’t matter if they hated us, because we didn’t care about their opinions. We were being ironic, debasing ourselves willingly to show that they couldn’t debase us without our consent. They think we’re trash, so we wore our trashiness on our faces, in a way they couldn’t ignore. Now the masks are just another commodity. It’s sad.”
Kinksters are also unhappy with the gimp masks rising fame. “The whole point of BDSM is to break taboos,” says Heather Smith, a Fetlife subscriber and lifestyle submissive. “I used to love wearing my gimp mask, but now that regular everyday people have started wearing them in public, it really defeats the purpose. It’s not dirty or filthy anymore. It’s common. It’s normal. It’s lost it’s degrading sexual connotation. You know, it’s become vanilla. God, I’m terrified by the idea of waking up one day and kinky sex being made common. The idea of living in a world without taboos fills me dread.”
Despite the misgivings of early gimp mask adopter and lifestyle kinksters, it seems like the popularity of the constricting leather masks will continue to grow unabated, at least for now. “Trends come and go.” says Bella. “Yesterday it was crocs, today it’s gimp masks, tomorrow it’ll be something else."