Ladies' Man: Tom of Finland Is Well-Known for His Hypermasculine Drawings of Men, but with the Publication of the Massive New Taschen Book Tom of Finland XXL, Readers Get a Glimpse of His Rarely Seen Portrayals of Women

By Hanson, Dian | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), May 2009 | Go to article overview
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Ladies' Man: Tom of Finland Is Well-Known for His Hypermasculine Drawings of Men, but with the Publication of the Massive New Taschen Book Tom of Finland XXL, Readers Get a Glimpse of His Rarely Seen Portrayals of Women


Hanson, Dian, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


"I NEVER LEARNED TO DRAW WOMEN BECAUSE I COULDN'T FIND ANYTHING ATTRACTIVE ABOUT THEM.

--Tom of Finland

TOM MADE NO SECRET of his preference for men, and yet he did draw women--not many, and certainly not well--throughout his career. Sometimes it was simply for money, but as early as 1954 Tom made a little panel story for his own amusement in which a strutting Finnish stud succumbs to casual sex with a woman before discovering his true desires with a strapping logger. Since Tom created all his work to arouse himself first and foremost, it seems odd he'd include a character that contributed nothing, so it's safe to say that Tom's women did serve an important purpose in his fantasy life, though certainly not as objects of desire.

Tom grew up surrounded by women--his mother and three sisters--but his fantasy world revolved around hypermasculine occupations such as logging, construction, military service, and law enforcement. While the citizens of this invented world all longed for the male touch, most of their real-world inspirations were stubbornly heterosexual. When I hear straight women complain that all the best-looking men in the gym/bar/office are gay, I imagine how Tom felt knowing the buff loggers and cops he so admired went home each night to wives who would never appreciate their masculine perfection as he did. In his alternate world Tom showed them the error of their ways. What Tom's man wouldn't prefer his own gorgeous doppelganger when seen naked and erect beside an inferior Tom's woman? Where male curves are lovingly shaded and highlighted, female curves are simple outlines. And while Tom gave his men wide, generous, smiling mouths with plush, inviting lips, his women's mouths are pinched and thin-lipped. No way could such inadequate little holes accommodate Tom's phalluses.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The female mouth is also inadequate for kissing. Tom was a romantic, so no matter how rough the bondage or spanking in a story, you can count on a kiss at the end to prove the pleasure is mutual. Tom created just one image of a man and woman kissing, however. Like the hustler who will perform any intimate act except kissing his clients, Tom could show men having sex with women in simple lust but couldn't bring himself to portray affection.

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Ladies' Man: Tom of Finland Is Well-Known for His Hypermasculine Drawings of Men, but with the Publication of the Massive New Taschen Book Tom of Finland XXL, Readers Get a Glimpse of His Rarely Seen Portrayals of Women
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